A scrapbook of stuff I'm reading / looking at / listening to / thinking about. Ask me anything you can't Google.

Posts tagged "steal like an artist"

Oct 15, 2014
In Impro, Keith Johnstone writes that when improvisers try to be original, they fail. “Don’t be original; be obvious.” When you state the obvious, you actually seem original. Paradoxical, eh? Likewise, the more specific the feelings, experiences, stories – the more universal they appear. The trick is, what’s completely obvious to you isn’t obvious to anyone else. Many people can tell exactly the same story about exactly the same event, but if each speaks from their authentic point of view, each story will seem “original.”

Oct 12, 2014
The Knight Life, October 12, 2014

Steal Like An Artist in the funnies!

The Knight Life, October 12, 2014

Steal Like An Artist in the funnies!

Sep 12, 2014

Getting tagged with cool pictures of my books on Instagram never gets old. Makes me wonder why I even bother taking my own photos of them…

(Credit: 1 2 3 4 5 6 )

Sep 05, 2014
You start when you’re young and you copy. You straight up copy.

Sep 02, 2014
An artist of any sort… you must not put down the man before you. It’s like putting down the guy who built the ladder you’re standing on. Without him, you’re standing on the floor. With him, naturally you’re above him, because he’s holding you on his shoulders. You devour his stuff. You eat it up. And then you move one step higher. A lot of cartoonists, I’ll take all the originality they’ve got, and all their ideas, and swallow them, and then I’ll try to move one step further. That doesn’t mean I could’ve done it without their influence or their help. Because, eventually, some guy’s going to be standing on my shoulders…
Shel Silverstein, in a wonderful interview with Studs Terkel

Aug 11, 2014
Every book is a quotation; and every house is a quotation out of all forests and mines and stone quarries; and every man is a quotation from all his ancestors.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Plato; or, the Philosopher” (via)

Aug 03, 2014

How do you sleep at night?

Mad Men, S01E06 [video]

Roy: “So, what do you do, Don?”
Don Draper: “I blow up bridges.”
Midge: “Don’s in advertising.”
Roy: “No way! Madison Avenue? What a gas!”
Midge: “We all have to serve somebody.”
Roy: “Perpetuating the lie. How do you sleep at night?”
Don: “On a bed made of money.”

Simpsons, S06E18 [video]

Jay Sherman: How do you sleep at night?
Rainer Wolfcastle: On top of a pile of money with many beautiful ladies.
Jay Sherman: Just asking.

Jul 31, 2014

James Brown on the T.A.M.I. Show, 1964

One of my favorite all-time performances. Glad to see it being passed around so much lately, thanks to David Remnick’s appreciation in the New Yorker.

One thing I didn’t know:

This was the first time that Brown, while singing “Please, Please, Please,” pulled out his “cape act,” in which, in the midst of his own self-induced hysteria, his fit of longing and desire, he drops to his knees, seemingly unable to go on any longer, at the point of collapse, or worse. His backup singers, the Flames, move near, tenderly, as if to revive him, and an offstage aide, Danny Ray, comes on, draping a cape over the great man’s shoulders. Over and over again, Brown recovers, throws off the cape, defies his near-death collapse, goes back into the song, back into the dance, this absolute abandonment to passion.

Of course, James Brown, like so many soul acts, stole straight from the church:

That falling-to-the-knees-overcome-with-emotion dramaturgy is straight out of the Holiness Church, out of a belief system holding, in the charnel heat of the moment, that a person could be overpowered by a sudden tap from the Holy Ghost. Holy Ghost jumpers were what they called those filled with the spirit in the earliest days of Pentecostalism. It was a form of possession, of yielding with glory to a higher force. Many figures in the black Pentecostal tradition wore the cape.

There’s so many things I love about this performance — be sure to note towards the end how you can see the dust from the stage on James’ knees from falling down so much. Incredible.

You can get the full T.A.M.I show on DVD here.

Jul 29, 2014
Any book has behind it all the other books that have been written.

Jul 18, 2014
Everything has already been said and done. But, then, if this is so, why do we need more poems in the world? I once read a Jane Hirshfield interview where she said something quite wonderful. She essentially said we have to keep writing because it’s every generation’s job to put in the present vernacular poems that are called upon for rites of passage, such as poems read at weddings or funerals. I hadn’t thought of this before. Your ordinary citizen should be able to go to the library and find a poem written in the current vernacular, and the responsibility for every generation of writers is to make this possible. We must, then, rewrite everything that has ever been written in the current vernacular, which is really what the evolution of literature is all about. Nothing new gets said but the vernacular keeps changing.
Subscribe to my newsletter and get new art, writing, and interesting links delivered to your inbox every week.