Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad
By: Austin Kleon
Workman Publishing Company (April 2, 2019)
Austin Kleon’s newest book Keep Going is just that, 200+ pages of encouragement to continue living the creative life. The main points, I believe, surround the need to view art as a life to be lived, rather than a goal to be achieved, the necessity of a proper perspective, and the benefits of taking a break. If a marketable trilogy is what Kleon had in mind, this book makes for a perfect conclusion to his two previous books, Steal Like An Artist, and Show Your Work.
Two of my favorite quotes:
A day that seems like a waste now might turn out to have a purpose or beauty to it later on. When the video-game artist Peter Chan was young, he loved to draw, but would crumple up his “bad” drawings in fits of frustration. His father convinced him that if he laid the “bad” drawings flat instead of crumpling them up, he could fit more of them in the wastebasket. After his father died, Chan found a folder labeled “Peter” in his father’s possessions. When he looked inside, it was full of his old, discarded drawings. His father had snuck into this room and plucked the drawings he thought were worth saving for the wastebasket.
I don’t want to know how a thirty-year-old became rich and famous; I want to hear how an eighty-year-old spent her life in obscurity, kept making art, and lived a happy life. I want to know how Bill Cunningham jumped on his bicycle every day and rode around New York taking photos in his eighties. I want to know how Joan Rivers was able to tell jokes up until the very end. I want to know how in his nineties, Pablo Casals still got up every morning and practiced his cello. These are the people I look to for inspiration. The people who found the thing that made them feel alive and who kept themselves alive by doing it. The people who planted their seeds, tended to themselves, and grew into something lasting. I want to be one of them. I want to make octogenarian painter David Hockney’s words my personal motto: “I’ll go on until I fall over.”