“We don’t come out of the womb knowing who we are.”
~ Austin Kleon (In STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST)
[Current Song: “Phantoms” by Trans-Sylvanian Orchestra]
To steal like an artist is to take ideas and other elements from previous artists and given them your own unique spin. Make them yours. Mr. Shepherd—my first poetry teacher more than ten years ago—was right. Everything that could be written about has been written about. All good art is originally unoriginal, if you get what I mean. This thought depressed me when I first became a writer, but now it’s a comforting thought.
These last few days I have been reading Austin Kleon’s “Steal Like an Artist: 10 things nobody told you about being creative” and so far it is a very interesting—insightful—book. It is a fun read and also reassuring for artists who consider themselves copy cats or despair in the fact that they can only imitate what they see. Instead, this book affirms that to be an artist you first imitate, and then you create your own style. It’s the same way that we humans learn speech. First we listen, then we attempt to imitate the words we have heard until finally, we begin to speak and develop our own vocabulary.
One of the recent hobbies I’ve taken up that I saw in this book is the blackout poems. These are poems created by blacking out with a permanent marker, all words except the ones chosen from a text in a magazine or newspaper. I like the way the words in these cut out paragraphs present a challenge, only with those few words can I create a poem, no others because on that paper no others exist. Once I finish a few that I am proud of, I may put them here.
On a last note, I got my ears pierced today. This is my second set of piercings (I chose a pair of stainless steel 4mm stars), right above my original ones on the lobes of my ears. The initial perforation hurt somewhat but not too much, it was more like a shocking pinch. My brother got his first piercings though and he did cry out a bit, and even got a little queasy afterwards. Poor kid. Well, back to homework land, before the library I’m at closes and the staff throw me out.
Did I ever mention I hate being a student?