How often do you disappear down an internet rabbit hole, emerge an hour later and wonder where the time went?
Nah, you’re not the kind of person who gets up early, spreads a matt on the deck for 20 minutes of outdoor yoga; makes a healthy breakfast of oatmeal, almonds and raisins; cleans up and dresses; sits for 10 minutes of meditation; and with a clear head rolls up the sleeves, ready to dive into work.
It’s a great way to start the day, until … you open your email. It’s Friday, so that means there are a few weekly emails from folks who are fun to read. You open the one from author and artist Austin Kleon — he’s always got some interesting to say — and the virtual ground begins to crumble.
Oooh, That Looks Interesting
Your eyes start to scan his list of 10 things he thought worth sharing this week. Oh, that might be worth a quick look, you say to yourself. And that other article, about the author who writes how coronavirus drove her insane …
It’s like stopping at the doughnut shop for a cup of coffee and then the red-white-and-blue sprinkles catch your eye. Hmm, one won’t hurt. And there’s your favorite glazed, chocolate cake doughnut. Oh, and you may as well throw in a blueberry, and I’ll have an eclair to eat as a snack later. Don’t forget the coffee …
You keep scanning the newsletter and, hey, he mentions he’s planning to do a lot of writing, and he’s going to look at Pitchfork’s 50 Best Ambient Albums of All Time. You like to listen to music while you write, so you think, “Maybe I’ll check that out.”
The Good, the Bad & the Ugly — Really
In the next paragraph he mentions the passing of composer Ennio Morricone, who wrote some wonderful movie scores, including the music for a few of your favorite Clint Eastwood films. Who doesn’t love that whistle and melancholy guitar in the theme to “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly?”
And that’s when the ground gives way. You’re already listening to iTunes, so you switch over and search for works by Morricone. There’s the theme you remember, and you hit the “play” button just to make sure. While you drift back in time, you see the themes for “A Fistful of Dollars” and “A Few Dollars More.” Sweet! Let’s listen to a few snippets of other tunes.
While you’re iTunes, why not take a quick look at that list of ambient music albums? It’s a long article, so you just skip to the end to see the top 10. Brian Eno’s “Ambient 1: Music for Airports” is No. 1. You search iTunes to check it out. Then you look at the others in the top five, find them on iTunes and listen for a bit. Oh, and there’s one Austin recommends that didn’t make the list, so you have to check out that one, too.
One album makes the wish list, and you buy the Eno album, along with Morricone tracks you love.
From Music to Coronavirus
Then back to the email newsletter. How did coronavirus induce insanity in that writer? Another link click leads you to an unexpectedly lengthy and meticulously detailed account of Patricia Lockwood’s encounter with Covid-19.
There’s more. At the bottom there’s a link that says “Brave wild failure is applauded.” What’s that about? Curiosity gets the best of you. Click.
What about that first link, “How I Start a Notebook,” it says. “Is there something special about starting a fresh notebook?” you wonder. You think it can’t possibly be worth reading. To start a new notebook you just flip open the cover and put pen to paper, right? Click.
Back to Reality
Your morning with Austin is interrupted by your wife, who is taking a quick break from her own home office downstairs. It leads to a comment about how you’ve fallen down another rabbit hole and there’s still morning writing to be done.
This never happens to you, right?
P.S. I’ve enjoyed two of Austin’s books, “Steal Like an Artist” and “Keep Going.” “Show Your Work” is on order. He’s fun to follow on Instagram. You, too, can enjoy his email by signing up here. I’ve never met Austin and don’t expect to gain anything from promoting his work. However, the links to Amazon are affiliate links, which means I’ll get a small finder’s fee if you buy something.