Brian Lundin

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Self portrait, as blind contour drawing.

I’ve been playing around with blind contour drawing after hearing about it from @austinkleon. This is my favorite self-portrait yet.

A picture of the book “The Soul in Paraphrase” edited by Leland Ryken

I simply love this collection of poems. Some of the most beautiful work in the English language that awakens my adoration for our King.

In the latest issue of my newsletter, I write about a wonderful poem I discovered earlier this year by @cberesforddunne, and how it is a beautiful example of exploring conflicting ideals. The easy and accessible way in which this poem explores the messy joy of family life in light of the things sacrificed for it shows clearly how the best poems use conflicting ideas to explore human experience. It’s a poem that’s both worth your time and worth considering deeply.

Screenshot of post from The Dispatch

Trump’s impulsive rush to leave Syria has been devastating to the Kurds and is now reversing much of the progress against ISIS and the brutal Assad regime. The Morning Dispatch for this today sums it up well.

Wendell Berry on the urban/rural divide: “We’re joined by one economy. And it’s a one-way economy — the sucking and the digging is out here. The delivery is in the city. They’re prospering because they’re plundering their own country.”

I learned a fascinating new word today in reference to our culture. “Aliterate” describes one who can read, but does not. Sounds about right.

The Hobonichi Techo Planner 2020

When it comes to pen and paper, the Japanese always do it better. Glad to have this in hand for next year!

Radiohead’s OK Computer album cover

Current status: writing

Wow, who could possibly imagine that Facebook would lie about your data? Turns out the “Clear History” feature does not in fact clear your history. Why does anyone still trust them?

Praise God for Wendy Ramsey and the thousands of others like her. This New York Times profile is encouraging and enlightening. We simply must care about supporting and protecting life at all stages.

“If you are a tyrannical government, or you work for such a government, and you want to get your lies about what’s happening in your country before as many eyeballs as possible, Twitter is ready and eager to sell you access to those eyeballs.” @ayjay on Twitter and the Hong Kong protests.

How do you decide when to throw out a creative project instead of finishing it? Is there ever a right time to quit? Every artist will face this eventually. Most of the time the hardest thing an artist can do is sit down and do the work. It’s easy to quit, but it’s a small, everyday act of bravery to pick up the tools each day.

Sooner or later though, there will be a project that must be set down. Not every project should be completed. But what’s the difference between the projects that deserve the grind, and those that don’t? You may not have enough skill for the task, yet. Maybe the premise is not very interesting after all. Or maybe, someone else did it much, much better.

Many artists face their fears each day by creating. There is no true art that does not come from the soul, and publishing or releasing anything is an act of vulnerability that can be terrifying.

So, the next time you are faced with the question of continuing on or not, be honest: Do you really believe in this? Is there a purpose in your work that you believe in? If so, keep going. If not, quit! And then make something you believe in instead.

Last week I faced this very dilemma, and wrote about it in the latest issue of my newsletter, The Narrative.

The latest issue of my newsletter The Narrative is out! This issue continues a series on conflict in stories, and looks at how Victor Hugo used conflict to set his main character on a different path in Les Miserables. Check it out!

“Art, a friend of mine is fond of saying, does not owe you anything. You might want a movie to contain a specific scene, or to end with your preferred conclusion. But that isn’t what art does. Art exists to challenge us, to make us see the world in a new way.” @alissamarie at Vox

The Austin Stone Style Guide

There is something satisfying holding a physical product in your hands after years of work debating, tweaking, and formalizing. And when it’s a clear and precise style guide to help writers and editors be clear and kind? Even better.

There are days when words come quickly, the ideas are exciting, and an assigned word count feels like a trip around the corner. Today is not that day. Slow, painful, and doubt-ridden words have made it a cross-country road trip in July in a crappy car with no A/C.

Is there a better romantic comedy than When Harry Met Sally? I don’t think so. Why does it work so well? Why is it practically genre-defining? I’ll tell you: conflict. Stories don’t work unless there is a meaningful conflict at their heart. It’s a universal rule of storytelling. (And no, I’m not impressed by the “exceptions.”) But the conflict in When Harry Met Sally works well on three levels. A diagram showing the relationship of intellectual, internal, and external conflicts to each other. The intellectual conflict—the conflict of ideas—in this movie is golden. An age-old debate that everyone has an opinion on: can men and women be friends? Sally says yes, but of course Harry says no. Because, you know, “the sex stuff gets in the way.” The rest of the film works hard to answer that question. Every moment of conflict in the movie argues the point one way or the other. It’s brilliant.

Curious about how this all works? Check out my discussion of the conflict in this film in the latest issue of my new newsletter.

Brewing coffee with the Kalita Wave

Preparing fuel for the final push this week. One rough draft deadline, another revision deadline, and closing out a third project. It’s been a great week!

One my favorite things about Apple Music is their Essentials playlists. They are a great reminder of why I loved bands that aren't in my regurlar rotation. Some days a good Essentials playlist like this one for the Silversun Pickups is just right.