I’ve been reading Austin Kleon’s blog since January, I find the way that he speaks about his notebooks and how he uses them very inspiring. Today’s post is about his bulletin board and how he pins images, clippings, index cards, and various other bits to it for inspiration while he is writing a book.
The analog nature of lots of things that Austin does has really caught my attention. I love technology, but as a designer I also love objects and paper. When I was a student I covered the wall of my room in halls with bits of graphics that I liked. The whole thing turned into one giant collage of inspiration. That’s something I would like to get back into my creative life, something tactile and away from a glowing rectangle.
I like to shave.
Ask most men my age, their late twenties, that question and its usually met with a snort. An upturned lip. A look that says “are you serious?” without words passing their lips.
In fact if you asked me that question a few years ago I would’ve responded in much the same way.
So what changed I hear you say? My approach changed. When I moved into a flat to live on my own for the first time I became much more aware of how I spent my money, every penny suddenly counted much more than it ever had. Spending several pounds on a can of shaving gel had to stop. So I bought a cheap shaving brush and a puck of soap that I knew would last far longer than the shaving gel ever had.
That small change began something. Since it took me a bit longer to have a shave I started to relax, to take my time with it. I began to see shaving as a time to pamper myself and relax. I started to enjoy it.
Fast forward a couple of years, and although I’ve had an electric razor for quick shaves during the week, I’ve always enjoyed my Saturday morning wet shave. Once again an awareness of how I spend my money has prompted another change in my shaving set up. I ran out of cartridges for my Mach 3 and on going to buy some new ones, the cost floored me. I can’t spend £13 on 8 razor heads which will last me only a couple of months before threatening to pull the skin off my face.
I took to Amazon to find out if they were cheaper, they weren’t, but one of their handy suggestions based on other peoples purchasing habits was. I’m not talking slightly either, I’m talking £9 for 100 blades. A grand total of 9p per blade and according to the internet (means it’s true right?), each blade should last me 5 or 6 shaves. That’s about 2p per shave. So I took the next step in my shaving career and bought a double edged safety razor for £20. That means in just over 6 months I’ll be saving money and in 2 years time I’ll still be using the same pack of blades. Brilliant.
But do you know what’s even more brilliant?
I enjoy shaving even more now. I have to take even more time with it, making two or three passes over my face. I’ve had to relearn how to make a lather, turns out I was doing it wrong but the Mach 3 didn’t show it up. In fact I’ve had to relearn how to shave entirely, but it hasn’t been a chore. I now shave 3 times a week, using similar tools to my Granddad who I remember getting up early to shave in the kitchen sink. He used to take his time, I never understood why.
I do now.
Shaving isn’t a chore. It’s a relaxing, soothing treat, and a great way to start the day, or finish it if you’ve had particularly stressful one. In fact it’s more than that. It’s a pause, a moment in time where I’m not thinking about anything else (I tried it once; blood everywhere), it’s an opportunity to give my mind a rest and just enjoy the moment.