Do not leave your longings unattended.

Do not throw any of yourself away.

Every moment of this life a thread.

Do not leave your longings unattended.

Stop running, seeking the unseen with dread

because someone warned never should you stray.

Do not leave your longings unattended.

Do not throw any of yourself away.

. . .

One merit of poetry few persons will deny: it says more in fewer words than prose.

I nearly ran off the road when I heard Austin Kleon reading from the audio version of Steal Like an Artist.

Don’t throw any of yourself away.
If you have two or three real passions,
don’t feel like you have to pick and choose between them.
Don’t discard. Keep all your passions in your life.

Do you ever find yourself bouncing from one thing to another and feeling as though you must focus on only one? The thought of letting go of any of those passions feels like an act of betrayal.

How could I give up music, writing, photography, gardening, and reading? Who gives up reading? Even in the realm of writing, I explore personal essays, poetry, and children’s picture books.

You may argue that if I narrowed in on just one, I could excel, find my niche, and claim success. But that is the point. I don’t need any of those accolades.

As an educator and later, a leadership consultant, I gave more than a hundred percent to that work. At the same time, I found balance in the music, the writing, the photography, and even pulling weeds.

The voices in the world will ask us to forsake those passions. On the opposite page of the print version of Steal Like an Artist, Austin includes a sign that looks like the “be-“ of belonging has been blocked out.


Do not
leave your

Without shame or remorse, I stole to create something new, a triolet.

pink red buds blossom on a single branch with blue sky and limbs in the background. Text: Poetry centers the heart. by Kathryn LeRoy

. . .

And always—

Be kind. Be brave. Be you.

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Photo: Dreamy Reflections © Kathryn LeRoy