1. The longer you wait to jump, the harder it gets.
2. You cannot ‘win’ life.
3. You could be on the verge of a breakthrough in your art. You can invent a new way of thinking, do something completely legendary and novel — shit, you could even invent a new FORM or genre. Any exciting art is always being reinvented and you are part of that.
4. More important that knowing what is intellectually important, or what is culturally cool/indie, is knowing what you love and just constantly immersing yourself in it.
5. Write in the margins.
6. American society is at its core very conservative; it wants you to feel bad about any sex and any drugs and any swearing, anything ‘shocking.’ Take the long view on this shit.
7. You actually have to be a little solipsistic in your 20s, like, don’t feel bad about quitting a day job as soon as you possibly can.
8. Try to order your words in a way you don’t usually hear them ordered. Try to think of images that aren’t yet cliché, that are actually borderline weird, but you read them and say, oh my god yeah.
9. You don’t need to be broken to be interesting and sensitive and beautiful.
10. When you find an artist you love, find everything by that artist. Then look up their influences and find that stuff too. Then make something.
1. Things only seem silly when you’re not 100% committed to them.
2. Don’t apologize for your art before showing it to someone! Picasso wasn’t like, sorry, these barely look like ladies, I was in a weird mood, oh god I’m so embarrassed.
3. Make daring choices, over and over.
4. Don’t be self-conscious, it will fuck you up even more.
5. A lot of comedy comes from just stating the truth. So in a way, to be really funny, you need to think more deeply and understand the world more deeply than most people.
6. Exist in the moment. When you’re getting drinks with someone for the first time, realize you can’t pre-plan the entire conversation and if you try you will just get anticipatory dread.
7. Listen to what people say. Talk to them about what they’re trying to tell you, not about some self-serving shit you want to bring up.
8. The people who currently live where you live are the most important people in your life. Explore them and cherish them like you do your city.
9. People are surprised and delighted when you prove that you’ve been paying attention to things in detail.
10. Wake up in the morning and say: fuck it.
1. Here are the things worth living for: love, and art. This is why I want to make art about love.
2. So many people will give you shit for romanticizing the life of an artist - the clothes, the coffee, the writing in journals, the intense and fruitful relationships with other artists. I say, romanticize all you want! Everyone should romanticize their lives.
3. Look, it’s not silly to be an artist. It’s important. Skip feeling guilty and just feel committed.
4. Religion // the virtues and notions we group under religious experience: these things are very very complicated and nuanced and fraught and probably you will spend your life sorting through your feelings about them. In the meantime, try not to insult people w/r/t their efforts to sort through it as well.
5. It isn’t bourgeois to have a job that pays stupid well but isn’t working at the Strand bookstore, or to get sushi on Seamless instead of having only enough money for one croissant every other day. You don’t have to be tortured to be interesting and productive.
6. You are young. Give yourself a break about being a little dumb, and take a second to appreciate your skin.
7. Read these books: ‘Just Kids’ by Patti Smith, ‘Nine Stories’ by JD Salinger, ‘Infinite Jest’ by David Foster Wallace.
8. There’s probably a purpose to art beyond self-realization but I don’t really know what it is right now.
9. When you’re young and broke and trying to cultivate a certain look, your number one fashion item is your goddamn attitude.
10. I’m going to spend my $$$ on skulls and candles and crystals, because while I don’t believe in ‘signs’/tarot cards/spells, I think that kind of witchy energy is the same energy that good art has.
1. During times when you feel lost and drifting, it can be helpful to remind yourself of you who want to be, but lately I’ve found it more helpful to remind myself that I have no IDEA who I want to be.
2. It’s so normal to be violently unhappy for great spanses your 20s.
3. The first few years after college are about learning how to experience the world in this completely new way, and figuring out how to do that and not be violently unhappy.
4. Fill your time in any way that doesn’t make you feel like you’re wasting your life. And if this involves more coffee dates & museum visits & make-outs than sitting down and writing sometimes, YOU DO YOU GIRL.
5. I moved to New York with the scheme of staying here for 4 years and moving to LA at age 26. It was a pretty and neat daydream of complete control over my future. The reality was that NYC in July was 100 degrees & I didn’t have enough money to even think about anything else & everything reminded me of the heat death of the universe, and so I cried every day. I literally sobbed for half an hour on the phone to my mom each morning before heading to the job that made me crazy from 1:30-10:30pm, Thursday through Monday. Every single day I spent my shower and subway ride and coffee break deciding that I should move back to Chicago immediately, that I had made the worst mistake of my life. But always at the last minute I would resolve: let me stay here just one year. One year of real trying, to see if I can do this, if at all possible without crying on the A train because I read some poem that reminded me of a time when I used to be happy. I thought: if I waste one year of my life, well, that’s just a year. I’ve been lucky enough to feel like I’ve ‘wasted’ very little of my life so far.
ANYWAY, now I love it here. I feel like it’s my time to be young and curious and artistic in New York City, in the tradition of dirty kids in all black making out after writing all day, dating back to Patti Smith and the beats and all who came before. So this is to say: give hard things time, like an actual pre-decided year or two of time. Life is an accordion; everything resolves.
6. WHAT ELSE? Um, enjoy your latte.
7. Notice the world around you.
8. The trick to making vague pseudo-dates into actual dates is to believe in your inner heart that they are dates, and thus give off a flirty vibe.
9. You can be friends with people by simply acting like they’re already your friends.
10. Life isn’t something to be endured. It’s something to fucking luxuriate in.
1. There will never be definitive proof that you should be making art. The only thing that can keep you going is you WANTING to do it.
2. The world doesn’t want you to fail. It wants you to succeed so it can enjoy what you’ve made.
3. Listen, if you have a ‘friend’ that you really want to kiss, just kiss them. The worst case scenario is that they aren’t into it. And then you know. And you can stop agonizing.
4. There is still so much you don’t know, and that’s kind of lovely. That’s what life is for.
5. It’s completely fine to be scared. Life is scary. All the best things I have ever done, I was terrified of at first.
6. Being kind and caring is what makes people want to be around you. (Not: being successful / sexy / fashionable / indie / rude.)
7. You will find friends who feel effortless, with whom everything is hilarious and about whom you want to know everything. Never let these people out of your life.
8. You will eventually laugh about all the shitty or devastating things that happen to you. Take a deep breath and see if you can cut out like months/years of misery and instead just laugh at it now.
9. Do not give a fuck about failing. You can fail at almost anything and still be totally fine.
10. Being an artist is hard! You didn’t get into this for the money and the glory. Don’t complain. Just work.