Real Artists Have Day Jobs: by Sara Benincasa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
There have been a lot of books lately on the topic of being an adult written by the current 'adult' generation—even though most of us probably want to be able to have regular breaks from adulting. With Real Artists Have Day Jobs (And Other Awesome Things They Don't Teach You in School) by Sara Benincasa, the reader gets a variety of anecdotes and advice from knowing when to call yourself a real artist (hint: you can do that right now) to all the different ways you can and should be taking care of yourself in the face of all the good and bad life brings your way.
I'm having a love/hate relationship with this book. I love it because the author reminds me of myself and I hate it for the same reason (because she seems to have this adult thing down). Benincasa talks about her experiences with anxiety and agoraphobia while navigating the deep, dark waters of both writing and comedy. Not an easy feat, but Benincasa has some sage advice to pass on readers. First, she lets us know that if we don't see the fear of failure in ourselves, we'll never do anything cool (true). And the solution is to do it anyway (doubly true). She also talks about asking successful women for advice when you need it, asking lots of questions of everyone, filling the gaps in your pop culture education (which for Benincasa includes very limited exposure to Boy Meets World. What?!), and how to acknowledge and eliminate your personal prejudices.
I'm taking away from this book some very good points to use in my own life. Particularly these: how to answer the most annoying question you can ask a creative professional: “How'd you get that?” (I prefer answer #2 on page 43, though I hope I never have to say it); if I ever have the need to navigate an airport, I'm getting into the fancy lounge; and dumping all of my shitty friends. I'm sure on both my good days and may bad days, I could revisit some of my favorite essays for a refresher course on how to navigate life. It's funny and it's honest, and that's what I think makes for a great book.
And I'll be taking away one more piece of advice: I think I'm going to go sit down and write someone a fan letter.
*Received a copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads
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