14 2 / 2014
31 1 / 2014
What advice do you have for someone facing homelessness and struggling to have a job, water, food, and other bare essentials to survive?
First of all, don’t give up. Second, work your ass off. Third, stay strong and do everything you can to hold your feeling of life together. There are moments when many of us get close to the edge in different ways, and there can be almost a magnetic pull to go off the edge—kind of like riding your bike near a cliff and for some reason your whole body seems to pull towards where you don’t want to go.
This is the time to surround yourself with your own power. Even if there aren’t others around you to comfort you and cheer you on, there’s still you. And you can always care for yourself. That’s the most important person right now: You. Always be able to count on yourself and find strength in your own presence.
While you’re with yourself, you might as well take an extremely honest look at your life and what caused you to wind up here. Be brutal with yourself. Even if it’s painful, try to take as much responsibility for your situation as you can. Even if others deserve blame, don’t blame them—and don’t blame bad luck or anything outside of your immediate self.
Why? Because you want to give yourself and only yourself the power to make or break your own life. The same power that got your here, also can get you out. And as you go through this experience, try to learn from the entire adventure. What’s so great about “regular life” anyway? A lot of people are miserable and they’ve got all the bare essentials covered and lots more. Comfort, security, and happiness come from inside you.
You have found yourself here and you must embrace it. Fight for what you want and what you love, not against what you hate and don’t want. You will make it through this. And please write back with a mailing address so I can send you some cash. Stay positive.
Andrew W.K. gives literally best advice I’ve ever read anyone give anyone. He has a new blog and all of his advice is gold.
31 1 / 2014
"The best time to me is when I’m through with a project and deciding about a new one. That’s because it’s at a period when reality has not yet set in. The idea in your mind’s eye is so wonderful, and you fantasize it in the perfect flash of a second—just beautifully conceived."
"One deceptive appeal of being out there with other people is that it gets you away from the job of writing. It’s less lonely."
"As a creative person, I’ve never been interested in politics or any of the solvable things. What interested me were always the unsolvable problems: the finiteness of life and the sense of meaninglessness and despair and the inability to communicate. The difficulty in falling in love and maintaining it. Those things are much more interesting to me than … I don’t know, the Voting Rights Act. In life, I do follow politics a certain amount—I do find it interesting as a citizen but I’d never think of writing about it.”
"I think if you have a comic perspective, almost anything that happens you tend to put through a comic filter. It’s a way of coping in the short term, but has no long term effect and requires constant, endless renewal. Hence people talk of comics who are ‘always on.’ It’s like constantly drugging your sensibility so you can get by with less pain."
"I feel that what I’ve done so far is the … the bed of lettuce the hamburger must rest on[…]a setting waiting for a jewel. But there’s no jewel there at the moment."
-Reposted on Twitter by The Paris Review, 1/31/14. Follow them at @Parisreview or check out original interview here.
20 1 / 2014
Kanye West was recently interviewed by 12 years a Slave director Steve McQueen, in which West revealed that he a) totally gets it and b) there is no b, he just gets it.
"I just close my eyes and act like I’m a 3-year-old. [laughs] I try to get as close to a childlike level as possible because we were all artists back then. So you just close your eyes and think back to when you were as young as you can remember and had the least barriers to your creativity.”
Totally right. The idea that the artist must be tortured to create is a myth. We used to create all the time as children and this is a much happier and productive approach to creation.
On how pivotal following your own desire is:
"I think I started to approach time in a different way after the [near-fatal 2002 car] accident. Before I was more willing to give my time to people and things that I wasn’t as interested in because somehow I allowed myself to be brainwashed into being forced to work with other people or on other projects that I had no interest in.”
On being grateful for your journey:
"The accident gave me the opportunity to do what I really wanted to do… During that recovery period, I just spent all my time honing my craft and making The College Dropout. Without that period, there would have been so many phone calls and so many people putting pressure on me from every direction—so many people I somehow owed something to—and I would have never had the time to do what I wanted to.”
On not being afraid to speak your ideas and serving as a model for others:
“A lot of people are very sacred with their ideas, and there is something to protecting yourself in that way, but there’s also something to idea sharing, or being the person who makes the mistake in public so people can study that.”
On how pandering is post-modern:
"That’s one of the reasons why I didn’t want to use the same formula of starting the album with a track like ‘Blood on the Leaves,’ and having that Nina Simone sample up front that would bring everyone in, using postmodern creativity where you kind of lean on something that people are familiar with and comfortable with to get their attention."
That’s brilliant. He didn’t want to rely on the audience’s preconceived notions of what an album, specifically a Kanye West album, should sound like. It’s not just pandering; it’s post-modern. He mentions elsewhere that he intended to make an album that’s borne of the moment but timeless. (This is making me rethink any vestiges of pandering, self-reference, or contemporary references in my own work.)
On how the challenges he faces are just part of the fun:
“I live inside, and I’ve learned how to swim through backlash, or maintain through the current of a negative public opinion and create from that and come through it and spring forth to completely surprise everyone—to satisfy all believers and annihilate all doubters. And at this point, it’s just fun.”
"It’s just fun." I love that. It’s all just fun.
On how to deal with depression, doubt, or sadness:
"god, sex, and alcohol"
On the biggest problem we face in modern society:
"The biggest slavery that we have is our opinion of ourselves. That’s why my attitude is so shunned. It’s not a matter of me believing in myself that’s so scary to everyone, it’s the idea of everyone else starting to believe in themselves just as much as I do that’s scary.”
Working on that one. If only, huh?
The best piece of advice he can give:
"Follow exactly what you want to do."
“We’ve been taught since day one to stop believing in our own dreams. We’ve had the confidence beaten out of us since day one, and then sold back to us through branding and diamond rings and songs and melodies—through these lines that we have to walk inside of so as to not break the uniform or look silly or be laughed at. So I hope that there are people out there laughing. Laugh loud, please. Laugh until your lungs give out because I will have the last laugh.”
14 1 / 2014
"Trying to make sombody pay for music is like a bakery trying to get people to pay for smelling the bakery as they walk by. No man, music is free. As soon as an album has leaked, anyone can get it. And that’s fine."
14 1 / 2014
"I feel, in a way, that every effort human culture makes, every book, every song, every decision, every action, is somehow going after the same thing. Trying to find out what’s really going on, what is really the truth of the truth."
10 1 / 2014
Anonymous asked: Write a little bit more on love please. Please please. Even a few lines. I am dying. :(
When I made a New Year’s resolution this year, it wasn’t to write another screenplay or get a higher paying job or this goal or that goal. I too found myself living in scarcity: “If only I could finish that screenplay…” “I just need to make a little more money…”
No, I don’t.
I need to love myself. I need to know that everything is perfect right now, just the way it is. Right now, I don’t need to finish that screenplay; I’m sick today anyway. Right now, I don’t need to make anymore money; I have enough money right at this moment. No, right now, all I need to do is love myself. And maybe I need a sandwich.
That’s a lot easier. Especially if that’s all I have to do. I can love myself. I’m the controller of my mind, I’m the only tenant living in this head of mine, I’m the god of my own universe. And I can make myself a sandwich, and that’s pretty much all I have going on right now. My god is that easier.
That’s all life is, just these moments that begin with choosing to love ourselves and then some small, easy choice.
But what about that screenplay? I mean, we still need to have goals, right? Well sure.
But here’s the thing: I spent at least part of 2013 in an existential dread about all these goals and projects. I’m turning 30 this year, and I was well aware of my shortcomings, personal, creative, professional, and otherwise. But, when you choose to love yourself first and to be in the moment, a few things become clear.
1) A lot of those goals you thought were so important are actually borne out of fear or self-loathing. That screenplay I wanted to write? Well, actually, it turns out, I DIDN’T want to write it, but I didn’t love myself. I didn’t stand up for myself; so I didn’t even see that. OF COURSE, I kept putting it off! I didn’t want to write it!
2) When I chose to love myself, what I ACTUALLY wanted became much more clear. I didn’t want to write a screenplay; I wanted to write music. So I have been; and it’s been FANTASTIC. Now I’m productive AND happy AND…
3) It’s easy. HOLY CRAP IS IT EASY! When you’re doing something you love, it’s so much easier. So I chose to love myself, then discovered I wanted to write music, then I found myself COMPELLED to write. Compelled to think about it. I don’t even try. I don’t even make a large effort to make time. I find myself making time naturally because it’s what I want. It’s what I really want. What I really really want. #spicegirls
4) Oh, and I’m working on the screenplay too. See, having chose to love myself, and finding myself doing things I WANT to do and LOVE doing, I have naturally found what I love about screenwriting again. You’d be surprised how much music has inspired me to write narrative. It’s INSANE and writing is so much more FUN.
So there I go. 2013 was a productivity bust because I thought productivity was the goal. Loving myself was and always is the goal. And in loving myself, I felt compelled to achieve, not for achievement’s sake, but because my goals are an extension of my desires and I love my desires because I love ME.
I posted this quote from Hunter S. Thompson a day or two ago, but it’s relevant again:
Some of the most important things I learned about love are
1. You must love yourself.
2. Your happiness depends on you and only you.
3. You’e not dying.
Usually, when you are longing for something, needing something, wanting something, feeling down or angry or hurt or in pain, even if you can’t admit it, all you need is love. And you must love yourself. If you don’t love yourself, you are incapable of receiving and giving and experiencing love to its fullest - that’s just the way it works.
We tend to reach for anything to soothe this feeling - fix it - unaware that the very thing we need - love - is already within us. But we simply don’t allow ourselves to accept it. Most of us are unaware that not only is love within us, it’s all around us, we are loved, and there is love everywhere - but we don’t even see it, because we choose not to. We choose not to feel it. Because some voice within us at some point told us that we are incapable of love, or don’t deserve love, and I’m telling you right now, that is just your ego, protecting you like you’re still a little kid.
But you’re not a little kid anymore. You don’t need the ego to keep you from experiencing freedom and happiness and love. So when you hear that voice next time, tell it that you don’t need its help anymore. You can take care of yourself now. “But thanks.”
This is going to sound crazy, but you - are love. You have been so since before you were born, and will continue to be ‘till after you die. You are love and will be love for eternity. You are love this very second as you are reading this. This is a hard one to understand and see at first, but trust me with this one.
"But I don’t love myself. I hate myself!" you tell me. Do you see how you just did that? You - YOU - just said that. You, the controller of your mind, the one tenant living in that crazy talkative brain of yours, you, the actual god of your universe, the only god - you just said that. You decide that, you choose that, you think that, so yes - that is what is. But it isn’t true.
This is going to sound crazy, but it just isn’t true. We say we hate ourselves because it’s safer, it’s easier, it protects us from being hurt. We say we hate ourselves so we can spend our lives justifying it, being a victim of it, honing in on any negative thing we can latch onto so we can hang onto it and ride it and point at it and shout to everyone, “See! Do you see?! Life is horrible and I am horrible. I told you!”
And this is going to sound crazy, but whatever you think, is, and you attract more and more. WHATEVER YOU THINK - IS - AND YOU ATTRACT MORE AND MORE.
But what’s cool - and you will see for yourself - when you choose a better thought - like, for example - “I love myself” - even when it still feels like a lie, even if it hurts to say, EVEN by faking it - IT COUNTS - and you will attract more and more of what what even that little statement holds. I am so serious. Try it.
Make this your new focus. No more fixes. You can’t get what you need through a man or a woman or attention or drugs or sex or validation or money or therapy. No more “I just need this” or “if only that.” (WHEN YOU FOCUS ON WHAT YOU DON’T HAVE, WHEN YOU PRAY FOR SOMETHING, THAT IS WHAT YOU VIBE, YOU ARE VIBING SCARCITY, THEREFORE, YOU RECEIVE WHAT YOU VIBE - YOU GET MORE SCARCITY.) These fixes numb your pains for a certain amount of time and then you’re back where you’ve started, probably feeling worse. (I know, dude! I get it! I’ve lived it!) Remember - all you need to do is love yourself, and you’re the only person who can do this for you. You’ve probably been through a bunch of things, there are probably events in your life or relatives or relationships or SOMETHING that has led you to decide you can’t love yourself - I KNOW - trust me, we all have that thing - well, when you’re ready to change, you can do it, you can decide to look at these things and start talking about these things so you can let go of these things and not make them things anymore. And that is what we call HEALING.
As we heal, as we let love in, we are able to feel love more. We get rid of the weight of the darkness we were claiming for so long, and we can feel all the love that is around us, and more importantly, within us.
THIS IS IMPORTANT - ONLY YOU CAN DO THIS FOR YOURSELF.
Your happiness depends on you, and only you.
And this was a big thing for me to learn - YOU ARE NOT DYING. Ever. As horrible as it will ever seem, you are not going to die from it. You just aren’t.
And once you can finally let that go, you can remind yourself:
You are loved.
You have everything you need today.
Nothing is broken, everything is unfolding perfectly.
All is well.
The challenges we go through are how we grow. That’s the way it works, and you WILL get through it and become a better person because of it.
Your job is simply to enjoy THE MOMENT. Make the best of THE MOMENT.
If you’re always making the best of the moment, enjoying the moment, then you are experiencing happiness. Acceptance, forgiveness, gratitude.
Everything is a gift. Even the most painful times in our lives are gifts.
Everything I’ve experienced in my life has brought me to this moment, right this second, being in a place to be able to say these things, not only to you, but to myself. And as painful as a life I have lived, it is what brought me here, to right now. And I love right now. This is more amazing than I would have ever imagined. Love is so fucking cool.
Everything is a gift. Thank you.
"To put our faith in tangible goals would seem to be, at best, unwise. So we do not strive to be firemen, we do not strive to be bankers, nor policemen, nor doctors. WE STRIVE TO BE OURSELVES.
But don’t misunderstand me. I don’t mean that we can’t BE firemen, bankers, or doctors—but that we must make the goal conform to the individual, rather than make the individual conform to the goal.”
Let’s all love ourselves and do the things we want, huh?
(I LOVE YOU SO MUCH CHAR THANKS FOR POSTING THIS)
10 1 / 2014
"Remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. If you want to take responsibility for your life, you must choose one of these three options, and you must choose now. Then accept the consequences. No excuses. No negativity. No psychic pollution. Keep your inner space clear."
10 1 / 2014
I’m writing this letter to you about the future. I’m looking at it through the lens of my world. Through the lens of cinema, which has been at the center of that world.
For the last few years, I’ve realized that the idea of cinema that I grew up with, that’s there in the movies I’ve been showing you since you were a child, and that was thriving when I started making pictures, is coming to a close. I’m not referring to the films that have already been made. I’m referring to the ones that are to come.
I don’t mean to be despairing. I’m not writing these words in a spirit of defeat. On the contrary, I think the future is bright.
We always knew that the movies were a business, and that the art of cinema was made possible because it aligned with business conditions. None of us who started in the 60s and 70s had any illusions on that front. We knew that we would have to work hard to protect what we loved. We also knew that we might have to go through some rough periods. And I suppose we realized, on some level, that we might face a time when every inconvenient or unpredictable element in the moviemaking process would be minimized, maybe even eliminated. The most unpredictable element of all? Cinema. And the people who make it.
I don’t want to repeat what has been said and written by so many others before me, about all the changes in the business, and I’m heartened by the exceptions to the overall trend in moviemaking – Wes Anderson, Richard Linklater, David Fincher, Alexander Payne, the Coen Brothers, James Gray and Paul Thomas Anderson are all managing to get pictures made, and Paul not only got The Master made in 70mm, he even got it shown that way in a few cities. Anyone who cares about cinema should be thankful.
And I’m also moved by the artists who are continuing to get their pictures made all over the world, in France, in South Korea, in England, in Japan, in Africa. It’s getting harder all the time, but they’re getting the films done.
But I don’t think I’m being pessimistic when I say that the art of cinema and the movie business are now at a crossroads. Audio-visual entertainment and what we know as cinema – moving pictures conceived by individuals – appear to be headed in different directions. In the future, you’ll probably see less and less of what we recognize as cinema on multiplex screens and more and more of it in smaller theaters, online, and, I suppose, in spaces and circumstances that I can’t predict.
So why is the future so bright? Because for the very first time in the history of the art form, movies really can be made for very little money. This was unheard of when I was growing up, and extremely low budget movies have always been the exception rather than the rule. Now, it’s the reverse. You can get beautiful images with affordable cameras. You can record sound. You can edit and mix and color-correct at home. This has all come to pass.
But with all the attention paid to the machinery of making movies and to the advances in technology that have led to this revolution in moviemaking, there is one important thing to remember: the tools don’t make the movie, you make the movie. It’s freeing to pick up a camera and start shooting and then put it together with Final Cut Pro. Making a movie – the one you need to make – is something else. There are no shortcuts.
If John Cassavetes, my friend and mentor, were alive today, he would certainly be using all the equipment that’s available. But he would be saying the same things he always said – you have to be absolutely dedicated to the work, you have to give everything of yourself, and you have to protect the spark of connection that drove you to make the picture in the first place. You have to protect it with your life. In the past, because making movies was so expensive, we had to protect against exhaustion and compromise. In the future, you’ll have to steel yourself against something else: the temptation to go with the flow, and allow the movie to drift and float away.
This isn’t just a matter of cinema. There are no shortcuts to anything. I’m not saying that everything has to be difficult. I’m saying that the voice that sparks you is your voice – that’s the inner light, as the Quakers put it.
That’s you. That’s the truth.
All my love,