Letters from New York

25 December, 2017.


Let me just get this over with.

If you want to become a writer, don’t try to become a writer. You are 23, what will you even write about? Instead, go live a life! Do things that you’ve always wanted to do, but also do things you have to do to get there. Work hard, let life kick you around! And for God’s sake, don’t chase happiness. Happiness is in those transient, fleeting moments; start looking for it and it will escape you. You know what you should do, rather? Chase your dreams like someone is shooting straight at you, chase things that give your life meaning like your life has none, and you’ll realise that even though in those moments you were writhing in agony — and you will because they will be hard to chase — those are the very things that will make your life worth it.

Someone once told me that everything we see now is a copy of a copy of a copy. It’s true! You know why? Because that is all they have experienced via the television, that is all they can imagine, so that is all they can write. There is no substitute for your first kiss with the one you love, that feeling of tender nervousness and the chaos in your stomach, or the pain in your overworked back and the feeling of being stuck in a loop of your own creation, because there is no other way to make you truly feel something as your own singular emotion. You cannot claim to have experienced it by listening to someone else talk about it, that is what the audience is there for! And I know, I know, that you’re protesting right now, that you truly believe you can make it, and I honestly believe in you, too — but I don’t believe in this world. There is just so much out there to consume that they’ll walk right past genius not once or twice, but as a matter of habit.

I am not trying to discourage you. I would honestly be very disappointed if you dimmed that light of yours. I just pray that you’ll see that if you focus on making a life instead of making a living — I am stealing lines here — you’ll be able to write stories that will make all of us feel like there’s something to live for, forget that we are all going to die one day, and make us want to step beyond our little bubbles for a little while. There’s beauty in pain, and there’s unmistakable grounding in struggle, and I pray that you’ll make all of us believe, even in our darkest days, that we are not alone through it all. I know you will.

Before I forget. Merry Christmas, kid. 2017 will be fun, but not nearly as fun as 2018.

Don’t forget to turn off the heater.