Miranda’s Words

In Interview on June 19, 2013 at 5:02 am


On Saturday, June 15th, Miranda July made an appearance at the The University of Tampa to read from her books and share stories about her writing. She read “Swim Team” from ‘Nobody Belongs Here More Than You’ and an interview she did with a man named Ron from ‘It Chooses You’. July was just as human, personal, funny, and wonderful as she is in her films and writing. She also shared an excerpt from her new book that she didn’t give much detail about, and told us that we were the first audience to ever hear a piece of it. I quickly took the short Q&A session as an opportunity to ask her a question that I ask most of the folks that I interview, ‘What do you tell yourself when things get difficult?’ It suffices as a one question interview, because it can reveal so much in a short amount of time. It’s personal, and gives you insight into how that person feels and overcomes obstacles. She gave a fantastic and worthwhile answer and I’m honored to have been able to capture it.

Audio Clip:

What do you tell yourself when things get difficult?

Um, well, you mean, like, creatively or in general?

Uh, I guess both. They often mix, don’t they?

It’s funny, the other night, I said ‘in life or art’ and you said ‘they mix’. I have had some hard things happen in life, not art recently. It’s interesting to me that hard things in life make things, you know, force you into your creative world. For someone like me, I’ve been through some stuff recently that, uh, I really did realize, as corny as it sounded, like, that, my work was like, you know, faith to me. That I was, I found myself just writing on scraps of paper just to, like, get through time. And, uh, felt very creative, and very, like, in touch with, like, why art is in life in general. Any song on the radio, any– this is anyone who’s been through the death of a parent or, you know, knows what I’m talking about. It’s like suddenly all the colors are brighter and you’re kind of in this, um, charmed space, as miserable as it is. And, uh, to me that is the exact opposite of when your work is actually hard. And you’re just sitting there and, um, nothing seems that fascinating. And, um, uh, you’re doing stupid shit online and, and, that to me is really the worst. I mean, it’s funny that I fear that more than anything at this point. And, uh, well, not anything. [Uproarious laughter from the crowd.] Um, in fact that’s probably way at the bottom. [More laughter.] But uh, I guess I have, um, let me think. Uh, it’s funny that I have these, um, me and my husband– I think I started– I’ve been putting little pieces of tape on our computer with, like, inspirational words that, um, that seem sort of secret to us, but are so obvious. Like, uh, my one for a while was, ‘fight for it.’ [Laughter.] I was like, no one will know what that’s in reference to. [Laughter.] Maybe I’m preparing for a, a fight, or something. [Laughter.] And, you know, what it was for that time in my life it was really hard to even find an hour to write, you know, and I realized, like, you have to fight for this, not, no one else is gonna make this happen. Um, and then after a while my schedule kind of pulled itself back together. And so I wrote over that, ‘free’. Uh, and free was a reference to something my friend, a writer, Sheila Heti, had, had said, which is that, um, we’re actually not free very, like, totally free very much in this world. You’re not free as a daughter. You’re not free as a wife. These are areas where you really can’t do everything you want. You’re not free as a mother. Or as a citizen. But you are free in your work. You are free in your art, and that there’s really no point in doing it unless you are actually using that freedom. And that’s why it doesn’t matter what people think and why you have to push yourself further, because it is the only space really allowed to you for that. That was so bracing to me, so, you know, it says ‘free’ there and I, like, pick at the tape when I… [Laughter.] get stuck. Yeah. Yeah. So, that’s a couple thoughts on that.

Miranda July Official Website

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