Ok, let’s get straight to the point here: if you’re a creative of any type and need a laugh so you can stop wallowing in pity about how your own life is going, go read this book ASAP. Sometimes we need a reminder that we’re not the only ones barely treading water. “Real Artists Have Day Jobs” is invigorating and Sara Benincasa speaks from the heart, the gut, the brain, and tells it like it is. She is upfront about being a comedian and author and not in counseling or psychology. This is a book of essays inspired by her personal ups and downs. Amongst other things, she hopes it makes us less lonely. The life of an artist can be lonely.
Early on in the book she gives up this gem: “There is more nobility in hard work than in pure luck (though every artist can use a bit of that). You’ll make better art after a day at the office than you will after a lifetime in an ivory tower.” She gets it. You need to experience life to make art. She understands that you make art because you have to, it needs to get out of you. We get the sense of that through her writing, she NEEDED to write this book.
If you’re making your art on the side in hopes to be a “real” artist one day, she stresses that you already are an artist. If you’re struggling and not fresh out of art school, this book is for you. If you’re fresh out of art school this book is for you too, and pay attention! This shit will come up later in life, but possibly sooner than you realize.
There are 52 essays in this book in which Sara is brutally honest with her embarrassing moments in order to make a point (that we’re all human). She talks about everything from the importance of getting enough sleep to sex. The power of being a dork to recognizing your personal prejudice and “educate it into nonexistence”. Every essay is important and nicely sums up how we can take care of ourselves and live life (whatever that looks like for you). This book is aimed at creatives, but really anyone can enjoy it because she gives a well rounded look at all aspects of life. Sara Benincasa is funny, raw, and refreshing.
TLDR: If you’re not perfect it’s literally not the end of the world. Be authentic and have a few laughs along the way. Oh, and make some damn art
Reviewed by Katie Holland, who is a Chicago based artist, creative mind and bookworm.
Publication Date: April 26, 2016 Page Count: 272
ISBN: 0062369814 Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks