Laughing Maniacally

Dear Kara,

My question is twofold: How often should you read your work aloud? When doing so, is it a problem if you always end up alone laughing maniacally?

~ Psycho-loquist


Dear Psycho-loquist,

What’s your real problem?

If you’re asking whether you need to be heard, you do.

Please cut the bravado and make your writing worthy of your voice. How? Try accepting that the beast between you and your art is bravado.

Next time you find yourself laughing maniacally, splice these words into your laughter:

I accept you, bravado-beast.

You are safe, bravado-beast.

Bravado-beast, you are loved.


Let your laughter respond; hear your bravado-beast speak.

Record it. Fight for your life against it. Record the fight.

Read that aloud.


I believe in you,


How do I get out of bed?


Dear Kara,

I’m a lonely artist that finds it difficult in the morning to get out of bed and into the studio. What can I do to help me not feel so anxious and alone and make my art?

~ Starving Artist



Dear Starving,

It sounds like your lion—the beast keeping you from making your art—is isolation. Please seduce your isolation. Don’t worry that you can’t get out of bed: the point of your artwork is to end up in bed with your isolation, anyway.

Seduce it. Now. You’re never going to be as beautiful as you want to be, so start seducing it this second, in your holey pajamas, with drool stains on your pillow.

How? Tell your isolation-beast it is beautiful. If you can reach your sketchbook or a cereal box from your bed, sketch a flattering portrait of your isolation-beast. Make it feel safe and calm—because you want it to feel good, for its own sake. For its own sake. Remember that.

Don’t be disingenuous—also draw the reasons you hate your isolation-beast, so that your isolation-beast trusts you and knows you aren’t lying. This is the only way it will open up to you. In fact, you voicing your hatred of it is one of the isolation-beast’s many voices.

Still, DO NOT forget the creative seduction you are here to do. Whisper to the universe, May my isolation feel loved.

Offer your isolation-beast all the love you can find in yourself to give-wish-imagine-manifest. Keep whispering May my isolation feel loved until it comes so close you could kiss it.

Kiss it.

Get out of bed and record on your canvass the violence it does, and the ways you try—and succeed, and fail—to overcome it with your fear, anger and love.

Record every detail of the trying. Lose yourself to this task.

You don’t need to become less anxious or less alone before you can make your art.

Art is nothing more than a record of the trying. Your art is the sheet, the essential location, on which the trying takes place. Your art is the craft which propels the trying. Your art is the imprint the trying leaves behind.

I believe in you,