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…Or what do I know? Maybe suffering is art’s joy

…Or what do I know? Maybe suffering is art’s joy

The Drip’s Elspeth Michaels on negotiating suffering and joy with her inner boss

When chatting with people for this podcast, I’ve often caught myself carrying an agenda, a point I hope gets made in line with the stated goals of this project.  I secretly want every guest to say they had an epiphany (or even better, to have one during our chat!) that they could rebel against workaholism, tell off their inner boss, and still happily do what they aspire to. 

It’s times like those when people like

– artist, designer, and (as you probably know her best) author of The Drip, which explores the intersection of hip hop and art history – come on to the show and we end up, instead, with a direct rebuttal to the last podcast we put out.  

Because, it turns out, resentment toward inner and outer bosses isn’t everyone’s experience.  And life being beautifully nuanced and contradictory, external and internal pressure (especially in short, finite bursts) can be beneficial.   

Elspeth grants us a peek into the suffering and stress that marks her writing process on The Drip (you can rest easy that she goes through the agonizing same self-doubt as you and I) and, surprisingly, doesn’t have nearly the same level of resentment toward said suffering that I would.  

In just under an hour, we explore:

  • How her experience of writing The Drip changed when it went from a solo passion project to something more closely resembling a “job”-- for a year, she was paid for it (and offered editorial support) as part of a creative fellowship.

  • How the fear of writing for the internet amplifies your inner boss, and the ways impostor syndrome crops up when you get publicly recognized for something you previously did for fun

  • Why she’s ok with an “unsustainable” pace of work if there’s a clear end-date to it, and how she’s evolving her workflow now to make writing The Drip sustainable moving forward

  • Speculation on whether the most accomplished artists she covers in The Drip experience their creativity as a “job,” will all the pressures and misery that come with that label. 

  • The concept of “type 2 fun”--choosing the “suffering” that will give you the most joy.

Production note 1:  we were lucky enough to be able to have this chat in person, BUT the day we recorded there was a torrential storm, so you’ll be hearing a lot of background noise that includes both water and scared cats.  You know, the authentic stuff.  Hope that’s OK!  Enjoy.  

Production note 2: This is the amazing Andre 3000 interview with Rick Rubin that she references toward the end of the ‘cast.  

Full Disclosure: Elspeth gave Big Quit Energy its first break by recommending us on her newsletter–if you’ve been reading this newsletter for more than around a year, chances are very high you discovered us through The Drip.  

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Friends With Big Quit Energy
Conversations with people who, whether they know it or not, are firing their inner boss. An audio companion to the Big Quit Energy newsletter.