Flash Review: Real Artists Have Day Jobs

From Literary Mama’s Essential Reading, January 2016


I’m a huge fan of Sara Benincasa’s essays and fiction, and her latest book, Real Artists Have Day Jobs, will keep me company well into 2017. The premise is exactly what you’d think, but the hilarious, poignant, and honest essays within provide endless surprises and laughs. What’s great about Benincasa is that she is 100% without pretense—her self-deprecating humor and relatable nature make reading this book feel like you’re having a cocktail with that one particularly snarky and witty friend.

But beyond all that, the advice and insights are thorough and spot-on. ‘Real artists have day jobs, and night jobs, and afternoon jobs. Don’t ever let them tell you you’re not a success. No matter how much time you spend at the office, it’s just a side gig. You are an artist, full-time, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.’ With chapter titles like #23, ‘Life is Too Short for Shitty Friends,’ #35, ‘Ask for Exactly What You Want,’ and #47, ‘Realize Your Dress Size Doesn’t Matter,’ it’s hard to find a part of this book I DON’T resonate with.

And at a time when so many other aspects of life are competing for the precious energy I need to write, think, edit, and create, and I’m feeling like I’ll never write another half-decent essay again, it’s great to have someone like Sara around to make me laugh and remind me that (at least according to #48) ‘The Darkness is Where the Good Stuff Starts.'”


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