I once heard an interview, years ago, with Nelly Furtado. She was talking about who inspired her, musically. She mentioned Green Day as being influential on her, along with some other present day artists around her same age, and some even younger. She added that it bothered her when musicians were asked that question and they only cited older, or dead, musicians as inspiration, and not contemporaries. (Again, this is all my cursory memory of the interview, I couldn’t find it online. My apologies to Ms. Furtado if this summary wasn’t as accurate as it could be.)
I loved this sentiment. So many comedians and writers talk about their inspirations, and they’re people older than them, or from another generation. Yes, Mark Twain is great. Yup, Bill Murray is amazing. So is Jim Downey. No arguments there.
It’s harder to admit sometimes, that your contemporaries are killing it. It’s an ego thing. It’s so much safer for my giant fragile writer-ego to talk about how funny Dorothy Parker was than, say Simon Rich or Lena Dunham. (True confession: I don’t exactly get why Dorothy Parker is so funny. She’s kind of wry, I guess. But like, funny? I don’t know. I’m willing to say that it’s just something about me that I’m not getting, because legions of college freshmen girls who have Dorothy Parker posters up in their dorm rooms would disagree with me. I also don’t think Caddyshack is funny, though, as I’ve said, I love Bill Murray. See? My tastes are all over the map.).
Why am I talking about all this? Well, it’s because one of the most inspirational people to me is Tavi Gevinson.
Tavi is a wunderkind in the fashion world, who started out as a fashion blogger.
A great thing to watch is her lecture on The Unpredictability of Gen Y.
That’s right. A lecture. She’s giving a lecture.
Tavi is fashionable, cosmopolitan, articulate, funny, but still, a kid. Yes, an entrepreneurial kid who started her own already-influential site thestylerookie.com, but just an awesome plucky girl who hasn’t seemed to lost the feeling of “I’m so psyched Mom and Dad are letting me do this!”
I’m totally inspired by Tavi. I want to be more like her. When I see the actress Michelle Williams (with whom Tavi bears more than passing resemblance), I want Michelle Williams to have Tavi’s personality and am disappointed when she’s not her, because being pals with Michelle Williams would be more age-appropriate for me.
I feel lucky that Tavi read my book. She posted a video of herself singing Joni Mitchell’s A Case of You and dedicated to me on Hellogiggles, in an adorable recurring segment they do called “Videochat Karaoke”. It made me cry (as I said anything off the album Blue will do). Here it is. Try not to cry when you watch it.