Beth Lisick On “Maybe This is My Thing!”
So this month’s Emily Books pick is a book of short, hilarious essays by Beth Lisick called Yokohama Threeway. Beth has written four books, hosts a monthly storytelling series, is currently on our with Sister Spit, does comedy with Tara Jepsen, is an actress, a slam poet, a mom. So when I got to interview her for Emily Books, a lot of our discussion ended up being about work, success, failure, and trying to get by. I love what she had to say about all of it:
MO: I feel like reading the book, I came away from it feeling like it ended up being a really accurate portrait of like, “the gig economy” or work as a creative person. All the different jobs you’ve had—
BL: …Yeah my particular compendium of these things is very much related to trying to make money, trying to get somewhere, not knowing what I’m doing, being put in a situation—like that TV thing where they’re like, “Oh, you could be a TV host!’ and I’m like, “Okayyyy, maybe I could do that??” And just the constant humiliations of not knowing what I’m doing but forging ahead anyway.
MO: And feeling like, if something comes to you, you should say yes to it, because you never know…
BL: Exactly. Right. “Maybe this is my thing!” I think that there are people who live their lives like that and there are people who don’t. And I do feel like for all the insecurity that comes up, financially and otherwise, it’s worth it to me. I don’t know how to live any other way.
MO: The “maybe this is my thing” bit is one of my favorite parts of the book. It’s so real and I love it in the context of your bio. You host a monthly storytelling series, you’re writing a novel, you’re a spoken word poet, you’ve published five books, you’re one half of a comedy duo—you still have a million things.
BL: Yeah! And I’m sure I always will, and I like that. The ups and downs and the high points and low points of having a career as a writer and a performer—that’s just how it goes. I don’t know how many people that do these kind of things have the kind of story where they just keep getting bigger and keep getting more successful—you know Emily wrote that great thing about money and writing her novel and I thought that was so fucking cool. And closer to most people’s experience.
People want to see themselves as successful and doing well and comfortable and always making more money and getting more popular—or whatever it is—and I think I have always defined myself by the things that don’t go right as much as the things that do go right. And I really do feel like it’s an equal balance. And I feel like trying to hide the things that don’t go right is just…wrong and embarrassing.