Entertainment Books Why Tavi Gevison is giving up on inspiration

Why Tavi Gevison is giving up on inspiration

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Ever sat around waiting for inspiration to strike? So has Tavi Gevinson.

The now 18-year-old blogger found fame at the age of 12 for her innovative blog, Style Rookie.

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Today, she has her own magazine Rookie, is a front row fixture at fashion week and has starred in several movies.

But despite her runaway success at such a young age, Gevinson still suffers from brain blocks like the rest of us.

In her contribution to the book Airmail: Taking Women of Letters to the World, Gevinson writes a personal letter to the “moment when the lights came on”.

In it, the child prodigy examines why it’s okay to favour hard work and commitment over epiphanies and brainwaves.

Read it below and take a leaf out of her book.

Dear Moment When the Lights Came On

"Enough Said" Portraits - 2013 Toronto International Film Festival

I think it’s time we break up.

It’s not you, it’s more like, an idea I have of you, that I’ve just become really co-dependent on.

Like, whenever I’m down, I expect that you’ll fix all my problems. Plant in my head the right thing to tell my friend who’s mad at me, or what I should do when I graduate, or some great idea that’ll snap me out of my writer’s block.

Like, as if you’ll just suddenly show up, and everything will just be better for all of time.

But that’s just not how it works, you know?

That’s actually, like, a really toxic relationship.

Because I put all this faith in you, and then you just repeatedly stand me up.

And it’s really rude!

And it’s not just me; it’s like you have no interest in hanging out with my friends, either.

Like, for example, my friend Gabby? Doesn’t feel like a real writer, even though she totally is.

She’s, like, insecure that her words aren’t important because she’s not some abusive middle-aged white man who lives by the sea and gets visits from you all the time.

As if a person’s ideas are only valid if they come in a moment’s epiphany, instead of taking days or weeks or years to sit on and hash out and breathe with.

Or, like, I’ll be hanging out with a bunch of words, and I won’t know what to write with them.

And they’ll be like, ‘Hey, when is Moment When the Lights Came On gonna show up? That guy’s awesome!’

And then they start reminiscing like, ‘Oh, remember that famous story about Moment When the Lights Came On and Robert Altman? 3 Women would not have been a movie if not for your guy!’


And they say you’re a ‘keeper’. And I’m like, I know! It’s really great!

But inside I’m thinking, like, it’d be cool if every once in a while, you could come to me the way you came to Altman while he was dreaming or whatever, and I would know what to do with my words, and my thoughts, and could create a masterpiece of my own.

But I know now that that’s a very rare occurrence.

So, you know, it’ll definitely be a challenge for me to get used to not having you around.

I’ll have a bit of adjusting to do, for sure . . .

But I think this will be really good for me, too.

Like, I’ll actually get stuff done, instead of just waiting for you.

I’ll have to learn to love all the unsexy parts of writing and emotional maturity.

I’ll have to stop expecting miracles and actually put in the groundwork.

So that’s cool.

It’ll be like when people talk about how they spent all this time doing research for their thesis.

And no one is super interested, but you’re all, like, really happy for them.


We had a good run, even though I still feel like I never really knew you. But thanks, for all the great art and good decision-making and successful start-ups and religious awakenings you’ve put into the world.

See you around? Probably not.




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