The cult section of the literary world

The Tea House: Guest Post by Tiffany Scandal

By Tiffany Scandal

bushmills photoToday is brought to you by a bottle of Bushmills and black coffee. Enjoy.

Make art because you fucking love it. Don’t do it for fame. Don’t do it for money. Do it because it feels natural. Do it because sometimes it’s the only thing that makes any fucking sense.

I grew up with a very creative family: musicians, illustrators, seamstresses, builders, photographers, crafting gods . . . you name the art, and I could probably list off a few relatives who did that. It goes without saying, being around so many creative people during my formative years, the desire to make art anchored itself deep. But my family was very practical, and somewhere, I got the dumb notion that I should never grow up to be an artist.

What a crock of shit.

I tried the salaried/benefits/regular-schedule gig for a while and thought I was happy. . . until I was fired. Rattled by the first time ever being let go in my 29 years of existence, I slowly started to realize how much I had lost touch with who I really am. Unemployed and scared shitless, I started writing, painting, drawing, making gaudy crafts, taking photos, and let me tell you, it felt fucking amazing. I could feel the transformation as I would create. I felt heavy weights being lifted from within. My head felt less hazy. I realized that it had been years since I had really done any of those things. I missed it. I was poorer than I had ever been in my life, but I was happy. Truly happy.

I ended up finding a serving job to cover my bills and kept working on my creative stuff. I didn’t create anything for the sake of having it be supplemental income. I was creating shit because I felt that it was the fuel I needed to keep going. Slowly, opportunities started presenting themselves. A local business offered to showcase and sell some of my photography and paintings. I modeled for some photographers and the photos ended up being the cover and a four page spread in a French tattoo magazine. I met an amazing group of writers, editors, and publishers and ended up getting a short story and a book published. All of this happened in the span of a year. It was pretty fucking magical.

Now, don’t let any of this fool you into thinking that I’ve got this figured out. Far from it. But I try to work from the heart and make sure it stays fun, and sometimes, just sometimes, that’s enough. And sometimes it’s even enough for someone else. That part’s more gratifying than any paycheck out there.

If you make art, I salute you. If you’re thinking about making art, kick whatever is stopping you to the curb and get to it. Do it with heart. Do it with a smile on your face. Don’t ever let a paycheck influence your art. Let your art be the influence. Make art because you fucking love it.

Tiffany Scandal is writer, model, photographer, and crazy cat lady living in Portland, Oregon. Her fiction has been published in The Magazine of Bizarro Fiction, and her first book THERE’S NO HAPPY ENDING is part of the 2013 New Bizarro Authors Series.

You can visit her at

4 responses

  1. Totally agree!

    November 26, 2013 at 2:18 am

  2. Fuck yes! Although I’ve had the notions of authors such as Mamatas, Keene and Skipp hammered into my brain for so long, that I believe an author should be compensated for his/her work monetarily. But you shouldn’t be scared to give some stories away when you’re first starting out.

    November 26, 2013 at 9:22 am

  3. kcb

    It’s nice to have reminders. Thanks

    November 27, 2013 at 12:26 am

  4. Truly great advice.

    November 28, 2013 at 2:05 am

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