Interview with Jessa Crispin: Author, Editor, and Creator
We got the chance to interview Jessa Crispin. We asked her about herself, her business, her wisdom, and her closet!
Jessa Crispin is an author with many publications. Her three books are The Dead Ladies Project, The Creative Tarot, and Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto. She is also a columnist for the Guardian, and blogger who writes and publishes on various powerful topics. Her work touches upon the intricacies of feminism, spirituality, tarot, and other ideas that draw her curiosity. She upholds exemplary literary works in her magazine publications Bookslut.com and Spolia. She trifles in the multi-faceted realm of creativity and focuses on quality output, following where whim takes her.
Go-getters, women that empower women, women who do not apologize for who they are or who they wish to be, who take responsibility, who forgive their own mishaps, and who keep pressing forward are women clever alice stands by.
Crispin's interview is relatable and grants us permission to follow our interests guilt-free, and to remember that some of the best things that happen in life are accidents, and some of our greatest joys come from blunders.
You can find more about Crispin and her work here. And continue reading for her interview with Clever Alice.
Where did you grow up?
In a very small town in Kansas. It had one clothing store, but my mother considered it "too expensive," so we went to Wal-Mart an hour away instead.
What do you do for a living?
I'm a writer. I'm a columnist for the Guardian, I have a couple books, I have a podcast called Public Intellectual, and I do freelance work. I also read tarot cards on the side as a semi-regular gig.
What lessons has your work life taught you?
That one has to be very flexible and know that what is marketable is not necessarily what is good. And what other people consider to be success is not necessarily any fun. So I've chosen opportunities that were perhaps less lucrative but more interesting, and I've turned down things that might have been big deals in order to do work that means more to me. And hey, the downside of that is maybe financial insecurity and moving in the margins, but it's worth it for the freedom it brings.
What kind of student were you?
If I was interested in something, I was a good student. If I wasn't, I was very lazy. But also, if I couldn't get something immediately I'd almost always abandon the attempt to understand. I liked school in general, although I only finished high school and a year of college before dropping out. But the second I got bored, it was deadly. I couldn't force myself to go to class or pay attention or do anything other than the bare minimum. And a lot of things bored me!
But dropping out was very scary. It wasn't because I figured, I'm too good for this and I can build my career on my own. It wasn't a Mark Zuckerberg/Bill Gates kind of thing. I didn't leave to go build an empire. I had no idea what I wanted to do, and I drifted from temp job to temp job for years until I sort of accidentally became a writer. I was embarrassed for a long time of not finishing college, and for a long time I thought I would go back and try again. It just didn't work out that way.
What do you feel most grateful for in your life?
I'm grateful for pretty much everything. Growing up in a very small town, you don't really have big hopes for your future. You're lucky if you can get to 20 before you start to "settle down." Maybe you'll get to take over the family business, if there is one. So getting to travel to other countries and have the career I've had and meet the people I've met and all of it, it's pretty great. And unexpected. I know how rare it is to really be interested in the work you do, and I wouldn't want to take that for granted.
Can you tell me about one of your happiest memories?
I had just spent a week in Istanbul with a boyfriend. The boyfriend was a shit. And it turned out he was pretty boring. He only wanted to do things that were recommended in the guide book, and he, you know, had to go to Starbucks for his coffee. That kind of guy. So we would walk for twenty minutes so he could get his Starbucks despite the 80 other coffee places we passed along the way. So he left, and I decided to stay. But I had a lot less money than he did, so I had to arrange for a different place than the hotel we were staying at. And I remember vividly the cab ride from the hotel where we stayed to the friend of a friend's apartment -- a publisher who was out of town but was letting me stay in this place jam packed with books in Turkish -- on the other side of the Bosporus. At one point the cab driver asked me, "First time in Istanbul?" I said yes, and he said, "I can tell by the way you are looking at everything." I basically had my head hanging out the window. I remember the heat of the day, and I remember all the cats lying in the shade of the building when we pulled up to the apartment. Also the relief of meeting up with my friend D, to eat very good ice cream, drink tea, and talk shit about the guy who had been such a drag he had made Istanbul seem boring.
What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?
Don't travel with men to Istanbul.
Who is your favorite designer ? What is your favorite piece of clothing?
I am friends with Olga, who helps run the shop and label Akira Mushi in Athens. Their clothes are great, and whenever I'm in the city, I stock up. And I get obsessed with an item of clothing, wear it over and over again, until I move on to something else. So right now it's a man's double breasted blazer, Italian, that I picked up at a flea market for $100 or so. I think it's from the 80s but I'm not really sure. It's a really nice jacket. It's too big for me, so I roll up the sleeves and I just love it intensely. My body relaxes when I have that jacket on. Jacket in the featured photo.