Not So Great Gatsby: Getting Creative

“This is how it works
You’re young until you’re not
You love until you don’t
You try until you can’t
You laugh until you cry
You cry until you laugh
And everyone must breathe
Until their dying breath.”

-“On the Radio” by Regina Spektor

Dear Nick,


I attended the Regina Spektor concert last week at Lupo’s in Providence. I really love Regina’s music and especially her lyrics. In the tradition of other Russian artists like Anton Chekhov and Fyodor Dostoyevsky, her words are often literary and ripe with meaning beyond what is on the surface of the sunny piano instrumentation. You may be familiar with her theme song for “Orange is the New Black” and she was on the Hamilton Mixtape doing a cover of “Dear Theodosia.”

I typically stand by the back bar at Lupo’s. I looked over the crowd and smiled. There were multiple generations of women singing the lyrics aloud to each other, trying their best to muster some dance moves, though the piano-driven pop doesn’t necessarily lend itself to a full-out boogie. It was a fun show and she played all the fan favorites. She has a unique voice in a world full of pre-packaged consumer-driven bubble gum pop.

It got me thinking about literary voices, music, art and the need to create art and record our experiences. With the internet and self-publishing, there are more outlets to get art to directly to the people than ever before. Shoot, Banksy just creates art on the walls of buildings, and if you look on some of the buildings downtown, you’ll see wonderful murals. Art is all around us; it is up to us to see it.

But what about you? You can’t play the piano like Regina, or wield a spray paint can like Banksy. How can you make your voice heard? Well, old sport, allow me to introduce you to the goat. No, not Tom Brady, but RI’s own Goat Hill Writers Collaborative. Goat Hill is a somewhat informal organization of exceptional literary talent right here in Rhode Island. Led by New York Times best seller Ann Hood, Flannery O’Connor award recipient Hester Kaplan, and Oprah Book Club favorite Taylor Polites, Goat Hill organizes workshops to bring writers to RI to read and discuss their work, and also for you and other potential writers to explore your storytelling prowess. Have a story you’ve been wanting to share with the world, but not exactly sure how to commit your ideas to paper? Well, you’re in luck, because Goat Hill is having a “Workshop-polooza” on March 18 where you can brainstorm with published authors who will help you organize your thoughts and make your voice heard. Check out their website: goathillwriters.com/workshoppalooza

We all have art inside us, whether we dance like no one’s watching or throw a curve ball that drops off a cliff. Self-expression has never been easier to get out to the world, but sometimes we need a little help figuring out our first steps. Maybe turning on some Regina Spektor and sitting down with a pen and a pad could be more fun and fulfilling with a little guidance.

They made a statue of us,