When you live in New York City and there’s a big holiday like July 4th, it can be a bit overwhelming for introverted people. I wouldn’t call myself an introvert but I do like to unwind with solitude, a good book or an interesting film after a hectic day. Sometimes it can be difficult to balance an academic and social life (as all college students know). It’s very important, though, to be around people and to be an observer if you want to write and create art. Over the July 4th weekend, there were lots of get-togethers with friends and festivities filled with fun: when Monday came around, I had to stay in.

However, Tuesday was a big day where I worked on an important creative project/interview with a good friend of mine who is a performance artist and musician on the Lower East Side of Manhattan (Kembra Pfahler of the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black). I’ve been talking to Kembra a lot for a feature in a special edition of the East Village Eye magazine; it’s funny that NYC can connect you with so many people you admire. Living an alternative lifestyle as an avant-garde artist is still possible in New York: you just have to find people who think the way you do. Sometimes just being around other creatives and working on something together—no matter what it is—can put everything into perspective.

Going to college and preparing yourself for the working world is a huge step in growing up but being able to realize that, as an aspiring artist, you’ll need other artists in order to flourish is important too.

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It’s crucial to make time where you can observe artists and writers who are older than you: they’re further along in the profession. Professor, writer, and mentor, Mary Carroll-Hackett taught me this at Longwood. Mary was also my thesis director but, most importantly, she’s a dear friend whom I love very much and will always admire. She was one of the first to teach me that we’re all sort of in this together; she treats young writers like peers. It’s so refreshing to meet artists and writers who aren’t ageist and who see the value and potential in up-and-comers.

Reconciling your personal, quiet self with your professional and artistic self can be a struggle and it’s a lifelong journey but hopefully you can enjoy it along the way. Hopefully college helps creative types learn how they can make a living and be creative simultaneously. After all, it’s a balancing act.


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About the Author

Katherine Sloan '12

Katherine Sloan graduated from Longwood University in 2012 with her MA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. She currently lives in New York City and is working on freelance projects for writers such as Rick Moody. She and her twin sister, Angela have pieces of fiction published by Three Rooms Press in a collection called Songs of My Selfie. You can follow her on Instagram at @sloankatherine or find her on LinkedIn under her name. Some of her favorite people include Nick Cave and Joan Crawford.

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