Not so long ago Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher, along with a number of other artists I never heard of but I'm sure are equally talented yet nameless to me, came up with a website known as "Learning to Love You More" where a series of art assignments were given. The charming part was that anyone could participate.
Each assignment was creative and revealed something innately original about each individual that participated.
Without a doubt, I wanted to participate, but didn't. I don't know why. Probably because I think I'd manage to do them wrong, or somehow manage to get a bad grade even though the assignments were never graded.
So I think I have waited long enough.
I decided to do Assignment #53
For this assignment I was to "Give Advice to Yourself In The Past."
Here were the directions:
Choose a particular age you have been, perhaps a time when you were particularly lost. Write out a list of practical advice to yourself at that age. Begin the list with this header: "Advice To Michelle Cambell at Sixteen" (only use your name and whatever age you want.) You must specify the age that you are giving yourself advice to!! Be very specific with your advice, for example, don't just say "Hold on to your heart," but instead say "Don't go out with Kevin, he will eventually cheat on you. Go out with Jake instead, he is actually cooler." If you need to use fake names go ahead. It is easy to say that everything happens for a reason, but take this opportunity to redirect yourself towards what you think might have been better. Sure everything turned out ok, but maybe you should have quit that job five years earlier, maybe you should have had children when you were 27, maybe you should have flossed, maybe you should have gone to the alternative high school, or not said that thing to your best friend. Tell yourself what to do in clear, specific language. Do not write an essay, make it in list form.
Some of these were pretty sweet and intriguing. Entries include tips such as "9)Your parents love you but they worry for you because you are lying to them and they know it. It will take four years but you will become close with your mother." Or, "4. Tell mom and dad you're serious about dancing now. If not, seventeen years later you still won't be able to touch your toes and you'll be jealous of the people who've been dancers all their lives." Or, for most people, it involves something like, "Stop eating doughnuts and start walking around more."
Yes. If I were grading these they would all get F's.
You don't write advice like this to yourself. Seriously, you have to go for the jugular. Remember, the past version of you has no idea what they're in for...
Okay. So here's my shot at this. *cracks fingers*
Name: Zachary Newcott
"Advice to Zachary Newcott at Age 10"
1. Robots. Thousands of them.
2. You do not have much time.
3. Destroy Cyberdyne.
4. Find Sky-net and ensure it is not operational.
5. Get a Delorean.
6. Go to future self FIRST and get a friggin hoverboard.
7. Tip #6 will make tips 1-4 a LOT easier.
8. Don't go all the way with Sarah Connor unless you're sure you want to be responsible for an annoying character named John who will supposedly save us all.
9. If you ignored #8 you'll probably die before the end of the movie.
10. If you just read tip #9, ask yourself how you got this list.
11. When you accidentally travel too far back in time while trying to get this list to yourself, don't step on anything.
12. Seriously. Don't step on anything.
13. Get that crazy doctor to build a flying, time-traveling locomotive in the first place instead of a Delorean.
14. BEHIND YOU!
15. Don't believe anyone who says this note isn't real. They're actually cyborgs. Probably. I'd just ignore them.
16. Just kidding about all those robots.
17. But am I? Eh? Think about it, the future could be seriously messed up kid, you have no idea.
19. There actually are zombies here, always keep a golf club nearby just in case.
20. Face it, you don't want to look at a list of things to watch out for. Imagine carrying this around with you all the time. That's no way to live man.
21. You would make more mistakes trying to live your life perfect than just living life on your own.
22. You're okay. When things look bad, look through a different window. Everything is working out okay, don't worry about it so much.
23. If you spend your life counting every step, or counting every second, you're going to fail to make life count.
24. But seriously, hoverboards. It'll happen.
So that's my list. What's yours?