By sharing our personal stories and confronting our past traumas, we unlock the power of creativity and pave the path to love. In this episode, award-winning artist, graphic designer, author and public speaker Timothy Goodman dives deep into the connection between trauma, creativity, and love. Timothy believes that sharing personal stories is a form of activism. He shares his story of how he was able to look inward and confront the traumas of his past, including his own toxic masculinity. Through this process, he was able to come back out with hope and healing, symbolized by the color yellow and other accent colors in his art. He also examines the role that childhood trauma plays in artistry and creativity, especially if you have experienced depression and abandonment. Timothy also shares how recognizing patterns in breakups can allow us to choose vulnerability over aggression and apathy. He emphasizes the importance of culture and communication, as well as showing up for yourself and going after the things you want in life. Join us as we explore the power of love and creativity, and the importance of moving forward with hope and healing after our past traumas.
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Trauma, Creativity, And The Path To Love With Timothy Goodman
I have been talking with Timothy a little bit, getting to know him, and saving a lot of my big questions for the interview. The first one is there’s a big theme around yellow. For those that are not looking at the visual of our talk and maybe haven’t seen the cover of your book, which has this beautiful yellow heart on it. Is that technically a yellow shirt? It’s darker in color than the heart.
I think it’s yellow. It’s close. I have the book here. It’s off. It’s orangey.
The book that you held looks almost like a highlighter yellow to me, fluorescent. What is the symbolism there? Is that on purpose or is that a coincidence?
No, it’s on purpose. For a while, even on my website, I’m an artist, a designer, and an illustrator. For my portfolio website, I use yellow as the accent color. Generally, that’s come from the fact that so much of the artwork I do. I do lots of wall murals and I do lots of brand collaborations with my art. I do lots of art all over the place.
It’s generally not always but I would say 70% of the time, it’s black and white. It’s a black drawing on a white background or vice versa. I would say that anytime using yellow compliments the black and white drawings a lot. I think I have always tried to sway toward that with my personal work. With the book, I Always Think It’s Forever.
Yellow is such a symbol of hope and my book is this entire journey of one year of my life of going to Paris and having this brief but intense love affair with this woman and all the stages of falling in love, attraction, and grief of the breakup and going through me dealing with all childhood traumas and figuring out my attachment disorders with breakups and relationships.
Coming back out, at the end of the book with hope and healing, it feels like the yellow is this symbol of healing and hope for me. It was a conscious decision. I tried other things. I wrote, designed, and created every piece of every square inch of this book. In the art process, there were a lot of exhausting possibilities of different colors and stuff but we just kept coming back to yellow because of the hope.
That’s so cool because in my head, not being an artist in that traditional sense of what you are doing meaning. Many of us have artistry in our lives and creativity is a very core component of the human experience but I don’t consider myself an artist like you. I don’t think about things like that, even to ask a question.
Do you consider yourself creative?
Yeah, I do.
I wonder what’s the difference sometimes.
Between artistry and creativity?
Yeah, or why we might say, “I’m creative but I’m not an artist.” I don’t know. It’s interesting. I think we are all born artists.
Have you always thought of yourself as an artist?
I guess not. I went to school for graphic design then I started my career as a more traditional graphic designer. I was a book jacket designer for my first year out of school at Simon & Schuster, which is wild that they published this book, my graphic memoir. It’s like this complete full circle. Then I worked in branding. I was an art director and I went to Apple.
This all happened in the first 3 or 4 years of my career. Once I started working for myself, which now it’s been many years I have been working for myself since 2011. Even when I started doing more, I was doing lots of wall murals and all these. I didn’t ever call myself an artist. It wasn’t until I started realizing my grandma would call me an artist.
I started realizing at some point the lines got blurry for me because I was creating so much personal work and at this point, I write books. I have art gallery shows. I do work for myself on the streets of New York all the time. I also do lots of commercial work but I start realizing that regular-day people that aren’t in the graphic design world, don’t think of a difference. It’s like, “No, you are an artist. You got to get over yourself.”
Coming from a design where you think it’s pretentious to say I’m an artist or something but it’s not, but like, “Yes, I’m an artist.” I was an artist when I was a kid. I used to draw Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles all day and that’s what it is. It’s okay to call yourself an artist if you work on a craft. If you make something and put it in this world, you are an artist.If you make something and put it in this world, you’re an artist. Click To Tweet
I like that. It’s funny how in my head I think creativity is different from being an artist. The artist seems like a job or a skillset but finding the art throughout life is good like thought exercise. I’m curious to jump to the Paris story but I also think it’d be great to start back as you as a kid, and how your work as an artist evolved over time. The kids tend to enjoy drawing. Maybe not all children but it’s funny when you look at pictures that kids create and how they don’t look very good to us as adults. They are not the right proportions. The colors are outside the lines, then as we grow up, we are taught to make it look a certain way. What were your drawings like when you were a kid?
I have some hung up in my house. I love them. I love honoring that child version of myself and I thought they were cool. I think kids’ drawings are cool. They are so innocent. Didn’t Picasso say something like, “I have worked my whole life to draw like a kid,” or something like a five-year-old? It’s that rawness and that innocence before some adult tells you that you are not an artist or that it’s not good. We lose. It’s tough. How do you preserve not that kid in you or that artist but the little child inside of all of us that loses this innocence? I’m always trying to find that little boy and salute him, honor him, and hold him.
I was always making art when I was a kid. My grandmother is an artist. She’s a ceramicist, a painter, and a writer. Everything was very artful for her. Even she would make these homemade jams and these labels. She would handwrite the labels in her beautiful penmanship and she had these journals. She would travel and would keep these wild journals with drawings and all these entries. They were all beautiful penmanship and photos and stuff.
She was always very artistic in so many ways. It makes me think that nothing is possible about making time for it. It’s like these side projects that don’t have to be a podcast or a book. It could be a garden, cooking or so many different things that could be your “side project.” For me, it was about learning French or trying to learn French and going to Paris and doing something for myself that I never did before. That’s what this book is about. That was a moment in my adult life where I was like, “How do I do something just for me finally?” I’m rambling a little bit.
I like the rambling. As we talked about before, there’s so much room for that on this show. The rambling in itself is part of the creative process. Even that in itself, for me, I feel like that was peer pressured out of me or something about society that pressured me to not ramble. As an adult, now I’m realizing why not? This show has given me the freedom and the format that I have now is a very creative format versus some shows I see that are very structured and they are tight and concise and everything’s framed differently.
For me, this show has been an opportunity to let go a bit and even to give the guest permission. I noticed as you and I talked about before we started recording, a lot of guests come to a show thinking they can’t ramble, go on tangents or they have to do a certain way. It’s like, “What if we allowed ourselves to play in that and see what we can discover?” Giving yourself that creative permission.
One thing that came up as you were talking about childhood and speaking of this show, as I said to you, the aim is to go deep and not superficial. One thing that you have brought up in your book, you talk about very publicly but I also want to be mindful of any boundaries around this, where you use the term childhood trauma. If you are open to exploring that on the show, given everything that you shared about your childhood, what role did that childhood trauma play and did that impact your artistry?
I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. I didn’t meet my biological father until the first time a few years ago as an adult. He was out of the picture and I had a stepfather whom my mom married when I was 4 or 5. They got divorced when I was like maybe 12 or 13. We didn’t have a lot of money. I grew up in an all-Black neighborhood. I have a lot of fond memories of the neighborhood, my friends, my uncles, my grandparents, and my mother.
My stepfather was pretty awful in a lot of ways. He was physically abusive and verbally abusive. He just wasn’t a father and I was always looking for one, but then he was out of the picture. As a teenager, I didn’t know what to do with all this angst I had and uncertainty. There was a lot of financial instability as well growing up.
There were times I would see things I shouldn’t see. My mother likes sneaking all the money she has to her name in my closet because she and my stepfather are getting into this awful argument. Her thinking that we are going to have to get out of there at any moment or something. When you see this chaos, when you see all this as a kid or as a little boy, you start to blame yourself, I think. You are confused and you also start to associate love or relationship as a shortcoming filled with inevitable heartbreak and pain.
When you see two adults in the house growing up who aren’t communicating with love to each other, who are screaming at each other, drugs in the house, and there’s financial incivility. You are seeing all this as a kid and you equate love with these shortcomings. As a teenager and as a young adult then, I started to build armor so that I could protect myself from that. I didn’t have the language or the wherewithal to think about how that might affect me.
I just start to either look for love or relationships in all of the wrong places with the wrong people or I push people who are good for me away because I don’t have the emotional capacity to deal with love or relationship in any significant way or meaningful way. You fall into this vicious cycle. I think a lot of people in this country, in this world, come from certain kinds of backgrounds like this, specifically, men in this country.
We talk about what toxic masculinity means, especially the way coming out of a broken home in this way or dealing with even being able to admit that you were abused is almost impossible on so many levels for men. You grow up and you are socialized. You build armor and I think that’s what I did for a long time. I thank God for many years of therapy, I’m cured 100%. No, I’m kidding but I have continued to be proactive about my mental health.
Something I have learned in therapy on that childhood trauma is like an old athletic injury. You think about it like that. A breakup or a heartbreak hits me a little bit differently than maybe someone else who came from a more loving background. It’s like you have that old injury and you hit your knee on the side of a table then you are hurt. It’s the same way with a breakup with my heart in a way because I have an attachment disorder.
I have something called abandonment depression. The way I deal with a break, sometimes I have to gaslight my brain because I need to tell myself a narrative in order to get over it or I need to villainize someone or whatever. This breakup in the book was the first time that I was able to recognize the pattern happening again during this breakup but able to put a stick in the spoke and stop the wheel a little bit and come back to all this crap that I dealt with as a kid and start to reframe the dialogue I was having with myself and finally show up for myself and heal in a much larger way.
The subjects that you are touching upon show the importance of a book like yours because it’s interesting. I will never know what it’s like to be a man. I’m a cisgender woman. I am straight. I have had a lot of relationships with men but it still feels like I’m in the dark. We were sharing some of these things. You can see how perhaps the way that we are raised and the way that we are treated by society. The cliché things about how men aren’t allowed to cry or show their emotions. It seems archaic to me but it’s very real.
I hope more men start to understand that you can be masculine and you could cry, go to therapy, and can ask for help. You are going to be masculine and you could wear something feminine. All these things can coexist. It’s changing in ways, especially with the mental health aspects. Especially as you see more celebrities, for instance, the Pete Davidsons or Michael Phelps. These people admit that they struggle with depression or suicidal ideation.
Being forthright with that stuff plays into the zeitgeist and changes help men redefine what they think or how they think about therapy, their mental health, or choosing vulnerability over aggression and apathy. Talking about this stuff as I do on my Instagram for many years, connecting with different people and talking about my struggles with mental health, talking about my struggles with my manhood, and all these ways.
I get lots of DMs from people or men who have told me, “Thank you,” or women who have told me that they have sent my stuff to my work, to their boyfriends, their husbands, or something. I hope I can be another example of what it means to be a cis head man in this country who is “masculine” but also vulnerable and can go there in all these places and that doesn’t make me any less of a “man.”
How did you get to that point of even feeling comfortable doing that on a platform like Instagram where so many people seem to be performing? It’s about the highlight reel. I think that there’s a trend of authenticity and vulnerability now on these platforms but not everybody gets there. People still even do performative authenticity and it doesn’t sound like you are doing that. How did you get to that place? What was that journey like?
It’s always been a calling for me to use my life and use the things I’m going through in my work. In so many ways, filmmakers and writers and poets, people have always done this as artists. They use things in their work. I never struggled with that aspect of things. I see it as the only way to do things. I’m a commercial artist and I do a lot of stuff with brands or whatever. That’s a whole different thing. Even that, at this point, I’m aligning myself with even doing things about mental health with brands or whatever.
It’s like anything you build and muscle at it over the years of doing it but I have always felt like that’s what an artist should do and also the community aspect. Keith Haring is a big inspiration to me. He would say stuff like, “I assumed after all the point of an artist was to communicate and contribute to culture.” I have the same assumptions. I don’t see any other way. I’m not here to make something look dope and pretty. It’s got to be more in a lot of ways.
Even if it’s not about all this very difficult subject matter, it has to be a celebration of something or has to be a contribution to something, which is also why I have made it a point to do other kinds of things with my work like donating murals to schools or do workshops with kids and partner with people about mental health or manhood and all these things. I’m trying to constantly be of service in ways because it brings me meaning. I like to connect with human beings. That’s the point of all of this for me.It’s nice to be of service in different ways because connecting to human beings can bring you meaning. Click To Tweet
That is a good segue into relationships because relationships are all about connection and that’s the core of your book. I’m curious, did you know you were going to write about your experience in France when you were there or before you even went? How did that evolve?
While I was there, I kept a journal and I hadn’t done that in a long time because everything felt so profound when I went there. Everything just felt special and I felt like I was living in a movie. I wanted to capture. I always like to document my life and I have done that in certain ways with projects. I have done these social experiments over the years and they have come out as a package in some way, whether it’s like a book, blog, or something but it’s my nature.
A lot of things like our behaviors and nature drive our art, so you start there. I love documenting. It was a documentation of writing a journal and I’m always constantly writing these vignettes and these poems no matter what. I was doing all of that naturally. Taking pictures and all that stuff but there was no like, “How would I know there would ever be some love story that would come out of this or whatever or the heartbreak that would follow?” It wasn’t until maybe a year after, not just France because I was in France for months but the year after the whole thing ended like the breakup and everything and my journey of trying to heal through the breakup and all the depression I had.
It was like a year later and this is in the pandemic or around the time that we were getting vaccines. I started to like, “This story doesn’t feel like complete to me or something.” Even though I was healed and moved on in a way, it still felt like I needed closure in some way internally. I was still like, “There’s like a lot here.” People were interested in my whole journey in Paris and all that stuff online or the fact that I would do this like what it means to get up and leave your life and go to Paris and try to learn French.
I was like, “Could this be a book or something? What would it mean just to tinker and start to put together?” Not even put together a whole book for this stuff, but what would he mean to start to put together a narrative? How would that even play out? It’s my journey or whatever but how would I package that in some way? I started playing then I became obsessed. Before I knew it, I had created 50 pages of what this could look like or become with my poetry, my journals, all the art, charts, and graphs. All to tell this comprehensive story of this whole year. I was excited.
I love the format of your book and the artistry in it. It surprised me when I took a look at it. One page that stood out was a reference to Sex and the City. In the show Sex and the City, there are two loves. What’s the quote?
I don’t know the exact quote but the way I wrote it was like, “Sex and the City once proclaimed that you only get two great loves in your life. I have had four. Does that mean I’m lucky or I’m doomed?” I wrote, “I think great love should be counted the way the basketball hall of fame and ducks their nominees. A player must be fully retired for at least four full seasons. There’s no way Amy can be counted as a great love. It just hasn’t been that long.” Then I go, “Yes, I just wrote a whole book about our relationship.”
Those questions are interesting to ponder because I haven’t thought about them that way. I think a lot of us wonder, “Do we have just one love? Do we have multiple soulmates? Are we going to be with this person for the rest of our lives?” Growing up, I thought, “It’s very cut and dry. You marry one person. You stay with them for the rest of your life.” My parents are still together. I grew up with that foundation of, they certainly, like any relationship, I see them go through challenges.
It’s not like it was picture-perfect but they are still together. Maybe it was because I had that model or I was watching all this television and movies, Disney, and all this programming that we have about finding your one true love. It’s so refreshing for people to acknowledge like, “No, I have had four and maybe I have even more.” Maybe that is divergent from what the media tells us about love.
I agree. I don’t know, it’s tough. Do we have more than one soulmate? I think so in some way. I’m in a long-term relationship now. My girlfriend, Tina lives with me and it’s incredible. I have never had a love like this. Does that mean it doesn’t exist in some other way? I don’t know. I don’t want to think. It’s a hard question.
You can find love in all kinds of different ways and we are different versions of ourselves all the time. We continue to grow and therefore, you can continue to meet different kinds of people and all of this stuff is geographically based too. It’s like it’s the love of your life but it’s also you both live in the same city or you both ran into each other in whatever event you were. It’s hard to know.You can find love in all kinds of different ways, and we’re different versions of ourselves all the time. Click To Tweet
Speaking of the media, one other thing that came up as I was looking over your work and connected to Sex and the City and I believe it’s the creator Darren Star, that has that show Emily in Paris. I’m curious if people bring up that show. Do you have thoughts on that show? That show is all about this American girl who goes to Paris and learns French and has all these romantic escapades. Almost sounded like your book started the opposite. You went to Paris not expecting to have love then you did find it. Am I messing that up in my head? Did you go there thinking?
No. This book is off the heels. In 2018, I went through a lot of depression and suicide ideation. I was in a bad place for many different reasons. It got existential for me because I came to a place where I didn’t know what I was doing anymore. I realized I was putting so much effort towards my career for so long. Ten years or something since I graduated at that point. I was days, nights, and weekends and I was burned out. I was like, “What am I doing? Is this what life is all about?”
I also realized it came to fruition that so much of all the constant hustling and trying to become “successful” came from early on, this desire to prove all the people back home wrong. I barely graduated high school. I didn’t want to go to college but couldn’t get into college after high school. I was a complete screw-up. I had a 1.7 GPA in high school, smoked weed every day, and did every drug. That goes back to that was the armor I was putting up because of all the crap in my childhood. Also, my mom’s divorce again and remarriage.
I was tired of it all and I just wanted to lose myself in whatever. That’s what that was when I was a teenager. At some point, when I was 19 or 20, I was painting homes in Cleveland. I was a helper. I was making $6 an hour cash painting houses. I was helping. I was hauling buckets of wallpaper glue upstairs for fifteen hours a day.
At some point, during the course of that, I had this incredible mentor and he taught me all these things. I went to start going to community college in Cleveland. Shout out to Tri-C Community College and I became obsessed with art, with everything. We are trying to get out of Cleveland. We are trying to make it. I didn’t have any money. I had to get all these scholarships. I applied to all these scholarships and eventually got to New York. I realized after being in New York at that point for several years, in 2018, I was like, “Everything I have done now has all been in reaction to trying to prove people wrong and trying to make it or whatever that meant.”
It was like, “It didn’t feel real.” I came out of that year, I was in such a good place after all of it, therapy and all these things. I vowed to go after things and do things the way I wanted to do them. That was big and small. That was about going to Paris, trying to learn French, and also about growing my hair or having a birthday party and celebrating New Year’s. It was showing up for myself and going after things. When I went to Paris, I was open to anything. I was like, “Sign me in. Punch in the time clock. I’m here. I’m on duty for whatever is going to come.” If that’s love, that’s love. If it’s heartbreak, it’s heartbreak. It was all about accepting whatever was going to come my way, saying yes, and jumping toward it.
What a journey that is. It’s super interesting too. I’m very grateful that you are sharing all because even the shifts like the childhood trauma you talked about but also growing up in Cleveland and what life was like there and what school was like and these hardships. Getting to New York seems like a huge deal. I have family in Cleveland and my cousins, who are a little older than me, just went to New York City for the first time ever. New York was only a few hours away from where I grew up and I took it for granted like, “New York City, it’s exciting but it’s dressed right there.”
To have that perspective shift in 2022 that my cousin from Cleveland doesn’t leave very often and some people never leave. Not only did you get to New York, which now I recognize is a big deal but then you got to Paris. Talk about a huge jump. Was it easy to go from New York to Paris or was there still part of you that was like you were growing up in Cleveland where going to Paris felt like this big thing to achieve?
No, it felt easy. Going to a different culture and country is scary. I think that without a doubt, that is scary but it’s exciting. Living in New York for so many years, it’s such a hard and big city. There’s so much to this city. It makes things a little easier. I’m not so green around going to a different place and I’d been to Paris a couple of times before. I have been very privileged and blessed to be able to travel this world because of my job.Going to a different culture, different country is scary for sure. It’s scary, but also exciting. Click To Tweet
I speak at a lot of creative conferences. I’m hired to do murals in different countries and all kinds of stuff. I rarely feel displaced in a new country. I feel that I can be scared or whatever but I feel excitement behind that scariness, which is always the goal. Especially as a creative person like to find myself in a place where I’m not sure how I feel like I’m scared and excited. With work, you are making work that brings that out, that feeling in you. That’s a good place to be in. I’m a huge Bob Dylan fan and he said something like, “An artist must always be in a state of becoming, and as long as you are in that realm, you will be okay.” I love that.
It’s so helpful too because our society positions, at least in my perspective in the past, I viewed success as something you could achieve then you will have made it. I’m curious given that quote with Bob Dylan, do you ever feel like you are going to make it or is it important to not feel you don’t make it because that way you can continue being truly artistic and creative?
Do you know what I’m saying? It seems like our society’s so centered around becoming successful. As you mentioned, the hustle and burn yourself out. You got to get to this point but a lot of times, you get to that point and realize, “It’s not that fulfilling.” The fulfillment is in the doing of things. Has that been your experience?
Can you say that in a different way?
It’s this idea that it’s a different framework of looking at success because there’s so much pressure to be successful. At least I have felt it. Have you felt pressure to be successful like all this hustling that you mentioned? Is that a pressure to get somewhere?
Only for myself. I come from a pretty blue-collar background. I didn’t have pressure. I didn’t have a father pressuring me or something around or my mom. There wasn’t pressure growing up to be “successful,” or anything. All of it came from my own insecurity early on to prove people wrong, prove myself right, or prove something to myself. All of that came from my own doing but there is societal pressure in general.
Do you feel more of it now because the way I see you is successful? I wonder if you get to this point where a lot of people in society see you as successful like through the book, your work, and working with big brands. You have accomplished a lot. Is there a different sense of pressure? Do you feel any external pressure now that you didn’t use to feel?
I do think that must exist on some level if I’m being honest. I don’t know how much I’m cognizant. I don’t know if I’m like in tune with it but it must be there. There is something. You do get to a point maybe that you start to wonder, “I have done this. Now, what do I got to do or something? How do I top myself?” There can be a healthy about trying to go after things. It’s about trying to be aware of it but I never feel down in the dumps.
I just think under capitalism, all of us are at the mercy of constantly not being able to be okay with not working or what it means to be an artist and make things without trying to package them, sell them, and get something in return for it. How do I exist as an artist just as an artist? I don’t know what the question is about that.
Maybe that Bob Dylan quote is where that comes into play. What was it again?
“An artist must always be in a state of becoming. As long as you are in that realm, you will be okay.” It’s a tricky question because I also think that part of it as an artist is to present it to the public in some way. Does it exist if it’s not being seen? I feel like part of it is to show it, sell it, or whatever it means because so much for me, is that gratification of connecting to people that makes it take on a different life.
I also think art should be accessible to everybody. Not like monetarily but also in the sense of, “I did this.” When I donate murals to schools and kids or when I did this basketball court. I drew all over this basketball court for Kevin Durant, an NBA basketball player in his charity foundation in Brooklyn. It was for these students, these kids at PS 315 in Brooklyn in Midwood. I drew all over this basketball court and it’s an incredible court. I leave and I haven’t been back since. One other time for the unveiling for years but it’s those students or those kids, it’s their basketball court. It’s the people on that street and that community. It’s their basketball court.
They have ownership and authorship over it. They get to say, “I have the dopest basketball court you have ever seen.” It’s got all this art over it and it’s theirs. It’s not mine anymore in that sense. It’s something special about it that I think art is important. The same way a movie, an album, your song, or a book becomes about your story and how it pertains or relates to you. That is what makes it go above and beyond.
That reminds me of something I read of yours in a quote about your personal story being your form of activism. You can say the same thing about your artwork, which is so connected to your personal stories. You are able to contribute as you said and you are communicating and connecting with people.
Those are the bigger messages and it’s been interesting chatting with you about this because when I first learned about you and your book, I was thinking about it through the context of a relationship. Through this time that we spent together, I’m seeing that it’s so much bigger than that. There’s healing from traumas. There’s an expression and creative side to that. There’s a connection with people. It’s all interwoven and to think of your book as a story about love is such a narrow view.
I always say that sharing your personal stories is activism. Sharing what’s personal and hard for you, connects you to other lonely people in the world and that’s what I’m always trying to do. I want to talk to more lonely souls. Even the idea of what it means to be lonely I think a lot of the time is such crap. It’s like the stigma we put around it or how much we try to cover it up or run away from it like, “No, I think loneliness it’s different.” First of all, you have to be able to know loneliness is different from depression and sadness but feeling lonely not even habitually. At times, there’s such a beautiful rawness to that.
You connect to something more human inside of you and what else would I want to do as a human than to feel more human? This idea of loneliness, sometimes I make my best work when I feel lonely. It’s that rawness. I feel more connected to the ground. I feel my breath and my feet on the ground. I feel how tender my heart might be or I connect more deeply to the child inside of me who was scared and lonely. That’s what makes me and that’s what makes each individual different. I don’t want to run away or patch up the loneliness. I don’t want to feel it.
It’s also funny too because it’s like being in a relationship. I was talking to my girlfriend about this. Sometimes in a relationship, you don’t want your partner to be sad or lonely. You want to help them or ask them. Sometimes in a relationship too, you got to be like, “No, I need to be lonely tonight. I need to go have a sad dinner by myself at the bar or wherever and read something or write something and it’s okay.” We don’t need to fix it.
I’m blown away by that. It’s interesting. In my head, I’m often thinking like, “Where does the conversation go?” You touching upon loneliness is so rich and touching. What an amazing way to wrap up the episode. There are so many more questions I have for you but I feel like that’s the end. It’s so poetic, honestly.
I’m so curious naturally but I love that ending on the note of loneliness. I don’t think I have ever gotten there with someone before. I love the way that you think through things. I also wanted to encourage the readers to stay curious about you so that they will go read your book, get to go on that journey, and check out your social.
Come on the journey. It’s okay to not be okay and you got to honor your loneliness. That’s what I’m always trying to do.
Sometimes reading books force us to be lonely because very few of us read a book with somebody else. Unless we are reading to a kid I suppose. Reading a book is about being with yourself and it’s such a gift to give people that opportunity to be on their own and step away from social media for a bit. That’s been huge for me.
As of the time we are doing this, I haven’t used social media in weeks and the amount of reading has increased. I’m constantly reading books because I’m not spending all my time going through TikTok or something. I’m so grateful because it’s a deeper journey. For you to write a book that people want to immerse themselves in this story but also for you to deliver it in such an artistic way is so cool.
It’s an easy read too. It’s a graphic memoir, so there are lots of art, charts, and all kinds of things that are used as a catalyst to tell a story. It’s also a book you can pick up on any page and its own singular moment within the thing. People have been writing me like, “I read it in five hours on my flight. I couldn’t put it down.” You can get through it pretty quickly too and devour it. Go for it.
The format also is great for people that might not usually like to read because a lot of people say, “I don’t have time to read,” but yet, they are on social media or watching Netflix. There’s nothing wrong with it. To have a book like yours where you can pick up little pieces and immerse yourself in little moments. Sometimes people on the toilet want a book to read. Not to disparage your book at all but that’s a cool way. You have five minutes to read a book.
I’m not above it reading on the toilet or whatever.
It’s so beautiful and the word gift keeps coming to mind. The work that you do is a gift to this world and you have been a gift to me and the readers for sharing your story. It’s a rally, all the ramblings, the moments, and the things that you have touched upon. You have shared so much wisdom and insight. It’s beautiful to witness.
Thank you for having me. It’s an honor.
Thanks, Timothy, for being here.
- Timothy Goodman
- I Always Think It’s Forever: A Love Story Set in Paris as Told by an Unreliable But Earnest Narrator
About Timothy Goodman
Timothy Goodman is an award-winning artist, graphic designer, author and public speaker. His art and words have populated walls, buildings, packaging, shoes, clothing, books, magazine covers and galleries all over the world for brands such as Nike, Apple, Google, MoMA, Netflix, Tiffany & Co., Samsung, Yves Saint Laurent, Uniqlo, Target, The New Yorker and The New York Times.
He regularly partners with not-for-profit organizations and schools to create art for communities in New York. He’s the author of Sharpie Art Workshop and the co-creator of several social experiments including the viral blog and book 40 Days of Dating (whose TV rights were optioned to Netflix) and 12 Kinds of Kindness which was featured on NPR and The New York Times.
His first solo gallery exhibition, I’m Too Young To Not Set My Life On Fire, was on view in Manhattan in 2021. Timothy’s work often discusses topics such as mental health, therapy, manhood, race, politics, heartbreak and love. He teaches at School of Visual Arts and regularly speaks around the world at creative conferences. He lives in New York City. Visit www.tgoodman.com for more information.
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