During the past 10 months, being an artist has been challenging. But that hasn’t stopped Jon Savitt from trying to keep creating.
The Minnesota native (and sort of Minnesota resident again), wrote his first book, Read This When You’re Sad: Inspirational(ish) Messages, which is available now as an e-book.
The book was originally was going to be available to buy, but Savitt chose to offer it for free on his website and encouraging people to donate to Child Mind Institute to help destigmatize mental health in lieu of charging anything.
“I think just the state of creating right now has changed a lot during COVID,” he said. “Transition a lot from in-person events and doing stand-up and drawing off that energy to how are we going to keep creating and making art and giving valuable things to people when we can’t be in the same room. If COVID didn’t happen, I don’t know if I would have ever thought about doing something like this.”
Savitt normally lives in Washington, D.C., but has been staying at his parents’ house in the Twin Cities – after all when you do your work remotely and do it from anywhere, what better place to do it than home?
“Everyone should be embracing that things aren’t perfect right now and people are struggling in their own unique ways,” he said. “There’s a global pandemic going on and things are going to be a little different and people are going to be feeling a little different. I wanted to do something that addresses that head-on.”
If you’ve watched any of Savitt’s standup – like his recent, recorded-from-home Hanukkah special – the book is very much in his quippy, observational style.
“I’ve been in like a mood of like, not to say nothing matters, but I think we’re at a point where we’re reprioritizing things, we’re understanding what we really get joy from what we need, what we could do without, how we can kind of shift our priorities around. And I think part of this too,” he said. “I want to do something weird. And I want to say weird stuff. I want to put things together that that could be a little quirky. Because that’s the state of everything right now. And I thought it was kind of funny energy to put out.”
Despite it feeling like it could be very of this time of COVID and isolating yourself from friends and family, the book doesn’t mention it like some of his other recent projects.
“I purposely didn’t really mention anything specific to what’s going on,” he said. “This isn’t just a read this now, because you might be sad right now, but I wanted this to have a shelf-life even after we have vaccines, and we can be out and about again and COVID is hopefully gone or lessened, those feelings aren’t going to go away still. What can you do to make yourself feel better and move forward?
“I think the big takeaways are it is okay to feel sad, but we should all be trying to move forward and find laughter and find happiness and find positivity as we can, even if it just comes in little bite-sized moments throughout the day. Or something like this book.”