Kyle Gest is one of the newest mastermind writers for Creative Life. For his very first post, Kyle answered the questions from the interview series, and got vulnerable fast! Kyle is the voice and talent behind the successful podcast The Lapse. You can learn more about Kyle by visiting his bio.
And with that said, here is Kyle’s Interview!!
1. What is the force that drives you forward? What fuels your ambition?
I refuse to work a job that I hate. And I hate most every job. You know the old cliche, “don’t let the man get you down?” The Man has a habit of getting me really, really down.
That’s the bass-line to the two piece band of my mind. At the forefront – the frontman – is an essential need to connect with others. Sharing our stories, especially the tales we stuff deep down within ourselves, is intrinsic to my very being
2. Can you talk about your greatest “failure”? (something that led to your most significant shift in consciousness, and made you who you are today).
I dropped out of high school. Hell, I failed English. This guy! English!
The full story is really a novel. Being a chubby kid, the bully who was my friend, and to be blunt… murder. I did a version of it on Kevin Allison’s “RISK!” podcast. Curious ears can find that on the episode titled “Hazardous.”
3. Are you happy? What does happiness mean to you?
I’m happiest when I can hit that artist’s middle ground between work and play: more than I need to feel accomplished, less than I need to feel burnt out. I like my evenings. When the sun goes down I stop working. If I can achieve that, I’m happy and I know it (clap my hands).
4. What do you think is your greatest strength? On the reverse, can you identify a personal challenge (something you currently struggle with)?
A mentor of mine once told me that I really knew how to command a sentence. Then I got parole. Wait, what were talking about?
I was diagnosed, well after convincing myself I’d never write consistently, with ADHD. Less the HD, more the AD. Up until I was prescribed medication I had never – and I mean never ever – completed an assignment prior to the night before.
I still struggle with having more than one project on the go and even thinking about switching tasks makes me anxious… but I write every day. The difference a little medication can make, huh?
To seriously answer your first question, I’m very fortunate to work in a field that combines the only things I’m good at: memoir, public speaking, and computer wizardry.
5. When did you first realize that you wanted to be an artist? Can you talk about that moment or time in your life?
I wanted to write before I could read. Prior to understanding that letters could, in fact, form words, I used to do word searches by the booklet. I’d match the symbols the puzzle until they lined up. Or down. Or diagonally in the really good ones. Aside from a brief stint as a post Jurassic Park palaeontologist, I’d wanted to be a writer all my life.
6. Habits, routine, morning rituals What are the positive things you do daily that have had the most significant impact on your life and work?
Shower. Eat. Get out of the house. Harder to do in the Vancouver gloom sometimes, but I find keeping a work environment outside of the home is important. While at work, my computer is a tool, at home it’s my Wicked Awesome Video Game Man Toy.
7. How do you deal with doubt? Where do you go for support?
My girlfriend, Emily, has had her pom-poms on this whole venture.
Whenever I doubt that I can make a sustainable living (with a podcast of all things), I’m reminded of how far I’ve come. I’m a high school dropout with a bachelor’s degree. My work was named by iTunes as one of the ten best new podcasts of the year, for crying out loud. When compared to what I’ve had to overcome to get here, my little Doubting Thomas gets quieter every day.
8. What, in your opinion, are the qualities of someone who is a “great” artist (in whatever discipline)?
An ounce of humility, a grain of talent. The worst artists, the ones so-bad-they’re-good, the Ed Woods and Tommy Wiseaus of the world, nobody would claim they weren’t passionate artists. What they would claim, perhaps, is that they’re immune to their own criticism. Earnest, but lacking in any sense of self-awareness.
You should like your work, but only your fans should love your work.
9. Any advice for artists on a similar path? (Perhaps advice you wish you’d been given when you were first starting out).
Twitter. Facebook. Instagram. Being connected to your audience is so absolutely crucial to making people care about what you do. It might sound ironic given that I run a podcast, but I’m not a guy who seeks the public eye. Fact is, unless you’re very well established, few people will support an artist without a face.
10. Ever experience flow/being in the zone? What does it feel like for you, and can you tell us about a time when you experienced it?
I think being “in the zone” is about as intangible as being high on mushrooms. You’ll know when you are, but if the shit hasn’t kicked in, brah, maybe you just need to, like, chillax or somethin’.
11. What are your favourite books?
Can I do favourite podcasts? I’m doing favourite podcasts.
Radiolab features some of the most consistently fascinating, well-edited stories of any show out there. One moment we’re learning how scientists can slow down light to walking speed, the next we’re knee-deep in the Worldwide Wrestling Federation. A hugely inspirational show that I always look up to.
On the fiction front, Welcome to Nightvale feels like something plucked directly from my cerebrum. It is exactly the sort of show I’d love to write for. Like if Lovecraft had a funny bone and worked at NPR. That it’s written by one guy is that much more impressive.
Then there’s This American Life. Because you can’t have a list of storytelling podcasts and not mention This American Life. It’s everything journalism should be without the boredom.
Kyle will be sharing personal stories from his life once a month. To stay up-to-date on updates from Kyle, please subscribe below: