Marvin-teaching-drama GIVES ME LIFE. but the real question is what would everyone else teach?
Collaborated with @whizzerbrowne bc this is hers as much as mine perhaps even more so let’s be honest.
TOTALLY A RIVAL ARTS TEACHER. (thank you cj for opening my eyes to this possibility).
He’d probably do like Standard, Technical^tm English classes like regular English, American and British Lit, Oral and Written Communications, and tbh he’d probably get roped into teaching a Psych elective. This rivals Marvin’s classes of drama, humanities, poetry.
Marvin is a complete classics snob while Mendel is obviously wayy more modern well by lit standards
Mendel: God, I love Slaughterhouse-Five. Marvin *snorts*: I hardly consider that a classic.Mendel: MARVIN IT WAS WRITTEN OVER FORTY YEARS AGO. Marvin: EXACTLY!
but yeah, while Marvin’s class is def structured around lectures, Mendel does more of a discussion-based environment and prompts his students, “Why do you think [this character] did/say that?” or “What do you think the author was trying to say about society by including [this] in the novel?”
It should be obvious that Mendel does not answer these questions himself bc DONT ASK ME QUESTIONS IM FRIGHTENED OF QUESTIONS.
But yeah,,, the ultimate teacher rivalry.
His favorite class of students: Seniors bc they’ve learned to not be afraid to speak up and actively participate in class.
DEFINITELY THE HEAD OF THE SCIENCE DEPARTMENT
Her favorite classes to teach are def Biology and Anatomy (which she teaches at regular, honors, and AP levels).
She def gives herself the most core classes and a few electives, so that makes her schedule suuuuppperrr busy and hectic but she loves the work and she loves the kids.
And lab days are her absolute favorite, omg. She loves performing the experiment alongside her students whenever she can, and she loves helping with their measurements and really just watching their faces when something happens.
She is def That Teacher who you go to when you’re failing a class and are v overwhelmed and really need resources like tutors and such. She has that open door policy.
Her favorite class of students: freshmen and sophomores!! They’re so genuinely curious and not Over^tm school just yet. They always seem more open-minded and conscious for class.
Okay, so so so so hear me out: Cafeteria worker Cordelia.
She serves lunch and gets to hear the gossip and tbh this is only a day job for her as she tries to kick-off her independent catering business.
She is everyone’s favorite bc she remembers all the kid’s names and what they prefer and she’ll do the “how was that history test?” and hear the resounding groans.
She never skimps on the food!! THANK GOD.
She also really pushes the school’s budget system to include better ingredients and meal plans and she’ll recommend recipes she’s been working on and even though she’s not the best cook, she has the best ideas and she really gets the business side of the cafeteria done.
Also, she always makes sure to save an extra scoop of mashed potatoes for that cute science department head that always takes up for her crusade in the staff meetings.
Her favorite class of students: ALL OF THEM. THEY ALL HAVE TO EAT.
The head chair of the Family Sciences department. So she teaches like Home Ec, Family Planning and Adult Living, Life Skills, Personal Economics, etc.
She is super super vocal that these are not “easy” or “feminine” classes like she makes an effort to invite all male and/or “smart kids” to take them as well bc hey,,, you actually need to know how to do all this stuff. Like, come on. Do you know how to write a check or do taxes? Yeah, didnt think so.
The! Kindest! Teacher! She makes an effort to get to know everyone in her class and says hello to everyone in the halls and is just !!! positive.
She plans a lot of field trips for students to be like introduced to the world and how to function in crisis situations. Like, she def hosted a class about CPR and other health stuff.
Her favorite class of students: JUNIORS! They’re not naive or overwhelmed like lowerclassmen and aren’t lazy or apathetic like seniors. They are her fave, tbh.
Left Hand of Darkness final thoughts: the fantastical thing
that LeGuin posits in this book - like, the way way out SF concept - is the idea
of a colonizer that listens to the people it colonizes and thereby becomes
wiser, which – now, wait a second, youngsters, I know it’s important that we
yell at other white people for wearing kimonos, but just try to imagine a world where the transmission
of cultural imperialism is two-way, and the ethos of the colonizer is affected
by the ethos of the colonized, and that at the price of destroying the “purity”
or authenticity of a given culture something is ultimately gained by all
parties involved. The Vietnamese get
baguettes, California gets Zen; India teaches us non-violence, we teach them
The book is willing to entertain this
concept, but concludes that while appealing it is simply too far-fetched, or is at the very least
vulnerable to the problem of asking the wrong question. Genly thinks
that the thing the Ekumen can get from Winter is the foretelling ritual,
just like they got telepathy from Rocannon.
He’s being short-sightedly utilitarian in this – typical male behavior –
because the foretelling is just the flashiest and most visible outgrowth of a
larger technology that the Ekumen lacks.
He sees a tank and he wants the tank, not the underlying knowledge that
will allow him to make many tanks. The tragedy of the book is that he gets so close – he almost recognizes the basic principle at play, identifying it as “mastery
of the hunch”, but for once in the entire narrative he doesn’t take the opportunity to
use a clunky gendered descriptor, which might have gotten him closer to the root concept. He doesn’t say “feminine intuition”. He doesn’t recognize the principle in himself.
novel is a lament. This could
have been an equal exchange, but he was too wrapped up in his masculine
bullshit to make sweet metaphorical love to the integrated feminine.
The great gift that Winter has to offer the Ekumen isn’t
augury. It’s the secret formula for
respect women juice. Genly is finally able to recognize the
integrated feminine in Esvehan (thereby dooming him/her to the death all
subaltern collaborators earn for teaching life lessons to the great white
vacationer), but when he looks at that sketched-out yin-and-yang Esvehan is the
only one he sees. It’s a picture of you, too, doofus! As it is he misses out on his shot at
integration, doesn’t even get it after Esvehan commits suicide by cop. In the he end he sits there thinking lazy gendered thoughts about Esvehan’s kid as
the Ekumen bears cluelessly down on Winter, unable to ask who the grail serves. It’s a
massive missed opportunity, as all these colonial interactions must be – our
chauvinism, our pride, our power, and the certainty that we’re serving the
greater good [an aside: do you find yourself beginning to miss
neoliberalism? At least they believed in
something] prevent us from seeing the
human being across the table. If Genly really saw Esvehan for what he was in the
tent that night he would have got his dick out and done him a solid. As it is, Winter and the Ekumen are just
going to have to roll down that mountain together, talking past each other, trying
to stay ahead of an accelerating avalanche of mistakes.
The thing Le Guin wrestles with is this: even though we can’t
allow ourselves to pretend that we’re Captain Picard, moving to expand our
power not selfishly or venally but with infinite delicacy and tact and for the
greater glory of god – Picardhood has to be the ultimate goal, right, because we’re doing this colonization thing, it’s done.
Integrating it all into a better humanity has to be the goal, even as we
accidentally kill entire cultures by giving them televisions or heroin or
free-market principles, because there’s no undoing it. The ideal of a
wise and just humanity is the only way to retroactively justify everything we’ve
laid waste to. And Le Guin, because she
likes to see us suffer, is over there reminding us that even when we think we’re
at our best and most enlightened and least Manifest Destiny-y we can still
overlook things as simple as the fact that women are people, and that the ideas of manhood and womanhood are at play in all of us, and maybe that one tribe could have taught
us how to work through that but we didn’t know the right question to ask, and anyway
cheap labor seems like a more immediate plus so guess who’s gonna make us some
Human beings have always joined in groups to imagine how best to live and help one another carry out the plan. The essential function of human community is to arrive at some agreement on what we need, what life ought to be, what we want our children to learn, and then to collaborate in learning and teaching so that we and they can go on the way we think is the right way…. Nobody can do anything very much, really, alone. What a child needs, what we all need, is to find some other people who have imagined life along lines that make sense to us and allow some freedom, and listen to them. Not hear passively, but listen. Listening is an act of community, which takes space, time, and silence. Reading is a means of listening.
It’s finally finally finally here! Our first video collaboration with @packwestwolfdogrescue teaches you how to visually phenotype wolfdogs! @ivar-the-real-wolfdog cameos both as the dreamy baby woofer I met in June and his current majestic self.
A full transcript of the video is in the first comment on youtube for accessibility, although most images within it are captioned.
If you like this video, please consider supporting both the Why Animals Do The Thing Patreon and Pack West’s Patreon. Creating videos like this is time-intensive and I hope to bring you many more of them, if I can fund it; Pack West is saving pennies to buy a beautiful parcel of land in Goldendale, WA on which to build a permanent rescue facility.
So one of my professors gave us some test taking tips that
seem to have really helped me. He told us that he always see’s students making
the same mistakes, and they make mistakes that could easily be avoided. He did
warn us that this doesn’t always apply to every single question that you will
come across but that for the most part this will help.
One problem I seem to always be faced with is when I have
the answers narrowed down to two possible choices. Most of the time you can
cross two off and then you try to pick between the two remaining questions. The
‘distractors’ always seem to get me. The thing with distractors is, they sound
good. They look appealing. You remember reading something about it. Most of the
time the 50/50 rule applies; in other words, half of the answer will be right.
With nursing, the WHOLE answer needs to be right. If you’re looking at an
answer and you think a certain part of it sounds good, you need to think to
yourself if the other portion sounds good as well. If not, chances are it’s the
Another thing is that EVERY nursing question is based off of
Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. As a nurse you have to think about what
intervention is going to keep your patient alive and safe the longest. If you
are stuck between two answers, think Maslow. What is in the bottom of that
pyramid that needs to be met first? A lot of distractors will be psychosocial or
too vague. If this is the case, rule them out, chances are it’s not the right
Select all that apply, the horror of nursing exams. When it
comes to these questions, you need to treat it like a giant true/false
question. Find out first EXACTLY what the question is asking. Then go one
answer at a time and ask yourself if that is true to what the question is
asking. Don’t try to group answers together, this will cause you to choose one
too many, or a wrong selection.
One great thing my professor taught us is how to approach
delegation questions. He calls it the “PACET RULE”. These are things an RN does
NOT delegate to an LPN/UAP/CNA/etc. These are a nurses responsibility.
C: Collaboration/complex tasks
T: Teaching (Discharge/medications)
I really hope this can help someone as much as it helped me.
I’ll share any other tips I pick up along the way in this nursing program.
Percy Jackson is the swim teacher of Half-Blood High. Many teen girls swoon over him and enjoy swimming class due to this fact. He also leads the swim team and is a huge water enthusiast.
Annabeth Chase, the principle and the Maths and history teacher is most of the a reasonable one and she’s not very strict unless of course, there’s something on her mind, which is often.
Piper Mclean is the french teacher and frankly is often called ‘hot’ by the younger boy students, of course she always calls them out on it. Piper loves to talk in french and teach other students french, it makes her cringe when they mispronounce words though.
Jason Grace the physics teacher, although quite bored with physics as a child, loves teaching it to students. He finds different ways to collaborate with Leo in teaching.
Leo Valdez believes he’s the best Shop teacher ever, though some students beg to differ, not that he’s bad, but he’s got to keep an eye out for the students who cause trouble.
Hazel Levesque is the guidance counselor of the school, unluckily not many people come to her for help, but when they do she’s thrilled. She does a good job of helping people. But when’s she’s not helping out there, she usually helps out around the school and with Will
Frank Zhang loves being the biology teacher and teaching about animals as he thinks they are amazing. He is kind and lenient with his teaching and is usually a personal favorite among students.
Nico Di Angelo tends to make not much of a deal that he’s part of the school, since he only works there part time to help out, he’s filling in teachers forms but doesn’t quite have a solid job yet. The staff love to have him around though.
Will Solace is the school’s “nurse”, though he hates being called that. He does his job well and frankly, it’s not that good but many kids come to him during the day because they get hurt.
The more I think about the fact that my assistant/co-teacher rearranged the classroom without asking me or even asking for my input, while I was away, the more pissed off I get.
I’m all for a collaborative approach to our teaching together but this ain’t it.
And she says it was to prevent kids falling, which hasn’t happened since we (as in the both of us) made minor changes. The only time kids have fallen with trucks there have been no injuries and they’ve fallen on the carpet, not the tile. What’s next? Getting rid of the carpet? The cars? Neither of these are going to happen as long as I’m head teacher of the room.
Why wasn’t I approached by anyone about this if it’s a major concern? Does no one take me seriously as a head teacher? Can that just be let out in the open if it’s true?
God DAMN. I’m scared I won’t be able to sleep tonight.
I’ve been working on growing a spine lately and I intend to show off my efforts tomorrow.
For the anon with the interview - google "teacher perceiver questions" to get an idea of the questions an interviewer might ask someone applying for a teaching position. I only just learned this was a thing, but the questions look very familiar from my last round of interviews.
This is a guest blog post by Oakland County Commissioner Janet Jackson.
As an elected County Commissioner in Southfield, Michigan, a
suburban community bordering Detroit, I am committed and proud to take part in
numerous efforts locally to combat the crime of human trafficking and address
the issue of internet safety.
Location = Trafficking Access
Southfield, Michigan is a majority-minority populated suburb
with a 75% African American demographic. We are located just north of one of
Detroit’s red light districts. There are numerous hotels located here with
convenient freeway access. My city is viewed as strategic territory for
trafficking. Our local police force understands this significant fact and
collaborates with the FBI, the State Police and other local police departments,
task forces, businesses and hotel owners, to fight this crime.
Many Sides to the Trafficking Fight
Sting operations over the years have recovered under-aged
victims and levied charges against pimps and perpetrators. However, this is
only one side in the fight against this crime. Law enforcement can prosecute,
but it is the job of community partners to come together to raise awareness and
prevention by educating the community concerning child and internet safety
which is another side in this fight.
Free Resources and Ongoing Outreach
For over five years, resources provided by the National
Center for Missing and Exploited Children have engaged collaborative groups by
teaching about the risks of the internet and the many facets of intervention.
Russell Petty, Senior National Outreach Coordinator for the National Center for
Missing & Exploited Children, has travelled to my area annually. He has
given internet safety and anti-human trafficking presentations. He has provided
free resources and informational materials from the NCMEC to alert the public
about methods used to lure children into criminal activity. He has informed and
directed people to legal and community service agencies that provide assistance
to victims. As the internet has proven to be a continuum and a gateway that
exploiters can use to entice and take advantage of minors.
The information provided by Mr. Petty helps protect our
young residents and parents informing and empowering them about responsible use
of the internet. He has provided free resource lessons suitable for all ages.
These popular discussions have been utilized at public school educator
assemblies, municipal park and recreational events.
Last November, the Oakland County Human Trafficking Workshop
Committee held a two-day event featuring keynote guest speakers, Teresa Flores
(a survivor), and Russell Petty. They were joined by a panel of professional
and community partners. The event attracted over 500 participants from the entire
county and Metro-Detroit area.
Participants learned about new state legislation,
prosecution efforts and internet safety as part of our effort to connect the
Dots to Keep Oakland County Safe, and eradicate human trafficking.
Human Trafficking is a crime in motion, one that requires
ongoing informational outreach efforts.
About the Author
Oakland County Commissioner Janet Jackson is currently
serving her fourth term in District 21. She represents a portion of the
communities of Southfield and Farmington Hills in Michigan. Her passion as a public servant is to enhance and to create a
safer community for her residents and their children. Janet is a member of the
Diversity Advisory Committee for the National Center for Missing and Exploited
Children in Washington, D.C.
Billboard Woman of the Year Taylor Swift on Writing Her Own Rules, Not Becoming a Cliche and the Hurdle of Going Pop
Taylor Swift never doubted that her fifth album, 1989, would sell 1 million copies in its first week. But others were not so confident. “Everyone, in and out of the music business, kept telling me that my opinion and my viewpoint was naive and overly optimistic – even my own label,” says Swift, recalling the run-up to 1989’s October release in the vast living room of her penthouse loft in downtown Manhattan. “But when we got those first-day numbers in, all of a sudden, I didn’t look so naive anymore.”
In fact, 1989 moved 1.29 million copies in its first week, the biggest seven-day sales of any release since 2002, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Swift, who turns 25 on Dec. 13, became the first artist to hit that 1 million-week milestone three times – breaking a record not just for women or twentysomethings, but all musicians. It was an accomplishment that she engineered, maintaining worldwide ubiquity throughout 2014 with the European and Asian legs of her $150 million-earning Red Tour, a savvy and accessible social media presence, and tireless promotion, taking on everything from TV appearances to a role as New York’s “global welcome ambassador.” And as she made the leap from country to pop, her fans stuck by her, eager to follow an idol charting her own course.
Swift asserted her freedom and influence more than ever in 2014, including moving from Nashville to New York’s chic Tribeca neighborhood and pulling her music from Spotify, which led to widespread debate over streaming and compensation for artists. She also revealed a burgeoning feminist consciousness, delivering an impassioned defense of actress Emma Watson’s speech at the United Nations about gender equality and assembling a social circle of strong young women including Lorde, Karlie Kloss and Lena Dunham. “Taylor is like this force of protective energy,” says Lorde. “She looks after everyone she knows. We’re both interested and involved in the workings of the industry. I have this thing in my head that she should do seminars – ‘Swift’s 13 Steps’ or something.”
Swift was raised in Wyomissing, Pa., the daughter of Scott Kingsley Swift, a financial adviser, and Andrea Finlay, a former marketing executive. The family, including her younger brother Austin, relocated to Nashville when Swift was 14 so she could pursue her musical ambitions. “Working in those writers’ rooms,” she says, in between sips from a Starbucks cup, “writing several songs a day with several sets of collaborators, it teaches you discipline.” Since the release of her 2006 debut, Taylor Swift, she has won seven Grammy Awards and has sold more than 30 million albums and almost 80 million song downloads worldwide, according to her record company, Big Machine Label Group.
Still, given today’s music business climate, BMLG president/CEO Scott Borchetta admits that it was tough to gauge realistic expectations for 1989. “When you have the entire industry saying, 'Well, it might only be 800,000, but that’s a great number,’ you start to question if the market could bear it,” he says. “My job is to make sure she had all the information.” And Swift’s job, of course, is to push past all that. Says Borchetta: “I learned a long time ago: Don’t ever doubt the power of Taylor Swift.”
There has been so much talk about you moving to New York, but people forget that you grew up in Pennsylvania, just a few hours away.
Oh, yeah – people have no idea! I summered at the Jersey Shore every year. When I first discovered that I was in love with performing, I wanted to be in theater. So growing up, New York City was where I would come for auditions. I was 10, but I was as tall as a 16-year-old, and then you’d have a 22-year-old who could play 10, and they’d get the role. Then I started taking voice lessons in the city, so my mom and I would drive two hours and have these adventures.
I went to a Knicks game a few weeks ago, and people were like, “Oh, it’s your first Knicks game!” I actually have a photo of my first Knicks game. I was 12 years old and I was in a halftime talent competition, but I didn’t win because the kid who won sang “New York, New York,” and I was like, “Here’s a song I wrote about a boy in my class …”
You have been criticized for the tone of the 1989 song “Welcome to New York.” Has it made you think any differently, hearing people say that this is a difficult time to afford to live in the city?
Absolutely. But when you write a song, you’re writing about a momentary emotion. If you can capture that and turn it into three-and-half minutes that feel like that emotion, that’s all you’re trying to do as a songwriter. To take a song and try to apply it to every situation everyone is going through – economically, politically, in an entire metropolitan area – is asking a little much of a piece of a music.
I’m as optimistic and enthusiastic about New York as I am about the state of the music industry, and a lot of people aren’t optimistic about those two things. And if they’re not in that place in their life, they’re not going to relate to what I have to say.
It must be a challenge for you to move around, even in this city. Do you have favorite places to go or things to do?
The only places I can’t really go are huge carnival-type things, where there could be some sort of stampede. It’s happened before. Which sucks, because I love carnivals, and I love fairs. I have a hard time accepting the fact that my life is abnormal. I admit it now, but I’m not going to stop grocery shopping just because it tends to be a very hectic situation. If I ever have a family, that’s when I would start to think about the inconvenience of it – if I had to explain to a 4-year-old why all those men are pointing cameras at us and why people are staring. At this point, I can handle it because it’s just me, and my friends are really good about it, too. If I had friends who made me feel bad about it, I’d feel like I was a burden to them.
How did the decision crystallize to make 1989 a pop record?
Max Martin and [Karl Johan] Shellback [Schuster] were the last people I collaborated with on [2012 album] Red, and I wished we could have done more and explored more. So going into this album, I knew that I wanted to start with them again. Then I thought, “Wouldn’t it be amazing to work with Ryan Tedder?” And then I was with Jack Antonoff and Lena Dunham at the beach, and we started talking about our favorite '80s music. All of this started happening organically, and I found myself gravitating toward pop sensibilities, pop hooks, pop production styles.
When I knew the album had hit its stride, I went to Scott Borchetta and said, “I have to be honest with you: I did not make a country album. I did not make any semblance of a country album.” And of course he went into a state of semi-panic and went through all the stages of grief – the pleading, the denial. “Can you give me three country songs? Can we put a fiddle on 'Shake it Off’?” And all my answers were a very firm “no,” because it felt disingenuous to try to exploit two genres when your album falls in only one. I never want to pull the wool over people’s eyes, because people are so much smarter than a lot of marketing professionals give them credit for.
So what did that mean at the writing level?
This was just me following where I’ve been headed for years. “I Knew You Were Trouble” was a big signal flare. When I did something like that, that I thought people were going to be freaked out over, and it ended up spending seven weeks at No. 1 on the pop charts, it felt like I had tried on something new that fit really well. So for this album I decided, “Hey, that thing I tried last time? I’m going to make my whole wardrobe into that.”
What was your working relationship with Max Martin, who is credited as the album’s co-executive producer?
He doesn’t do interviews, so people create this Wizard of Oz-type persona because he’s seemingly so mysterious. But if you get in a room with him, he’s absolutely warm and kind and funny, and honestly, out of the goodness of his heart did so much extra work on this album and never asked to be named anything. I started to experiment and work with other people, and Max knew that I wanted to make an album, not a collection of songs that sound like they’re recorded in different studios by different people. So he volunteered to record pretty much all the vocals – even things he didn’t write or produce. He would come in and spend his day away from his kid, away from his wife, and volunteer his time and not ask for anything. And the more that he did that, the more I realized that he deserved credit for that. That’s what made him feel to me like co-executive producer.
Did you want “Shake It Off” as the first single for the sound or for the message?
Both. This album is not about boys. It’s not about something trivial; it’s not about revenge or breakups. It’s about what my life looks like now. And that song is essentially written about an important lesson I learned that really changed how I live my life and how I look at my life. I really wanted it to be a song that made people want to get up and dance at a wedding reception from the first drum beat. But I also wanted it to be a song that could help someone get through something really terrible, if they wanted to focus on the emotional profile, on the lyrics. Because I’ve had people say things to me like, “When my mom died, I listened to this every single day to help me get out of bed.” And then I’ve had people say, “I danced to this drunk at a wedding reception.” If they want to forget about the lyrics, they can, but if they want to hang on every word, they can do that, too.
Billy Joel recently said that one reason he stopped writing songs was because people started reading too much of his personal life into his lyrics. Has the way everyone plays connect the dots with your songs become a hindrance to your writing?
I’ve been dealing with it for so many years now that I expect the media to do it, I expect fans to do it. Human curiosity is never to be underestimated. But I don’t have anyone whose feelings are on the line except for me. If I was in love with someone right now, I don’t know how I would handle everyone else weighing in on our stories, because when you’re in a relationship there are a lot of secrets and a lot of sacred moments that you don’t want to divulge. I, however, am 24, perfectly happy being alone, and one of the reasons I’m perfectly happy being alone is that no one gets hurt this way.
What was your biggest challenge this year?
Convincing members of my team that [the pop move] was a good call. People seem to love the album, and we’re all high-fiving each other, but I remember all the sit-downs in the conference rooms, where I would get kind of called in front of a group of people who have worked with me for years. They said, “Are you really sure you want to do this? Are you sure you want to call the album 1989? We think it’s a weird title. Are you sure you want to put an album cover out that has less than half of your face on it? Are you positive that you want to take a genre that you cemented yourself in, and switch to one that you are a newcomer to?”
And answering all of those questions with “Yes, I’m sure” really frustrated me at the time – like, “Guys, don’t you understand, this is what I’m dying to do?” The biggest struggle turned into the biggest triumph when it worked out.
You have assembled this salon of really famous women around you – Lorde and Lena and Karlie. How did you build this posse?
Every one of my friendships has a unique and odd beginning. I was watching Girlsand I thought, “How mind-blowing is it that this girl is writing, directing and acting in this incredibly profound, raw, authentic view of being a woman in your mid-20s?” So I went to Lena’s Twitter and she was following me. I saw her quoting my lyrics. At first I was afraid, because I thought she was being ironic or making fun of me. Then I looked down further and she’s talking about my music all the time. So I followed her, and immediately got a direct message back saying, “When can we hang out? We need to be best friends.”
With Ella – Lorde – her album came out and I thought it was amazing, so I sent her flowers and congratulated her on a great first week. And I get this text message from one of our mutual friends, [Rookie editor/actress] Tavi Gevinson, and she says, “Lorde is freaking out because she said some stuff about you in an interview and she feels so terrible.” She essentially had said that I’m too perfect or something like that – something that did not even mildly offend me, that I thought was cute. She felt so bad about it, so I said, “It’s no big deal. We should hang out sometime.” We met up in New York and walked to a park near my hotel, and we ate Shake Shack burgers and got attacked by monster squirrels who wanted our food. I could keep going – Karlie and I met at the Victoria’s Secret show …
Did you set out to gather these strong females around you? How much is accidental and how much is it because it was the right moment for that?
I never thought too hard about it, but you’ll notice a lot of celebrity-type people tend to surround themselves with people whose lives revolve around them. You’ll have a posse of these exciting and fashionable cling-ons, and it’s because those celebrities need to be fawned over.
I feel uncomfortable being the No. 1 priority in my friends’ lives – I want to be there to make their lives more fun, if they need to talk, to be there for spontaneous and exciting adventures, but I don’t want friends who don’t have a life outside of me. So whether it’s Karlie, who loves what she does in fashion, or Lily Aldridge or Lena or my [childhood] friend Abigail, whose job is making sure that veterans get their compensation checks, the one thing they all have in common is that they love what they do. They have me in their life because they want me in their life, not because they gain from it.
Your mom has been central to your work and your life. Between moving here and meeting all these accomplished women, has that relationship changed at all?
My mom has allowed me to grow up one year at a time. She was very protective when I was a teenager, when every other person would say to us, “Are you going to become a trainwreck? When are we going to see you going off the rails like …,” and then they would name these other girls that they perceived to be trainwrecks, which was lovely. So it wasn’t just “Don’t drink until you’re 21,” it was “Don’t be seen holding a glass that they could think alcohol is in.”
Everybody wanted me to become a cliche. And I wasn’t going to let it happen, and my family wasn’t going to let it happen. And now I’m allowed to be 24, almost 25, which is nice.
What’s your advice for women looking to get into singing or songwriting?
You’re going to have thousands of decisions to make that will shape the public’s perception of you. Let those decisions be your decisions. Don’t let them be some man in a suit’s decisions, or some A&R guy with a beanie’s decisions.
You have always been so active in promoting new artists. How do you listen to and discover music?
I buy it on iTunes. Things I see trending online, friends on Twitter who tweet about new music. iTunes has really good recommendations – “You like Lorde, you’ll probably like Broods.” Well, I do like Broods! Thank you, iTunes.
Which brings us to Spotify. Did you anticipate that your decision was going to be such a lightning rod?
No, not at all. I wrote an entire op-ed piece [for The Wall Street Journal] back in the summer that was essentially foreshadowing this decision. I’ve talked about it openly and directly, and there’s nothing more to elaborate on. Until Spotify starts to fairly compensate the creators of music, I’m not going to be a part of it.
Which websites do you read most often?
No. 1 one is Tumblr, because it allows me to experience my fans’ sense of humor. They’re sharing not only stories but also GIFs and memes that they’ve created.
I love Buzzfeed, because they do a really good job of making news funny, or making a complete news story out of a non-news item. Like how I carry my purse in the crook of my arm, and they’ll do a slideshow on it. Somehow they come up with these random things to write about that are highly entertaining.
You’re coming off of your third million-selling week. Now that you’re really only competing against yourself, do you see a time when you’ll step away from trying to go bigger every time out?
I have no idea what’s going to happen to me, that’s the thing. I was really hoping that we could convince people to go out and make 1989 a part of their lives, and that maybe a million people would want to do that. And essentially, my fans wanted to make a statement about music, too. Because they read my op-ed piece, and it was sort of an unspoken pact between us. They proved that they still want to invest in music, that it’s important enough to spend their hard-earned money on.
Does it still feel like a struggle to get the acknowledgment for your own work? Even Imogen Heap, who worked with you on the album, wrote on her blog that she had “assumed Taylor didn’t write too much of her own music … and was likely puppeteered by an aging gang of music executives.”
Everyone’s got their own relationships and dramas, so they don’t have time to create a complex opinion of every celebrity. Do I get offended when people don’t fully understand how much of the workload is done by me? No, they’re busy with their own lives. If someone has studied my catalog and still doesn’t think I’m behind it, there’s nothing I can do for that person. They may have to deal with their own sexist issues, because if I were a guy and you were to look at my catalog and my lyrics, you would not wonder if I was the person behind it.
When I’m in a room with a writer for the first time, and I bring in 10 to 15 nearly finished songs as my ideas, I think they know that I’m not expecting anyone to do the work for me. I’m not going to be one of those artists who walks in and says, “I don’t know, what do you want to write about?” or one of those things where they say, “So what’s going on in your life?,” and I tell them and then they have to write a song about it. I wouldn’t be a singer if I weren’t a songwriter. I have no interest in singing someone else’s words.