Nick Cave's Advice to a Young Kid
In 2018, the Australian musician, Nick Cave started a website called The Red Hand Files. It’s a little platform where he answers questions from his fans. Earlier this year he was asked quite a profound question by a 13-year-old named Ruben.
Here’s the following exchange.
I’m 13. In a world ridden with so much hate, and disconnect; How do I live life to its absolute fullest, and not waste my potential? Especially as a creative. Also, what is a great way to spiritually enrich myself? in general, and in my creative work.
When I read this question, my initial thought was that the kid who wrote this has nothing to worry about, they’re going to be all right. Ruben, you are very smart, you are engaged with the world and I’m not sure what your creative interests are, but you can certainly already write.
Not only that, you are also reaching out for answers. At thirteen, this is all brilliant! Luckily for you, Ruben, I have some! So here goes!
Read. Read as much as possible. Read the big stuff, the challenging stuff, the confronting stuff, and read the fun stuff too. Visit galleries and look at paintings, watch movies, listen to music, go to concerts – be a little vampire running around the place sucking up all the art and ideas you can.
Fill yourself with the beautiful stuff of the world. Have fun. Get amazed. Get astonished. Get awed on a regular basis, so that getting awed is habitual and becomes a state of being.
Fully understand your enormous value in the scheme of things because the planet needs people like you, smart young creatives full of awe, who can minister to the world with positive, mischievous energy, young people who seek spiritual enrichment and who see hatred and disconnection as the corrosive forces they are.
These are manifest indicators of a human being with immense potential.
Absorb into yourself the world’s full richness and goodness and fun and genius, so that when someone tells you it’s not worth fighting for, you will stick up for it, protect it, run to its defence, because it is your world they’re talking about, then watch that world continue to pour itself into you in gratitude. A little smart vampire full of raging love, amazed by the world – that will be you, my young friend, the earth shaking at your feet.