I spent most of the time talking around the fact that I had no idea what to do with my life. At one point, he stopped me. “I think that the next step, for you, is to call yourself an artist, and to understand that you are an artist,” he said. “Stop fussing about it and just decide to be an artist. Everything will follow from there.”
As much as I was obsessed with writing and music, I thought actual artists lived far away from the practical world, in some realm I’d never escape to. Simon’s pronouncement had an almost magical effect on me. I slowly became braver in trying that word on, and my work got better.