Simple Steps to a Life Less Shitty

Simple Steps to a Life Less Shitty

by Adam Gnade

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A continuation of the work started with his Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin' Sad, Adam Gnade's new pamphlet is a series of peptalks and how-to's on dealing with the overwhelming bullshit of modern life. From list-keeping as a survival skill to battling sleep anxiety, finding the wild heart inside you to kicking your life-long depression in half like a cheap ceramic statue, these tips, lists, and essays show a path toward a better, smarter, freer life.  





Mat Resist, of Resist Zine thu 8/6 2:34pm

I woke up early this morning with Jodi, and rather than going back to sleep decided to make a cup of coffee and start reading Simple Steps to a Life Less Shitty. I’ve been carrying it around so long I started rubbing the print off the cover, but I’ve been keeping myself so busy that it never made it out of my bag. This morning, I sat in bed with my cup of instant espresso and started reading it. Right away I was reminded about how I need lists. I know I need lists. I work better when I have them. But somehow I got out of the habit of using them. Adam reminded me that I need to get back to that because, as he put it,

Also this morning, I couldn’t find the little Post-it flags that I normally use to mark important sections in books. I don’t often write in books anymore, but I made an exception this morning and marked up a couple important reminders.

Another sentence I underlined was, “Once you start looking for a better life things will immediately get tough.” It’s been a tough couple years for Jodi and I, and we ARE looking and planning and working for a better life. It’s reassuring to know that it’s not just us that are being put through the ringer, that perhaps it’s just something that happens when you start making changes in your life.

I was trying to get through the whole book before I got out of bed, but about halfway through I was just feeling too inspired to stay in bed anymore. I got up, got dressed and got to work. Without a list, I had trouble figuring out where to start, but decided to finish up a cabinet I started working on weeks ago. (Finishing stuff is always fulfilling)

Simple Steps… also inspired me NOT to turn on my computer when I got up. I have a tendency to flip it on first thing, but this morning I decided I was going to work with my hands until I left for work. I finished reading Simple Steps… outside during my lunch break. Then I came back in and wrote about fixing up that cabinet.

Adam’s ‘personal care’ writings tend to inspire me. They make me feel like I can get stuff done. Like the things that drag me down aren’t as bad as I think they are. Or perhaps that they’re plenty bad, but that they’re not going to stop me from going at life wholeheartedly. They make me feel like real life is possible, not the watered down life too many of us resign ourselves to. I feel like I’m pretty good at getting pleasure out of the small things, but Simple Steps… is a good reminder. It’s also a reminder that people who treat you badly are dealing with their own shit, and though you shouldn’t let them abuse you, you can perhaps understand where they’re coming from.

Simple Steps to Life Less Shitty is a mix of inspiring stories, and self-care advice… often in list format. How to get to sleep when you can’t. How to be alone. When not to be alone. It’s a great follow-up to the Do-it-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin’ SAD.

Jason Bradshaw, Good Reads mon 4/13 12:43pm

Feeling absolutely suffocated by life today and this is exactly what I needed. Not a guide as much as another call in the wilderness to remind me that a better life is possible if we're willing to fight for it.

sean gallagher 9/3/2014

simple steps to a life less shitty furthers what big sad was a great how-to/health/anti-depression/picker uper influence guide. and as it says on the back of simple steps: it is a series of peptalks, how-to's on dealing with the overwhelming bullshit of modern >this is exactly what simple steps AND big sad does! --it does this with big sad book and simple steps zine. my favorite thing id the use of making lists as to figure out what you want to do daily, in life and as a coping use to deal with life bullshits that's kicked into your face everyday.. within the pages of big sad are stories that complete the how-to part and tell of examples which you can learn from to deal with this/that 'bullshit' situation, but remember its a fictional story (but true to the author) so use it (the stories) as your own take of the situation tells about and if its happened to you as a field manual. and now, there's a digital companion to big sad and i don't know what the difference is against simple steps, but you can get it but it should be a great read... a personal note: i've big sad about 13 times and will read it again and forever for it's one I'm always going to use in my life to learn from, so should you too! ---i will say thanks Adam Gnade and Pioneers Press for making each available, and i hope you dear reader get all 3!!!

absenceoftechnic.tumblr 9/1/2014

”..the death of someone we love knocks us off our axis; whatever it is, we’re all casualties of war in a certain sense. We’re all up against things that taint the goodness in us.” I’ll save my preaching bit on Adam Gnade and Pioneers Press this time; however, this is Adam’s newest zine. I often wonder how acceptable it is to love the people you haven’t met, but I also don’t much care what’s acceptable. Fill your bookshelves with Pioneers Press goodness, I can’t count the times all of these reminders have made me feel more hopeful of humanity. Fight and claw and don’t lose hope. -Go fight win, as they say.

Rust Belt Jessie 8/26/2014

“5) “Publishing goals for the year.” These are the books, zines, or stories I want either written or in-print by the end of the year. Includes ideas on how to surprise everyone with each new thing you release and plans for making whatever you’re working on your “one great work.” I haven’t really pulled that off (not yet at least) but why not try to make each new thing you release better than the last? Why shouldn’t you shoot for the magnum opus every time? You’ll almost certainly fail but your work will be better for it. (“If the poet is caught up in things, the reader will be caught up too.” -Roberto Bolaño.) Nothing cleans out your mind better and makes you grow more than an honest-to-god all-guns-blazing struggle. I’ll take that any day over half-tries and mediocre but “respectable” results. The critics may like you but will you like yourself?”

Adam Gnade, from “List-Making as a Simple Step to a Life Less Shitty” (from Simple Steps to a Life Less Shitty)

The whole of Adam’s new book/zine/pamphlet is brilliant - it made me cry, but in a good, cathartic way, not a big mothefuckin’ sad way. In it, Adam even echoed some things that I’ve been thinking and writing about lately, and I love that, when I find that other people think about the same stuff I do, but have their own unique way of saying it. I especially loved the list-making section, because I, too, am a huge fan of making lists. I wanted to highlight this part in particular - it’s about writing, but I think you could really apply it to visual art, music, anything creative that anyone does. And I wholeheartedly agree that everyone should give every piece their all, and try to make it their best. You might fall short, but at least you gave it a shot, and then you can do it all over again with the next one.

Dakota Floyd 8/26/2014

My buddy Adam (who you may know from his recent novel Caveworld or self-care zine The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin’ Sad) has a new thing out, and he was nice enough to send me a copy of it.

Simple Steps to a Life Less Shitty, by Adam Gnade

Sometimes life has a way of giving you what you need when you need it. But a lot of the time life gives you garbage when the last thing you have time or energy to do is dig through trash in search of the things you need to get by.

Today, life gave me a lot of garbage. I’ll spare you the details, but waking up before the sun with food poisoning isn’t the best way to begin a pretty important day. After groggily fulfilling all of my work and school responsibilities, I came home, made a cup of tea, and sulked. I found myself laying in bed feeling awful and not doing anything about it, not because I didn’t want to, oh I did, but because I didn’t have the energy.

When I finally managed to force myself out of bed hours later, I checked the mail and found this little gem. Simple Steps to a Life Less Shitty is a continuation of Gnade’s self-care writing. Maybe you’ve read Ringside! or the Sad zine. If you liked those, Simple Steps will be right up your alley.

So yeah, Adam’s new zine came in the mail while I was having a bad day, but I didn’t read it immediately, even though I knew I probably should have. Instead I sat around, tried to find food I could hold down, and played on my phone. After that all made me feel worse, I picked up Simple Steps, began reading through it, and started to feel better pretty shortly afterwards.

Since Simple Steps is written in a similar format to Gnade’s other self-care works, predominantly in the form of short essays and quick lists, I’ve decided to make a list of my own.

From here on out, I vow the following.

Less phone, more books.
Less Facebook, more real faces.
Less junk, more veggies.
Less talking, more doing.
More dog parks, longer walks.
Create. Create. Create.
Sleep more, but wake up earlier.
Remember the past, but don’t look back.
Stop stressing about money. That’s how capitalism wins.
Even if you’ve never read anything else of Adam’s, you’ll have no problem picking up Simple Steps to a Life Less Shitty. It’s an accessible, realistic, and actually useful tool in taking care of yourself. Heck, I was having a bad day, and it helped me feel better. What else could I have asked for from this zine? Another great one from Adam Gnade. Get into it. Available now from Pioneers Press.

tropicalhomestead.tumblr 8/25/2014

Get this book. Keep it with you. Read it when you don’t feel like moving forward. It will help, I promise. Better yet: get ten and give this book to everyone you want to see make it in this mean world.Get this book. Keep it with you. Read it when you don’t feel like moving forward. It will help, I promise. Better yet: get ten and give this book to everyone you want to see make it in this mean world.