• Class of 2017: Adele Thibodeaux

    With eyes ahead to the new year, we brought together the fresh new faces that are challenging the status quo. Artists, activists, musicians, and writers, our Class of 2017 is forging the path ahead with hope and optimism.

    Writer Adele Thibodeaux talks us through her busy life waitressing day and night shifts while still finding time to write, working through her latest collection of work, and finding truth in simple stories. 

    Age: 24 
    Occupation: Writer, Waitress
    Sign: Cancer
    Senior Superlative: “Isn’t that for other people to decide?” 

    Who is Adele Thibodeaux? 
    I don't know, that question is crazy. What do you say about yourself?  I don't know, like do I know myself best, or do other people know me, you know? I don't know, like what do I do every day? I am a waitress, and I work day and night, not every day and night, but day shifts and night shifts. I write mostly short fiction. But also other things, things that I just call fiction. I like to hang out. I think I really love to be alone, but I end up hanging out a lot more because I want to do what feels good right now, and if I'm with a bunch of people that feels good. And if I'm not, then that feels good. I’m very impulsive, to a fault.

    Your Instagram bio says “Southern Woman." Are you from the South? When did you move to New York? 
    I was raised in New Orleans, and then I went to High School in Texas. Almost seven years ago. I always wanted to live here, and I used to act at the time, so I came here to do theater, and I ended up completely denouncing it as a vain profession, and freaking out. I started writing instead, which is just as vain, deciding that what you have to say should be heard. 

    What’s the last great thing you wrote? 
    Oh my god, maybe nothing ever. No, I'm working on these southern stories right now that are all from the perspective of this one woman who works at the store which is just a café in a small town. I haven't named her at all, I don't know why. They're very simple and... I'm saying that they're simple because they're from the perspective of an uneducated person who's only lived in this town and she just works at this café, and just observes people and talks about it. And the way that she speaks about those things is very simply, but it's about something bigger ... she's saying something by not saying something.

    Photo by Logan Jackson

    Do you feel like, as a creative person, you have a responsibility to use your work to create change? 
    Yeah, more than ever, but I've been freaking out about what I'm doing and why I feel like I have to do it,  to be a writer versus so many other creative fields. Like, you can learn a craft to an extent. You can learn how to use a camera and then you must decide what the photograph is for it to be considered art, or beautiful, or whatever it is you're trying to do. But with writing, I can only learn grammar and punctuation as far as technicalities go, and then you just get into a room, and you don't know if you're ever going to write anything. And that's been really scaring the shit out of me. And then I'm like, "Why do I feel like I have to do this thing?" 

    I hope that someday I can write something that makes other people say, “Thank you, thank you for writing that.” Because that’s what I want when I read something.

    What’s something you’ve read lately that’s made you feel that way? 
    I just read all of the essays in Hilton Als’ White Girls

    Photo by Logan Jackson

    How can this generation create change? 
    By talking about things, speaking about what's right. You should speak about it, and listen to other people who think these things, and find platforms for them. I don't know, it's tough, I don't have a technological mind at all, but I feel like maybe technology has to do with something that should bring about this change in the new generation.

    What do you hope for yourself in 2017? 
    That it's less hard than 2016. 2016 was rough, and I feel like 2017 is going to be better already, which I didn't feel like when we were going into 2016. I hope that I can be more serious and get more done. I'm going to have a book come out soon, so that will be good. But then what happens after that? You keep doing it. Yeah, just keep writing.

    What do you hope for the world in 2017? 
    That we find some way to be okay in all of this, and support each other and not let stuff like the Dakota Pipeline happen more. Really just protest and talk and listen and get out there.

    Say something to your generation. 
    I really just want people to get off their phones and have conversations, like really listen to each other. I know being on your phone feels good. It’s going to take you so long to figure out who you are, and it's definitely not going to be through your Instagram.

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