Latest posts by Becki Zisk (see all)

Adam Gnade is a published author and musician, residing in an unheated farmhouse in Kansas. Why do we love Adam Gnade so much? He has the type of mind that most of us have. A mind that is hard to shut off and control. His zines, novellas, books, and self-described “talking songs,” are completely relatable in that we all have days where we want to scream and give up. His self-help book he published in 2013 titled The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin’ Sadin which he talked about how he has worked to combat depression has become a bible for many of us. That’s because it’s not a typical self-help book. It’s a book of a man telling his story and you read it and say “oh, I totally get that,” and you really do get that. That’s because most of us are fucked up and trying to fight the big motherfuckin’ sad. We were fortunate enough to score an interview with the man who has helped guide us to the light and get us out of that horrible funk that plagues our lives.

adam gnade author writer pioneers press portland oregon the modern hippie


Today I have the fucking pleasure of interviewing Adam Gnade, writer, author, musician and all around bad ass (at least to me). I want to take a second and fan girl out for a minute and say that your writing truly inspires me to take the road less desirable. The reason I say this is because I have been met with many challenges in my life and your words inspire to keep trudging. To many, my road may not be the easiest one but to me it will be the most rewarding. The road I’m on has no clear direction right now but I know, one day, it will. So thank you. 

So lets begin.

The Modern Hippie: We are a small starter magazine with a dream and a vision but times get rough, what advice would you have for us regarding those hard times? 

Adam Gnade: I’m just as clueless as anyone when it comes to money but let’s say if you’re going to survive by making a living off your art you have to be relentless. Be relentless. But fair. I don’t have a lot of natural talent and I’m not the brightest guy in the room but I am determined. I believe in determination like some people believe in god, professional football, or guns.

The Modern Hippie: Times are not as simple as they used to be. Garage bands are a thing of the 90’s. You can’t just start something and immediately find people who are interested in it. Knowing all of this what would you say to someone trying to live out their dreams?

Adam Gnade: If you want to do anything good you have to work. Work around the clock and make smart choices. You’ll want to give up every day (I know I do) but if you’re going to do this you can’t slow down or slack off. Lazy people are allowed at my parties but they can’t stay the night.

adam gnade the modern hippie writer author pioneers press portland oregon

The Modern Hippie: You have quite an eclectic and large portfolio. Out of all of your accomplishments and projects which are you the most proud of? Also, are you proud of yourself?

Adam Gnade: My last novel Caveworld. It’s not perfect—it’s actually a grand fucking mess—but I think it’s the best thing I’ve done. I don’t know if I’m proud of it, per se, or even proud of myself. Maybe some days I am. Some days I just feel like dirt.

The Modern Hippie: I find it hard sometimes to stay motivated or on track. Sometimes I believe my dreams are shit and that they will never come true. You talk a lot about working hard and pushing through the crap. How do you push through the crap and what would you tell to someone who feels that way?

Adam Gnade: What works for me when I’m feeling unmotivated (which is quite often) is I try to remember everything mean anyone has ever said about me and then I work toward proving them wrong.

The Modern Hippie: You have said on a few of your social media pages that you are going to move away from works like the “Big Motherfuckin Sad” and focus more on literary pieces. Can you tell us a little about what’s going to happen in your writing? Can you also tell us, personally, where you think you are headed? 

Adam Gnade: Fiction has been my main thing since day one. The whole Big Sad series is kind of a fluke; I needed to write it in order to get past some heavy, lingering awfulness I was dealing with. I’ll write more things like that but it won’t be for a while. As far as that stuff goes I’ve said all I can say—at least for the time being. I need to do a little living before I can write more of that. I need to make more mistakes and have my face kicked in a few times and fall into that particular pit where you feel like the world is over and you step back from your life and see the flaws and try to rebuild. Once that happens then I can climb back out and maybe something will come of it. For now I’ve got a novella and a novel finished that’ll be out sometime next year.

Click page 2 to keep reading!