Creative Quarantine: Comedic Writer Nicole Tersigni

Men to Avoid in Art and Life, Front-Cover | ©Nicole Tersigni, Chronicle Books

Esthetic Lens is thrilled that Nicole Tersigni took some time to share with us some hilarious excerpts from her book, Men to Avoid in Art and Life. Since reading the New York Times article about her this past summer, we’ve been hoping she would be a part of Creative Quarantine. Nicole talks with us honestly about her pandemic experiences; from interesting things in her professional life to maintaining balance in a full house…to cry-singing.

1. How are you holding up?

I’m holding up okay. There are a lot of good and interesting things happening in my professional life right now, which is exciting. On the other hand, there are a lot of scary and frustrating things happening in the world that keep me up at night. Balancing the highs and lows has been tricky for my mental health, but I’m doing my best. I started today by blasting Hold On by Wilson Phillips and cry-singing along, just to give you some insight into what my best looks like. 


Men to Avoid in Art and Life, Page 18 | ©Nicole Tersigni, Chronicle Books


2. Has Covid-19 had an effect on your work? If so, in what way?

It’s very, very difficult to find the time and energy to create right now. It’s not just the mental toll a global pandemic takes, though that’s considerable. It’s also trying to juggle helping my 9-year-old with virtual school, the chores of maintaining a house with all of us home full time, and taking time by myself to focus. It’s also feeling like, even though we’re all together all the time, it’s not necessarily quality time. So the weekends become family time and I feel guilty shutting myself in my office to write. Balancing everything has just gotten so much harder. 


Men to Avoid in Art and Life, Page 19 | ©Nicole Tersigni, Chronicle Books


3. Is there anything you’ve added to your practice that you’d like to keep after this is over?

Since this all began, I’ve created a public Instagram account and started sharing jokes with semi-regularity there. I’d love to maintain that, because it’s a good creative exercise for me and it gives me a fun way to connect with people. As far as good, healthy writing habits though, no, I don’t have any of those.


Men to Avoid in Art and Life, Page 20 | ©Nicole Tersigni, Chronicle Books


4. Of the artists you follow, who is handling this particularly well?

I think we’re all just trying to do our best to put some beauty or humor into the world. I’d say anyone who is getting up in the morning and doing whatever it is they need to do to survive is handling it well. For some of us that means working and creating and doing all the things! And for the rest of us it means wearing our comfiest pajamas and crying into our coffee while struggling to create one single thing as our kid has a meltdown in the background. 


Men to Avoid in Art and Life, Page 54 | ©Nicole Tersigni, Chronicle Books

5. Are there any artists, writers, filmmakers, albums, or genres of work you’ve been drawn to during the crisis? If so, why?  

I’ve really been enjoying the work of Josie Doodles (on Instagram) who creates these adorable little cartoons that are so relatable and heartwarming. And Sarey Ruden (creator of Sareytales) who takes gross comments men make on dating sites and turns them into beautiful and fun art has brought me a lot of joy during all of this. There are so many brilliant and creative artists I’m discovering through social media.


Men to Avoid in Art and Life, Page 55 | ©Nicole Tersigni, Chronicle Books

I’ve definitely been drawn to laughter more than ever, in what I read and the movies and television I watch. It’s all comedy all the time over here. Which is actually the case all the time, even before the pandemic. I just don’t have the heart or stomach for anything really intense and dark. The great thing about comedy is that you can get darkness, but it’s always balanced with laughter. And personally, I need that now more than ever.


Men to Avoid in Art and Life, Page 78 | ©Nicole Tersigni, Chronicle Books

Men to Avoid in Art and Life, Page 79 | ©Nicole Tersigni, Chronicle Books

Nicole Tersigni is a comedic writer who lives in Metro Detroit with her husband, daughter, and two dogs. Since childhood, Nicole has felt an intense need to diffuse uncomfortable moments with laughter, so writing a book that finds humor in dealing with tiresome, entitled men was inevitable. Drawing on her experience in improv comedy and women’s advocacy, Nicole is excited to combine these worlds and bring some much-needed levity to the fight against the patriarchy. When she’s not writing feminist humor books, she’s working on screenplays, or (more likely) cracking jokes on Twitter. Find her on Twitter @nicsigni and Instagram @nicsigni_writes.


Nicole Tersigni, Self-Portrait | ©Nicole Tersigni

Nicole Tersigni can also be found online at her Website and in the wonderful article about her in the New York Times.