There’s no denying that ‘90s fashion is making a HUGE comeback this year — retro chokers and tiny sunglasses are pretty much this season’s must-have accessories. Since we’re already feeling ‘90s vibes this summer, we were super excited when we stumbled across Siobhán Gallagher’s throwback choose-your-own-adventure book for millennials called In a Daze Work: A Pick-Your-Path Journey Through the Daily Grind ($16).
Taking modern women through a single day’s journey in the big city, Siobhán’s hilarious new book leads the reader through a series of realistic and hilarious choices that millennial women face every day (think deciding whether or not to lug free sidewalk furniture up to your apartment or choosing between binge-watching Friends or going out with real friends). We recently got the chance to chat with Siobhán about creativity, ’90s nostalgia, and more. Read on for the full interview!
B+C: I just finished reading your new book In a Daze Work and I seriously couldn’t put it down. Not only was I instantly reminded of binge-reading all those choose-your-own-adventure mysteries as a kid, but the book is hilarious and creepily relatable for *any* 20-something lady just trying to survive the daily grind. Congrats! What inspired you to pursue a choose-your-own-adventure book as opposed to a more traditional style of writing?
SG: Thank you! What inspired me was just wanting to put something together that is relatable but still personal. There are so many seemingly insignificant routines we have and decisions we make in a day, so I wanted to shine a light in a funny, playful way on those monotonous moments, since we all go through them. I wanted to make it personal for the reader too, so having “you” as the main character was a fun way of engaging the audience while still telling “my” story. I wanted to remind myself and others that we all go through these similar experiences and we’re all in this together.
Putting together the choose-your-own-adventure aspect of it was a fun nostalgic throwback and a new creative challenge for me too, weaving webs together and linking scenarios back and forth.
B+C: Whether it’s going to trendy dinner spots just for the ‘gram or finding that pair of sneakers you splurged on when you convinced yourself to train for a 5K, a lot of the happenings in your book seem oddly personal. How much of your own life inspired the book?
SG: Pretty much 99 percent of this is based on experiences I’ve had. For about a year, I kept track of everything I’d do in an average day and collect all the little experiences I could think of and figured out what I found funniest about those moments. I figured, if I experienced something, it’s likely others have too!
B+C: A lot of the experiences in your book could fall under the blanket term “adulting.” We have to ask… what are your feelings about this whole “adulting” thing?
SG: So much of my youth was spent dreaming of being an adult in a big city, picking up dry-cleaning, commuting to the office, stopping by bookstores. I wanted to grow up and be on my own SO BADLY, and you know what? It totally exceeds my expectations. Running errands and figuring out healthcare and paying bills are obviously a bummer, but for the most part, I think I’ve got the whole “adulting” thing down!
B+C: Are there any trends (other than choose-your-own-adventure books) from the ‘80s and ‘90s that you wish would come back?
SG: I had these shirts as a kid that had faint pastel graphic images on them and when you’d walk into the sunshine, the ink turned neon colors. I had one that was a smiling yellow VW buggy with flowers around it and wish I still had it! Can someone bring that back?
B+C: As a designer, what is your go-to fix when you’re in a creative rut?
SG: My go-to solution when in a creative rut is probably dumping as much as I can onto the page and then paring back. If I don’t have an idea or a concept for a project, I like to do as much as I can then work with what I’ve got. This sounds kind of vague, but usually, that involves drawing a lot of small figures, icons, words, and symbols, and playing around with how those illustrations can form a shape and idea.
B+C: If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring female designers, what would it be?
SG: Talk to each other and share your stories. You are not in competition with one another, so help each other and support one another. It’s a lot more fun to have a group of creative girlfriends to rely on and give/receive feedback rather than hiding your process and work from others.
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(Photos via Bekka Palmer and TarcherPerigee)