Resolution Guide: Manifesto -- Local Creatives and Their Words of Wisdom

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It all began with a scene in Y Tu Mamá También.

In the 2001 Mexican drama directed by Alfonso Cuarón, two boys embark on an adventure to find a legendary beach and persuade one of the boy's cousins-in-law to join. As tensions rise on the journey, all three realize the trip is likely doomed. The boys get in a fight, and in an effort to restore order, the cousin-in-law delivers her own manifesto — 10 ground rules and life lessons she and the boys will abide by for the rest of the trip.

Jill Anderson says the scene, and especially the manifesto, made an impression. "I typed and printed [the manifesto] out and have it on my bulletin board above my desk," she says. "I guess you could say it stuck with me because when I was in a writing class with nothing to say, I decided to write my own manifesto. I had nothing and everything to say." 


New Times Resolution Guide

Read the manifestos of some New Times staff and contributors.

Anderson's an interior designer with Wiseman and Gale Interiors in Scottsdale whose aesthetics are as straightforward, honest, and elegant as the items on her list: "Sheets are important," "Faux never really works," "It is, and always will be, Tom Ford's Black Orchid." She describes the manifesto she wrote in the fall of 2011 as a snapshot of her life at that moment in time. For Anderson, it was "more about self-discovery and confidence than self-indulgence." And after writing the 10 items, she went home and posted them on Facebook, where she inspired several others to do the same — including us.

Writing a manifesto isn't a new practice. The earliest traditional manifestos were public declarations of beliefs and intentions of the author, group, or government party and were recorded as early as the 1600s. Since then, they've been written by politicians, artists, and philosophers, including Karl Marx, Benedetto Croce, the founders of the Dada movement, and recently, Ron Paul. A true manifesto is deeply personal, and after reading Anderson's life rules and lessons, we put out the call to some of our favorite Phoenix-based creatives, authors, poets, politicians, and community members.

We then paired each manifesto with a Phoenix-based designer, who interpreted one item from the list in poster form — an idea inspired by a project graphic designer Lindsay Tingstrom began in late 2011. 

Tingstrom says 2011 was an especially turbulent year. The members of her design and letterpress firm called SeeSaw, which included herself and designers Raquel Raney and Angela Hardison, decided to part ways to pursue different projects. Tingstrom was left navigating her own personal style and projects.

She began Acorn & Whale, a letterpress project that included a few of her own New Year's resolutions. "Live Every Day," "Be Curious," "Keep It Simple," and "Do the Work" were a few of her first statements that she printed by hand on an antique Brandtjen & Kluge press onto 8-inch-by-10-inch cotton paper. She says the series, titled "Thoughts for 2012," was very personal: "I was coming out of SeeSaw and trying to figure out what came next."

What came next was a teaching gig at ASU, a branding job for local concrete artisan Brandon Gore (of Hard Goods), and a number of design projects for clients. And though Tingstrom says she has no plans of writing her own manifesto — or if she does, she'll likely keep it private — she's constantly inspired by sentences and phrases that likely exist on manifestos around the world. She has a board of quotes and statements on Pinterest that you can follow if you find her. 

The result of our manifesto series is in the following pages. Some lists are more serious than others and some designs are more abstract. Whatever the form, we hope you're inspired to write your own. Welcome to "Manifestos." — Claire Lawton

[Manifesto No. 1]


1. Never tell a kid, of any age, that he or she sucks. In fact, just never say it to anyone.

2. Use your turn signal. Every time.

3. If you wouldn't say it in public, don't post it online.

4. Words matter. Know how to use them, use them well, and use them to help, not harm.

5. Always go through a rescue organization to get a pet.

6. Never, ever let someone tell you that you can't do something. Pursue your dreams and goals relentlessly. Even if they don't all come true, chances are good an opportunity will arise that you never even considered.

7. Open the door for her.

8. Remember that I am one of the 99 percent nationally, but one of the 1 percent globally.

9. Share.

About the writer: Tom Leveen is the author of PARTY. His latest novel, ZERO, is set in Phoenix in the early '90s. It was released in 2012.

About the designer: Jon Ashcroft is a creative director/illustrator who moved to Seattle in 2012 to launch Baji Creative. His work has been featured in local and national publications, including Fender, The Atlantic, American Illustration 30 (and in Jackalope Ranch's Imagine PHX series). He's also a contributor to local design blog The Egotist.

[Manifesto No. 2]


1. I like shiny things. Get over it.

2. Sheets are important.

3. It is, and always will be, Tom Ford's Black Orchid.

4. Faux never really works.

5. Popcorn is underrated.

6. Complete honesty in a relationship is overrated.

7. I will judge you by your playlist.

8. Beaches trump mountains.

9. Travel is my first love.

10. Less really is more.

About the writer: Jill Anderson is an interior designer at Wiseman & Gale Interiors who has a serious eye for all things fabulous.

About the designer: John Walters is a local designer whose work has been featured in New Times, DRAFT Magazine, and McMurry publications.

[Manifesto No. 3]


1. Clichés are almost always excellent advice, once you figure out what they actually mean.

2. Art is not a luxury.

3. Everything in moderation, including moderation.

4. Black is the new black. Those who say otherwise are trying to sell you something.

5. Everybody has a story, but not everyone should be a writer.

6. If you're bored, pay attention.

7. Don't buy cheap shoes.

8. Anyone who maintains there's no such thing as the truth probably has something to hide.

9. Respect is essential to true love.

10. In the words of the Staple Singers: If you don't respect yourself, ain't nobody gonna give a good cahoot.

About the writer: Deborah Sussman is a public relations specialist at ASU Art Museum, a former writer for Phoenix Jewish News, and a contributor to New Times. She also leads the Downtown Phoenix Book Group at MADE.

About the designer: Anton Anger is an illustrator, a hand-drawn-type fiend, and a senior in the industrial design program at ASU. You may have seen a few of his custom Tempe neighborhood T-shirts around campus.

[Manifesto No. 4]


1. "Life flows on within you and without you." (George Harrison)

2. In the face of injustice, "Silence is complicity." (unknown author)

3. Liberalism is the ideology of hope.

4. The world has known few great leaders and will never know a great many more.

5. If I'm truly satisfied, I should have no regrets.

6. When I write, I do everything I can to stay out of my way.

7. Laughter is the best drug, but some drugs really make you laugh.

8. It's all in the trying.

9. Be useful. Be alive.

10. A child's unconditional love is the purest form of spiritulism. Loving them back is a holy act.

About the writer: James E. Garcia is a playwright, journalist, university lecturer, and owner of Creative Vistas Media, a Valley-based media consulting firm. He also serves as the director of communications at the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and as a staff associate at Urias Communications.

About the designer: Casebeer is a designer and visual artist who was born in Madrid, raised in Flagstaff, and flew around a lot in single-engine aircraft.

[Manifesto No. 5]


1. Nobody wants your stupid advice. Even if you are right (which you probably are), keep it to yourself and get back to work.

2. If you leave your used Band-Aid near the edge of the tub, you are dead to me.

3. Jalapeños make everything 60 percent better.

4. Forgive yourself and get back to work. Wallowing in shame is never as productive as it sounds.

5. Buy and sample all the homemade street-vendor food you encounter. If someone went to the trouble to cook something and carry it around in a five-gallon bucket, it's probably pretty good. (Only don't bother with those cookies that lady carries door to door in my neighborhood; they never get any better no matter how many times you buy them. Also, she's mean.)

6. Perfection is impossible. Aiming for it is a fool's errand. Just do your best and get back to work.

7. I don't care what a so-called optimist will tell you, dwelling on death does make you value life more.

8. Get a needy pet or a difficult room-mate, because if you don't learn how to compromise and overlook others' shortcomings you will never learn how to overlook your own.

9. Frito Chili Pie. You are welcome.

10. Extract the lesson from the catastrophe, say "thank you, catastrophe, you've saved me years of trial and error," and then get back to work.

About the writer: Kim Porter is a playwright and actor who has produced award-winning plays that have showcased nationwide. Porter was born in Texas and lived in San Francisco before moving to Phoenix six years ago. Phoenix stages haven't been the same since. When Porter's in town, she's busy teaching. Her workshop, Writing for the Stage, is for playwrights and solo performers at all levels and is held at Space 55.

About the designer: Peter Storch is art director at New Times. He graduated from the University of Arizona with a BFA in both design and illustration and was a graphic designer in New York City before returning to Arizona.

[Manifesto No. 6]


#6. Develop an indeterminate method to use when disrupting order and hierarchies. #9. Perform when no one is looking and live as if caught in Wonder Woman's lasso of truth. #4. Be skeptical of gravity. Believe in it only to the extent that you have time to think about space. #1. Resist and discourage uses of the words utilize for use; performative for performance; gesture for action. #5. When you have a choice, go left. #2. Live for one year in any place where six consecutive months are day and the other half-a-dozen are night. #8. On ne fait pas d'omelette sans casser des œufs. #10. Reading between the lines happens with or without permission or intention #3. Stupidity is underrated. #7. Cynicism just might be the opposite of love.

About the writer: Jo Novelli is a performance scholar, an interdisciplinary artist, and a freelance writer.

About the designer: Safwat Saleem is a graphic designer, filmmaker, and artist whose work has been featured in national publications and local galleries including Bragg's Pie Factory, monOrchid, and Regular Gallery.

[Manifesto No. 7]


11. There are things in this world that are absolutely true and right and other things that are absolutely evil and wrong. Search and fight for true and right things.

10. Men need to be everyday fathers to their children as well as fathers to those who have none.

9. Facebook and Twitter are wimpy ways to communicate frustration and anger. Talk to people face to face.

8. Don't ask that girl out or break up with her through a text message.

7. Injustice and suffering in this world won't be overcome by sitting on nice couches, talking and drinking coffee. Act on the needs directly around you.

6. Don't settle for dysfunction and disappointment in your life. Believe that God has made you to enjoy things that will last forever — things like joy, hope, beauty, and love.

5. Work hard and do hard things. Don't be lazy and don't complain about having to get your hands dirty.

4. Be willing to endure suffering so that you can alleviate the suffering of others.

3. Obsessively pursuing fame and money is an easy path to emptiness and discontentment.

2. Ethnically, economically, politically, and culturally diverse people eating, laughing, singing, learning, and serving together make for the best type of community.

1. Jesus really did rise from the dead. That means even the ugliest and most broken parts of your life can be remade into something beautiful and new.

About the writer: Vermon Pierre is lead pastor of Roosevelt Community Church. He also participates in the community by serving on the board of Roosevelt Row.

About the designer: Nicole Stumphauzer is a graphic design student at Arizona State University and an intern at paul howell : design, llc.

[Manifesto No. 8]


1. Everything really does go better with bacon, but pancetta is an awfully good substitute.

2. You can't lead if no one is following.

3. A life that is not a romance isn't worth living.

4. Washington, D.C., never looks better than it does receding into a rear-view mirror.

5. "Did you exchange a walk-on role in a war for a lead role in a cage?" (with thanks to Pink Floyd).

6. The biggest impact you can have in the world is mentoring others.

7. The only real James Bond is Sean Connery, and the only real pizza comes from New Jersey and its suburbs.

8. No matter how hard one tries, markets cannot be thwarted.

9. Never leave a positive sentiment unspoken.

10. Who is John Galt?

About the writer: Clint Bolick serves as director of the Goldwater Institute's Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation in Phoenix. A legal pioneer, Bolick has argued and won cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, the Arizona Supreme Court, and state and federal courts from coast to coast. He has won landmark precedents defending school choice, freedom of enterprise, private property rights, and challenging corporate subsidies and racial classifications. Before joining the Goldwater Institute in 2007, Bolick was co-founder of the Institute for Justice and later served as president of the Alliance for School Choice.

About the designer: Nina Miller is a designer and an improvisor and instructor at The Torch Theatre in Phoenix. She worked as a designer for the Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU for the last year or so and recently started a new position with The Center for Science and the Imagination at ASU.

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