If anyone’s able to communicate the struggle of adulting, it’s 26-year-old illustrator and writer, Samantha Jayne. The LA local just released a book this month that’s filled with witty limericks and illustrations, and is dedicated entirely to the reality of your quarter life crisis. Fittingly, it’s also called, Quarter Life Poetry: Poems for the Young, Broke & Hangry, and every page is painfully accurate.
While becoming a bit of an Instagram star under her online persona @QuarterLifePoetry (the account has more than 96,000 followers), Jayne began turning her musings about work, money, sex, weddings, and unemployment into a series of videos that have been viewed more than eight million times, and now a book. “Back when I lived in San Francisco and worked at an ad agency there, I was legit in the middle of a quarter life crisis,” Jayne told us. “During one of my routine existential crises… I had an idea to write a book for 25-year-olds in the style of a children’s book–something that rhymed and had illustrations–about a girl going through a quarter life crisis.” She then got busy over the next nine months; creating the book, moving to LA, launching social media accounts, and hunting down a literary agent. She was soon picked up by Buzzfeed, and things took off.
Janye says the reason her limericks are such a hit comes down to the simple fact that they’re all based on a truthful statement about something “pathetic”—like getting excited over a serving of fries (side note: we think actually think fries are a perfectly valid cause for celebration): “I always begin by writing down a little truthful statement; and it’s not ever funny—it’s just sort of sad. For instance, I’ll think that the last time I truly got excited about something is when truffle fries were delivered to my table. That’s just pathetic. But then I’d play with how to make it rhyme, and it’s that sing-songy quatrain format that brings it to a funny place. Then I’d draw a simple illustration, and end up with something like this.”
You can snag the book online right now for less than $13, and Jayne recommends buying a copy for “graduation, jaded friends, lonely nights, apartment warmings, awkward moments, or your unwed daughter,” which is basically all of us. While you’re waiting for your copy to arrive, keep scrolling to see what the author has to say about her book, her quarter life crisis, and her plans for the future.
Which limericks in the book apply to your own life best and why?
“This one. I had a very clear five year plan when I graduated college. I felt very comforted in it. But life happened, my perspective changed, and I wound up flying cross-country
and doing something else completely. I’ve learned it’s important to leave my life open-ended and not have all the answers. As I get older, I realize the things that are important to me now aren’t necessarily what was important to me five years ago. I used to go out to clubs and bars all the time until the early morning. Now all I want to do is stay in, drink some good wine, eat great food, and go to bed at a reasonable hour. I’ve grown into being true to myself and listening to my wants and needs a little more.”
What’s your favorite, eye-rollingly millennial guilty pleasure?
“Ooh, I’m a sucker for ‘Real Housewives.’ It’s a delicious trainwreck. Ramona Singer looking stunned at everything plus salted caramel ice cream in my face is pretty
much the best weeknight ever. I don’t think that’s very ‘millennial,’ but maybe the millennial-ness lies in the fact that I watch it on my laptop since I don’t have cable.”
Which TV characters represent the girl in Quarter Life Poetry?
“I think the girls of Broad City do an amazing job struggling to adult. Their humor is so physical and larger than life, which is so fun to watch. They take those
everyday frustrations and put them on this crazy hyperbolic plane where it makes us realize how insanely ridiculous our ‘struggles” really are.”
What were you doing before you started all of this?
“I was working at an ad agency in New York, and then another in San Francisco. I was feeling very confused and stuck at the time. Writing my original quarter life crisis book and then creating Quarter Life Poetry has been extremely cathartic for me. As I was working on it, I made the move to LA to face my biggest fear and pursue acting fulltime and freelance on the side. It was a huge change, and I really feel that writing these little jokes has helped me overcome my fears and pursue what I’ve always been afraid to.”
What will you be working on next?
“I’m working with Arturo Perez, who directed the [Quarter Life Crisis] promo videos, to develop a series in that same vein. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, and
we’re having a ball with it. So stay tuned!”
Where did you learn to draw and write?
“I’ve taken art lessons since I was a little girl. I’ve trained in charcoals, oils, and other mediums for many years. It was a very conscious effort to pull myself back and make these illustrations very simplistic and childlike, almost like anyone could draw them. I think it creates the familiar feeling that a reader could very well have doodled them in their own journal. As for writing, I’ve always loved to write poems and short fiction. English was my favorite subject aside from art. I’d skip on math classes to go hang out in my high school’s theater when we were prepping for a play, but I’d never miss English.”