Everything else

Editor’s Letter

July 2013: Imitation

This month's theme, in a nutshell (OR TWO!!!!!). (Shoutout to the Hayley Mills version too, duh.)

This month’s theme, in a nutshell (OR TWO!). (Shoutout to the Hayley Mills version too, duh.)

Hey Rookies!

This month’s theme is IMITATION. Vibes-wise, we just wanted a happy fun neon month, but these are some other thoughts from the email I sent our staff when we got started, with notes from Anaheed in bold:

How when you don’t know what you’re doing it’s actually good to imitate the work of those you admire (even though people are constantly telling you to “be original”—you usually can’t be original right away). Yeah, like how musicians will start writing by taking a riff they like and then changing it here and there. Or how in Just Kids so much of Patti Smith’s early life was modeling herself after Bob Dylan and others; that was something I really related to in that book, where her obsessions with these people went beyond fandom, it was more like they were each giving her the secret on how to live and how to become who she was. Eventually, of course, she became this person who is so awesome that she has no equal, but that first phase was essential. And I don’t think being able to trace someone’s influences makes them less authentic, because they still absorbed all that art in a way nobody else did. I am happiest as a set of eyes, and my goal whenever I go into a movie or album or book is to lose myself in the story and find myself on the way out.

There’s the less positive side to this, too—I recently went through a thing in my journals where I realized I was trying so hard to sound all fancy and descriptive and be Nabokov, basically. Now I see that that has already been done, that sometimes less is more, and that the best thing is to just describe things as I see them. I feel like I don’t care at all about sounding original, I just want to be sincere and be myself. (See also Jenny’s piece in April about angsty art.)

Doing something over and over and hoping for different results (isn’t there some definition of insanity that’s kind of like that?). On that note, just how powerful habits are—not even in something as extreme as addiction, but like every time you stop yourself from comparing yourself with other people, you become a little stronger and a little less likely to do that again in the future. Or looking at websites or people’s FBs that you know will piss you off just so you can b a h8r. I think we all give in to little actions like that because smaller, tired-er parts of us get some kind of satisfaction out of it, even though we know our ultimate desire is to not have that energy in our lives. We think it’s just something we do and that it doesn’t matter, but these habits cloud your brain and take you out of what’s important. There are just so many things in the world to be annoyed about or that make you feel bad that you can’t avoid, so why would you seek out more of them? Eat Pray Love-y.

We get so many Damn Girl Qs about developing a personal style—and Marie has answered this question, but maybe we should do something where all of our style writers weigh in. I love this. Petra and I were talking about how people have questions like this about your artist POV and we realized that neither of us sought out influences; it’s just this thing where you have an insatiable hunger for it, you seek it out whether you mean to or not. You just wanna learn learn learn.

“Authenticity,” camouflage, that stuff Baudrillard wrote about our world being a simulation of reality and all that. It would be cool for the month to feel this way aesthetically—static landscapes, muted neons, alternate universe.

Covers and remakes; the phenomenon of realizing you don’t want to date your romantic partner, you just want to BE THEM; imitating older siblings; the fear of becoming like your parents.

The way people imitate feeling high or drunk or sexy, and how teenagers fall into that because we’re just grasping for how to act in those new situations. It doesn’t do any good for anyone—it’s just a lot of people pretending to be having a good time and not getting what they really want. I guess that happens with all sorts of experiences; in some ways it’s good (I am able to enjoy certain aspects of high school because I’m like, it’s like Freaks and Geeks IRL!), and in some ways it’s sad because you’re always measuring your experiences against what you’re told your life should look like.

This month is not about imitation as GOOD OR BAD—it’s both, in different ways.

And finally, this Jim Jarmusch quotation:


We hope you like it!

And! I can finally show you the cover for our next book and tell you that it comes out October 1st! First it’s like this:


Then you take off the brown paper, and it’s this gorgeous photo by Olivia:


I’m SO excited and can’t wait for you all to see it. It has three more months of content than last year’s book did—a full year instead of a school year—and goodies you won’t be able to find here on the site. (Cootie catchers! Lena Dunham interviewing Mindy Kaling! And, of course, stickerssssss.)

Between that project moving along and this month’s creepy neon vibes, I’m just a happy camper right now. How are you? How are your summers going? Thank you for being here, as always.



  • ruby July 1st, 2013 3:04 PM


  • EmmaS July 1st, 2013 3:10 PM


  • WitchesRave July 1st, 2013 3:10 PM

    Can’t wait to get the yearbook, i have have first one and i dig it out whenever i need to solve any *ARRRMAGOD TEEN LYFE* problems (which is like everyday) :D


  • Guinevere July 1st, 2013 3:17 PM

    This sounds like an amazing issue!! I can’t wait for Rookie Yearbook Two, either!

  • emlyb July 1st, 2013 3:19 PM


  • bugaleeto July 1st, 2013 3:21 PM

    Oh god, this was so great. But it’s also really unsettling for me to feel like I need to be absorbing more stuff or I’ll never be good at whatever blah blah I hate living in the inside of my head sometimes

    this month is going to be great, though <3

    • hellorose July 1st, 2013 5:33 PM

      I can relate to that anxiety, and I think that you shouldn’t feel like you *need* to do these things – when something interests and excites you you will *want* to read (or hear or see) more about it. That’s the stuff that will go into making you more engaged and creative (whether that creativity is artistic or scientific) and ultimately what will inspire you to be good at whatever it is you want to do. And it is completely fine if you aren’t constantly interested and constantly absorbing new things. There is a lot to be said for revisiting things that comfort you – for example, each time you read a book you love you’ll see it in a new way. I think it’s easy to put a lot of pressure on yourself, particularly when you’re looking at a site with a lot of young contributors, but honestly you have all the time in the world to find things that interest you. Take your time!

    • o-girl July 1st, 2013 5:47 PM

      ahhh I can totally relate wow

    • taste test July 1st, 2013 11:42 PM

      just wanted to reply and say I totally feel that way too… I write a lot, and pretty much everything about Writing Well makes it sound like you need to be reading everything always to have any hope of ever being a Good Writer. but I read books slowly, a little at a time. I spend most of my free time, um, writing. and when I think of those lists I feel super guilty and afraid that because I’m not reading 10 books a week my writing is devolving even as I keep working on it. sigh.

  • thatchocoholic July 1st, 2013 3:22 PM

    This month really resonates with what I’ve been thinking (cough worrying) about recently.

    I <3 you Tavi btw can you just be my bff.

    Yusss Rookie Yearbook 2!! I got Yearbook 1 recently for my birthday and I haven't had the time to devour it yet (haayyy what is summer for??) so that is so totally exciting and basically Rookie is unfathomably amazing.

    Our new topic in English is magazines and my English teacher was asking the class who reads teenage magazines and I put my hand up and then she started asking specifically what kind, (celebrity magazines, fashion magazines…) and I was sitting there looking at my peers in disgust and then I put my hand up and said: "I read an online feminist magazine" and felt proud.

    That is all.


  • Marian July 1st, 2013 3:23 PM

    So excited for this month and the yearbook!

  • Mary the freak July 1st, 2013 3:31 PM

    i am really exited about this month!
    i have never thought about “imitation” that way.


  • Ana July 1st, 2013 3:39 PM

    Love Rookie so much. It always cheers me up :) So excited for yearbook 2, it seems fantastic. And this month’s theme…can’t wait!!!

  • KatGirl July 1st, 2013 3:50 PM


  • Chloe22 July 1st, 2013 4:02 PM

    Please include the boyband article!!! The one about it being okay to like them and stuff? I ADORE that article.

  • July 1st, 2013 4:04 PM

    I wish you could pre-order the book. I’m so excited!!

    • GabbyCat July 1st, 2013 8:22 PM

      I’m pretty sure you can pre-order it on Amazon.

  • Ella W July 1st, 2013 4:05 PM

    This month sounds awesome! I love how Tavi describes the themes so perfectly!


  • abby111039 July 1st, 2013 4:54 PM

    Being a twin myself, I think that brings forth aspects of Imitation that I hope will be touched on this month. I’m also super excited for the next yearbook! I discovered Rookie by randomly coming across the first book in a little bookshop in Northern Wisconsin while on vacation last fall. I still regret not buying it then, but at least I was able to find out about the website. So I guess need to save up for both of them.

  • o-girl July 1st, 2013 5:42 PM

    First off, totally excited for this month! It definitely captures what I’ve been thinking a ton about recently, I’m very happy to see what others think and contrast their ideas with my own. Imitation has never been a very real thing for me, as I have an need goal to never try to be like anyone else (this has definitely changed over time, even to the extent where I imitate people close to me in my life who admire me). Imitating artists and people I admire is something I do already, but I haven’t done it in a way that completely reflects their influence. Summer has started off in an odd way, but has eventually gotten better (as I lower my expectations). I thought it was going to be stress-free immediately, but since last year was the first year I experienced *real* stress, I didn’t know that that stress doesn’t “disappear”. Next month’s theme is also very captivating, I’m already thinking about and looking forward to it! xxx

  • Tabea July 1st, 2013 5:52 PM

    I guess this month will be amazing. Can’t wait 4 the yearbook! <3

  • Eryn July 1st, 2013 5:55 PM

    This sounds like it’ll be an awesome month, really interesting theme! I love that Jim Jarmusch quote, and ahhh Rookie yearbook 2, can’t wait!!!


  • Lorf96 July 1st, 2013 6:02 PM

    OMG!!! Soooooooo excited for Year Book 2!!! I was wondering whether there would be another:DXx

  • irismonster July 1st, 2013 6:02 PM

    {hopes and prays my friends will get me one of the rookie yearbooks for my birthday}

  • sedgwick July 1st, 2013 6:25 PM

    DUDES i hope you talk about the new authenticity and new sincerity and all that jazz!!!!!!!!!

    • sedgwick July 1st, 2013 6:28 PM

      i know i have STRUGGLES trying to not imitate tao lin

  • Awesome July 1st, 2013 6:38 PM


  • MeBeKi July 1st, 2013 6:46 PM

    I’m so excited for this month! I’ve never thought of imitation taking on so many different forms. I’m sure that all of the prices will be really amazing <3


  • unicornconnect July 1st, 2013 6:47 PM


  • AnaRuiz July 1st, 2013 6:50 PM

    I’m going to start counting time according to Rookie Yearbooks. SO EXCITED.


  • Mayabett July 1st, 2013 7:30 PM

    Always excited for the new Rookie themes.

    As a side note though, I really hope you guys bring back the sex/love section. It’s so so amazing and I really miss seeing articles in that category!

    • abby111039 July 2nd, 2013 4:35 PM

      I agree with you wholeheartedly on that side note.

  • Sophie ❤ July 1st, 2013 8:11 PM

    I absolutely have to say that I SIMPLY CAN’T WAIT FOR THE NEXT YEARBOOK!
    Glad to hear you again, Tavi!


  • HollinsCollins July 1st, 2013 8:12 PM

    So excited for the 2nd yearbook!! Also, are you gals doing a signing on NYC again? If so, when?

  • Mimi7 July 1st, 2013 8:30 PM

    I saw the picture of the Parent Trap and had a total flash back of 5th grade. The Parent Trap was my life!! So happy about the yearbook, it might make the beginning of school bearable.


  • Logan July 1st, 2013 9:55 PM

    SO excited for Yearbook 2!! If you guys go on a road trip to promote the book again, pleeeeeeease stop in Delaware! We’re nice and friendly here and I love you guys.

  • snow white July 2nd, 2013 1:14 AM

    There is a big difference from being inspired and then straight up copying.

    If lets say you see a rad outfit on a blog and you like it a lot! What should you do? I really think you should get inspired by the texture, the colors, the cut, the fabric and the style. You shouldn’t go run to find the same exact shirt, bottom, shoes and jewelry. That is unoriginal and uninspiring. It’s not really you. I think if you are inspired by something and really like it you should pick pieces from it but not steal from it. It hurts when you work really hard to come up with something original and then someone else steals that idea. Read books, watch old movies, go to museums, inspiration is everywhere. Trust me! You will come up with ideas in your head and it will be all YOU and YOUR ideas. That is the best part of being inspired and coming up with ideas.

    Can’t wait for the yearbook though! So exciting :)

    xoxo prince repeller

  • FrostedBlogger July 2nd, 2013 5:23 AM

    I am sooo getting the book! although I owe my dad money for the last one…

  • Joyce July 2nd, 2013 5:40 AM

    I can’t seem to get that Jim Jarmusch quotation out of my mind.

  • July 2nd, 2013 11:52 AM

    I love this! I mean, the month theme and the new Rookie Yearbook!

  • shrlby July 2nd, 2013 3:34 PM

    lena dunham ehhhhhhhh

  • Ben July 2nd, 2013 9:00 PM

    whenever i used to get an idea i would google it to see if it had already been done, and most things have been so then i wouldn’t try to do it or design or plan it! i told one of my friends about this and he said like “don’t search it out and then not do it, just do it your own way and it’s going to be different!” and i think that was really goo advice that relates to this theme!

  • Bumblecake July 3rd, 2013 1:34 PM

    So excited for the new book, this introduction for imitation was really great! I think it’s really important to copy, you need to copy to learn anything. Then you develop it! So excited for the yearbook!!!!!


  • Monq July 3rd, 2013 6:13 PM

    Never really thought of Imitation that away before. Rookie has always given me a new perspective on things. Also, I can’t wait until the new Rookie Yearbook comes out!


  • djstache July 6th, 2013 4:01 PM

    God I wish I could have read a zine like Rookie when I was younger…
    You go girls! Keep bringing awesomeness to this world!

  • Indigo Officer July 7th, 2013 6:32 AM

    Can’t wait for the yearbook! If last years was anything to go by, this is going to be rad


  • jbp23 July 28th, 2013 1:11 AM

    This made my day, thank you

  • Frannie Lou August 6th, 2013 3:18 PM

    whAT seeing the cover for the next rookie yearbook was so weird because my sister’s ex-girlfriend Iris is the one pictured there in the tie-dye shirt! which makes sense because my sis also knows staffer Olivia but it was odd scrolling down and seeing Iris’s face there haha. yay for the upcoming edition of the 2nd year Rookie Yearbook!