Royal Young’s Nugget: “Get rich or die trying”

BLOG,Nuggets March 1, 2012 18:44
Royal Young. What a cool name. By extension what cool (and ambitious) parents to give him that name. No wonder this creative Lower East Sider, writer at Interview Magazine and The Lo Down, picked up a thing or two from mom and dad: the Oedipus Complex, Daniel Burnham, changing the plot of a story with tears, and the list goes on and on. Royal Young doesn’t make little plans. His advice to us: if we want to stir man’s blood, we shouldn’t either.

Royal Young by Amanda Segur


1. Who is your hero and why?
I love hustlers, like 50 Cent and my Jewish grandmother. People who have taught me to get the job done and not just chase your dreams, but realize them no matter the opposition. I’m drawn to people on quests, whether those journeys are for spiritual peace or artistic ambition. I love 50 Cent’s motto “Get rich or die trying,” the black and white attitude that says, “success is my only option.”


2. What was your dream job when you were a child?
I was always drawn to words. Before I could write, I would dictate stories about suicidal whales to my parents, who dilligently wrote them down. Mom says that when she would tell me bedtime tales, if I had an objection to the way the plot was unraveling, I would cry until she changed the fate of the characters. Writing and story telling has always been a part of the way I make sense of the world, especially growing up in the Lower East Side of the early ’90s, when it was rough around the edges, and the streets often seemed dangerous in ways I didn’t fully understand.


3. Is there any motto you follow? What’s something that you think always holds true?
“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood.”


4.What’s something your parents told you that turned out to be right?
My dad is an artist/social worker and Mom is a neuropsychologist, so often they were imparting psychological truths to me. As a young kid, having your father bluntly explain the Oedipal Complex, that I wanted to sleep with Mom and was afraid he’d cut off my penis in retaliation was scary. I still don’t completely buy that one. But, what they taught me about listening to people’s problems and finding psychic sources of pain is something that has stuck with me my whole life.


5. Give some advice to someone 10 years younger.
Never stop working to achieve what you want. As Patti Smith told me, “If you live long enough, your dreams will come true.” But also, don’t be afraid to fuck up and run wild. Throw yourself into life and try to fight for the side of good.
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