We had the good fortune of connecting with Celeste Amidon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Celeste, let’s start by talking about what inspires you?
During the pandemic, I started frequenting antique stores. At first it was a time kill, but it soon became something much more. Over the past six months I’ve come out of antique stores with: a vomit bag that was sold as a promotion tool for an 80s slasher flick, a pair of old snakeskin cowboy boots, a ring with a watch on it, a plate with Teddy Roosevelt’s stern face on it, and countless other objects I hold so dear to me now.
When you walk into an antique store, you find yourself surrounded by an idiosyncratic collection of items, all of which meant something to somebody once. You find relics from peoples’ lives: collections, passions, interests, gifts, heirlooms. You learn something, whether that’s why exactly people go nuts for old grandfather clocks (they’re fabulous), or what anatomy books looked like one hundred years ago.
When I started going to antique stores, the writer’s block that had been gumming up my brain since the beginning of the pandemic began to erode. My new hobby taught me to re-open my mind to possibility. You go in hoping you’ll find a 1980’s leather jacket, and you leave with a Victorian knife holder. You imagine yourself leaving the Maine Antique Fair with a tapestry, and instead it’s the neon sign advertising a sign store that you’re riveted by. Antiquing taught me to give silly things a chance to be profound. You start by laughing at a tacky statue of Elvis, and then you’re tearing up while reading the message inscribed on Elvis’ porcelain foot; a gift from a daughter to her elderly, Elvis-loving father. Antiquing taught me to enjoy the act of looking. To wander around an antique store and come out empty handed can still be a rich experience– sometimes richer than fixating on that one single object. Such is art. Such is writing. It’s amazing what looking at old things can do for the creative brain.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a writer. I studied “dramatic writing” (a fancy way of saying screen and TV writing), in college. It was a dream. I got to spend every day with hardworking, likeminded people who always wanted to put on a play or shoot a short film or huddle together and watch a slasher movie in someone’s smelly dorm. I was writing all the time. Every single thing inspired me.
Keeping that spark alive after graduation wasn’t easy. I’d suddenly gone from writing every day, to struggling to find a reason to keep going. I was a hostess at a bar, then had a brief stint in marketing, then got a job at the History Channel. What was my voice? I had no idea. I had a one act play put on at a couple festivals, I did a lot of comedy performance work, I wrote some short stories… I did what my mother would describe as “this and that.” I can’t remember when it was, but at some point I realized… it was all my voice! I didn’t have to just pick one. From producing sketches online, to participating in one acts festivals, to collaborating on screenplays with various producers, and working on a novel, one of the most exciting parts about my career so far is the versatility and bandwidth of it all.
I’m not just a comedian, or a short story writer, or a TV writer– I’m all of those things. That’s the most powerful lesson I’ve learned so far. (That, and the fact I’m a terrible hostess.)
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love Muscle Beach! (What writer wouldn’t?) From the guys one-upping each other on the high bars, to the toddlers with floppy hair performing the coolest skateboarding tricks I’ve ever seen, it is by and large the most LA place I’ve ever experienced. Plus, it’s where I got my beloved ankle bracelet…
If I was with a friend in LA, we would grab a couple insanely healthy drinks (think… grass shots), park up on the sand somewhere, and people watch until well after sunset.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I can’t think about my career as an artist without thinking about my time doing comedy in college. From cheering on my friends at open mics in basements, to doing god-awful improv (the best kind), to frantically collaborating at 1am in cacophonous bars … those silly and lovely moments were what turned me from somebody who loved writing into an unabashed writer.
So I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my community in comedy, people I strive to be worthy of working alongside ten years from now. My ever-growing network of up-and-coming comedians and writers and artists is the reason I haven’t thrown my computer out of a window mid-scene (yet).
Caryl Casson Farley Katz Priyanka Krishnan Chase Anderson