Tim Manley is a sensitive soul who is unabashed about his connection to his own feelings. A hybrid of Hans Christian Andersen and an awkward turtle, Manley writes stories and other artistic works for the quiet, feel-y spirit of today's youth.
Once a high school English teacher at School of the Future in NYC, Manley has since gone on to the pursuit of his creative endeavors. He still teaches writing workshops on occaision.
Storytelling is the art that Manley is best at, be that in print, drawings, or oral delivery. Stories that range from finding a place for yourself in a world that sometimes just feels too cold to that time you were really drunk on the train and everything just felt right, if even for a little bit.
Manley's literary debut came in the form of his book, Alice in Tumblr-Land and Other Fairy Tales for A New Generation. This collection of short vignette-style stories reimagine classic fiary tale characters in a modern setting, where happily ever after might be dictated by the amunt of likes you get on your instagram selfie.
Written and illustrated by Manley, the work is a funny, clever approach to old, familiar stories. The modernizing of these tales is a perfect fit for the current generation, who seem to get a lot of flack for their social media presence. The book captures the feelings of ennui so popular with early to mid twentysomethings as well as the confusions and happinesses that come with the territory.
Originally a blog on tumblr, the illustrations and stories were picked up by Penguin publishers and collated into this hardcover work. The work feels intimate, a connection between the reader and the author because of the hand-drawn nature of the illustrations.
Though the book is his first major published work, it is far from Manley's first artistic endeavor. Years ago, he began a project called 100 Reasons to Be Happy, wherein he created a series of 100 index cards with various little notes or anecdotes, providing exactly what you'd think.
The cards were collected into a card catalog, and other people were encouraged to submit and create their own cards to add to the collection. As of now, there are over 2000 reasons to be happy, done by various guest artists and contributors.
The catalog has been displayed in various coffee houses around New York City, and is currently seeking a new home. It is still accepting submissions.
Everyone has reasons to be happy, and sometimes people need reminders of those reasons.
Manley's latest artistic endeavor is his storytelling show called "Feelings" wherein he comes on stage, telling stories about, as he puts it; "kissing guys and girls and feeling pretty awkward around all of them. (Secretly, a look at masculinity, gender, and learning to love and care for yourself.)"
A multimedia storytelling experience complete with hand-drawn gifs (like the one above), the show is an exercise of the brand of literature touted as "New Sincere" and it feels sincere. Manley is not afriad of feelings - or, if he is, he wants us all to be afraid together, and face those fears.
It is a part of the 19th Fringe festival in New York City - FringeNYC. Unfortunately, the show is sold out, though surely with this popularity, it will come back around again. Until then, you can check his work out on his website.