I just finished reading The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. For those of you who don't know who she is, Amanda is a world famous musician, blogger, songwriter, director, activist and everything else that falls under just frakkin' cool. She was one half of the dark cabaret group The Dresden Dolls and is married to Neil Gaiman, creator of the Sandman series and author of many, many delightful books (Neverwhere is my all time favourite from him!) In being a fan of Amanda Palmer, I have placed her on my list of Women That Effin' Rule and after reading her book, I feel that way even more so.
The Art of Asking is simply . . . asking. When we need help with problems that have invaded our lives, do we ask for help or do we suffer in silence? When we need the funds to do another project, write another book, feed ourselves as we paint our masterpiece, or simply to wake up to face another day, do we ask for help? Are we supposed to? Amanda tackles that problem and many more as she reflects on her artistic and very much out there lifestyle all the while maintaining that close and personal relationship with her fans, friends, loved ones and even her enemies. The Art of Asking is about one woman's story to become an artist - from a living statue in Boston who handed out flowers to getting signed on to a major metal record label (and eventually getting dropped) to finally being herself amid the slinging of mud, insults, death threats and the slurs of her "getting a REAL job". The Art of Asking is not only a moment of relief for those who are artists but also for those who live out their lives day by day. It's about looking at someone, a stranger, in the eye and saying YES, I DO UNDERSTAND without saying a word. It's about living your life to the fullest, no matter what the world, inner or outer, says to you. It's about the connections we make as humans and the values we place on them. The Art of Asking is about overcoming your fears to take that next step and not worrying about what may come next.
But mostly, The Art of Asking is about Life. What will you do for your life? How will you make your life YOUR life? Will you reach out to others and simply say Hello?
The trailer above is from one of my favourite movies - Waking Life. If you've never seen this film, I highly recommend it - it is a perfect example of what Amanda speaks of so well in her book. I have a copy of the film - anyone is more than welcome to borrow it from me.
Reading The Art of Asking was a combat boot kick to my butt in my realms of writing and photography; even I get feelings of doubt regarding my work. Yet, time and time again, I'll get an email from a fan or friend, letting me know that they loved my book or seeing one of my photographs made them smile. I value the connections and I hunger for more. I want to be real and I want the world to see me as I am - writer, photographer, bohemian, strange, geeky, Gothic, artsy, whatever. I am simply me. As is Amanda Palmer.
Thank you, Amanda. You rock my and everyone else's world.
Oh yeah, here is the official video for my all time favourite Dresden Dolls song - Girl Anachronism!