Amanda Palmer isn't everyone's cup of tea. She's brash, she's creative and she's not ashamed to let the world know it.
Amanda takes us on her journey, as an artist, from her beginnings as a human statue, through her stripping career, through to her highly successful Kickstarter, and her woes of allowing her own hubby, one Neil Gaiman, to help her with her struggles.
As an artist, asking is something I too struggle with, I await the 'fraud police' to visit any time I think about showing some work. Why would anyone want to buy my work, or support my art, when there are so many other, far more talented artists out there.
Amanda's approach isn't really about asking, it's about connecting. Seeing and being seen. How often do we really see those around us? How often do we connect?
I came across some very fitting videos from a group called The Liberators earlier today, before I finished reading this book. But sitting, watching their videos, showed the connection Amanda was talking about. The simple act of eye contact left so many people open and vulnerable, they were being seen by someone, not just looked at. Tears were shed, hugs were had, and those people had a whole new level of understanding about themselves and the strangers they shared that minute with.
This same group did another similar act, one member stripping to her underwear in London, blindfolded herself, and asked strangers to draw hearts on her in an effort to encourage self acceptance. A powerful gesture of trust and understanding.
Amanda's struggles with making ends meet, her own battles with her own inner 'fraud police'. I now have a completely new perspective on street performers, they're s much more than someone standing, singing, playing, they are art, they're asking you to see them, not just as someone who needs to 'get a job', but as an artist in their own right. Recognise that they are working, they're offering a service, it's just not flipping burgers or filing papers.
So the next time you're wondering why that busker wont go and get a job, rewind and ask yourself if you're enjoying their performance, if you find that you are, toss them a few bucks, you never know, they may be the next Amanda Palmer.
As a long time fan, who enjoyed Amanda's book writing as much as her quirky song writing, I gave the Art of Asking 5 stars.
Hit up amandapalmer.net/theartofasking for more on the book and her music.
I just wanted to add some thoughts on the topic of Anthony. At the time of my reading this book, Anthony had sadly passed along, mere weeks before. The pictures of Amanda by his bedside during his last days really show the depth of love and care the two shared. It makes me sad that he wont be around to share the joy of baby Palmer/Gaiman's arrival, and worse that the joy will also be full of sadness for Amanda and Neil.