I was driving to work one morning this this week, fighting my way through rain, traffic, potholes, broken traffic lights and taxi drivers while listening to the ever more depressing Zupta-gate news and I could literally feel my mood getting blacker and blacker. I really like being relatively well informed and knowing what’s going on in the world so I tend to listen to quite a bit of talk radio, but sometimes it all just gets a bit too much. So I switched to my iPod and the first song on shuffle happened to be an Amanda Palmer song, which reminded me that I needed to write this post.
Side note: I’m so very tired of the drama and the traffic. Thank goodness it’s very nearly time for my holiday! Maybe it’s time to bury my head in the sand for a bit. Maybe it’s even time to do a bit of a social media unplug (gasp!) while I’m on holiday next week?
Anyways, back to my black mood. I’ve had this feeling before – where talk radio just gets too heavy. And the music radio is just inane crap. And Apple Music is eating my mobile data. I decided to download Audible and try out listening to Audiobooks while I drive.
But what to choose to listen to with that generous free first month credit? I investigated my options as only I (the great overthinker) could do and eventually settled on The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. This book was a suggestion from my singing, songwriting, piano and ukelele playing friend Nicole.
Nicole introduced me to Amanda Palmer a few years ago. Nic is a massive Amanda Palmer fan. I’m hardly an audiophile but I did become a minor fan after doing some listening. I liked her quirky story songs but that was about as far as it went.
So a bit about Amanda, in case you’re not familiar with her. She’s also a singing, songwriting, piano and ukelele playing artist. She had made a living from standing on a crate as a living statue, as well as busking, amongst other insane and awesome things. A few years ago, after kicking her commercial music production company to the kerb, she funded an album entirely with a massive and recordbreakingly successful kickstarter campaign. She currently funds her art via a website called Patreon. Her music is a mix of indie, alternative, punk and caberet but she is so much more than a musician – she embodies art.
The minute I started listening to Amanda telling her story, I was hooked. She narrates the book and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. She welcomed me in to her artsy world with arms wide open. I have always secretly wished to live some sort of eccentric, bohemian artist’s life so for the few days that she was my companion during my commute, I lived vicariously through her.
When I initially downloaded the book, I wasn’t sure what I’d get out of her story. People were talking on Twitter about how the book had changed their lives. I’ve witnessed a massive change in Nicole which she attributes to the book. But for me? I mean, I’m not practicing my art much. I am a salaried employee of a big corporate, there’s not much busking involved.
But I really did get so much out of it.
The book was inspiring and delightful and has reminded me never to lose faith in the goodness of people and just… Love. And to try to live fearlessly.
I also had loads of insight about myself and my creativity. And living my life, whatever the circumstances, as a manifestation of my inner creative spirit.
I feel like I need to listen to the book a few more times to gain everything there is to gain from the book. And to go back into my imaginary bohemian world.
If you’re keen to find out a little more, I highly recommend watching her TED talk.
My only regret is that my obsession is so new. She visited South Africa last year and I missed her Ninja gig here in Jozi.
If you’ve read or have listened to The Art of Asking, I’d love to hear your thoughts!