Tag Archives: The Art of Asking

Book Club Reflection: The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

16 Jun

Silly me was in a hurry the morning of my book club meeting on Monday and forgot the iPad to take notes! Never fear, I had a legal pad in my car (some real caveman technology here) and I took some notes by hand. Here we go.

I mentioned that I was frustrated by the structure of the book and how the timeline was disjointed and hard for me to follow. Some agreed, but some thought it added to the book. She structured the book the way she thought. The timeline wasn’t important but she focused her thoughts around certain topics that were important to her and proceeded to make those points. It wasn’t disorganized, per say, just non-linear.

Amanda made a point about the difference between asking and begging and told us not to be afraid to ask. She did seem afraid to ask at times. She could ask her faceless crowd for Kickstarter funds, but she struggled to ask her husband for a loan. She was scared to ask those closest to her until it was needed.

She wasn’t afraid to try radical things. She showed that the traditional structure of the music industry was breakable. She made money from art but cutting out the middle-man usually ‘legitimizes’ someone and was still successful. Self-published authors are enjoying this same success. She could fall back on her fan base when she wanted to try something a bit off the wall which was reassuring for her. Sometimes, we didn’t know what her motivation was for acting the way she did. Was she trying to save $200 or was she really trying to connect with her fans? Sometimes, it seemed a bit like both. She was putting herself out there to be sure. We met mere days after singer Christina Grimmie was shot by a fan in the signing line after her concert in Orlando, Florida. Though it was tragic and out of the ordinary, this is something that could happen to Amanda because of how exposed she is to her fans.

The group talked a lot about how different Amanda is from us. She’s bold and creative and not afraid while many of us have reservations about doing the crazy things she describes. Many of the women in my group have children and they talked at length about how hard it can be to accept a child choosing a path different from the one you are used to but how you have to accept that and try to be supportive. The scene where Amanda and her mother spoke about feminism was really moving to me. Amanda had never seen her mother as an artist and it took her a long time to see that her mother was a feminist just as strongly as she was in a time when it wasn’t as accepted to be a feminist. Some of us thought that this showed a side of Amanda that we could be critical of. She’s very focused in her art world and she didn’t always show the most compassion to those outside of it.

Her most important message to us wasn’t about asking but about art and the value of art. As a society, we’re not willing to pay for art. I could say this blog is art but you’re reading it for the price of your monthly internet connection, of which I receive nothing. I’ve published short stories for no payment except for free copies. Many others could tell the same story. Amanda showed how art can be a job. Art makes the functional things of our world beautiful and without it, we’d be so bored and boring. We need art and we should be willing to pay those that create it.

We’re taking the summer off and we’ll meet again in September with a TBD book. I’m looking forward to a few more books of my choice in the next few months but I’ll miss this group.

Until next time, writes on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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WWW Wednesday, 1-June-2016

1 Jun

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


27 Days_HighResCurrently reading: I don’t think I’ve read a word of In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. I might grab a little of it this afternoon, but I’m in no rush to read this one. I’ll savor Larson’s writing for a while.
I’m just about finished with The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose. This has been a great audiobook and is very thought provoking! I really recommend it. I’ve had Evangelical friends before, but I never knew very much about the culture.
I finally started  27 Days to Midnight by Kristine Kruppa over the weekend. I’m not too far into it yet but I’m so excited to read this one! Kristine is a personal friend of mine and I was at her book launch party a few weeks ago where I got my copy signed.

PrincipeRecently finished: I finished Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe (Half-Blood Prince) by J.K. Rowling! That’s a good speed for me to finish my Spanish read of the year so I’m really happy about this one. I won’t tell you how many times I cried, but it was more than five.

I posted my review of The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. Thank you so much to everyone who popped over and took a look at my thoughts! It really meant a lot to me to see you all over there for the day as well. Like I said, I enjoyed it, but I don’t think I would have read it if it weren’t for my book club. 4 out of 5 Stars.

Cat DancingReading Next: I’m going to have time to read off of my bookshelf for a while! This is so exciting, I’m not sure I know what to do with myself. Next on my shelf is The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing by Marilyn Durham. Yes, this is a very obscure title for me, but the author was educated at my university and it was turned into a movie so I’m super curious. I looked for years before finding a copy in a Grand Rapids bookstore. I think it was waiting for me.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer (4/5)

26 May

The woman who runs one of my book clubs is a self-proclaimed HUGE Neil Gaiman fan. As a result, she added his wife’s memoir to our list for the month. I’m a huge memoir fan and I’d heard of Amanda’s band, The Dresden Dolls, but only in passing and though I listened to ‘Coin Operated Boy’ once in high school, I wasn’t hooked and never bought a CD or anything. I was interested to hear about this singer who captured the heart of one of the world’s most beloved writers.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

The Art of Asking: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer

Summary from Goodreads:

Rock star, crowdfunding pioneer, and TED speaker Amanda Palmer knows all about asking. Performing as a living statue in a wedding dress, she wordlessly asked thousands of passersby for their dollars. When she became a singer, songwriter, and musician, she was not afraid to ask her audience to support her as she surfed the crowd (and slept on their couches while touring). And when she left her record label to strike out on her own, she asked her fans to support her in making an album, leading to the world’s most successful music Kickstarter.

Even while Amanda is both celebrated and attacked for her fearlessness in asking for help, she finds that there are important things she cannot ask for- as a musician, as a friend, and as a wife. She learns that she isn’t alone in this, that so many people are afraid to ask for help, and it paralyzes their lives and relationships. In this groundbreaking book, she explores these barriers in her own life and in the lives of those around her, and discovers the emotional, philosophical, and practical aspects of THE ART OF ASKING.

I think this book will touch each listener in a different way. I wasn’t particularly interested in her rise to rock-star status or how she learned to play the ukulele. I was more interested in how she could be so trusting and how she could overcome the stigma of asking for help. I’ve always had trouble asking for help when I needed it. I was impressed with the things she asked for and how much she trusted in everyone around her. It’s so different from how I live my life. I’m not mean or reclusive, to be sure. But I don’t air my shortcomings and ask for help to overcome them. I force my way through. Amanda wouldn’t do that.

I’m always amazed when I meet artists because they are so reliant on other people’s opinions of them. I find it hard to understand how someone can trust that people will like what they make and pay money for it. I loved seeing Amanda’s doubt and love in this system. She doubted the traditional music industry and trusted her fans to do what each thought was the right thing to do. It was really touching to hear her story because it’s so different from what you hear from other artists. The whole book made it more believable.

I loved when Amanda talked about Anthony. He was my favorite of her friends. He was the person she came back to when everything seemed beyond control and he made Boston her home all the time. I have a friend who travels a lot but whenever he’s in town, we have lunch. Maybe I’m his Anthony. Except the getting sick part. I loved how Amanda canceled her tour to be with him and how understanding all of the fans were. There are things we have to put aside for the ones we love and I’m glad she could do that.

Amanda was hard for me to relate to. She’s so different from me that I couldn’t see myself in her shoes, doing the things she did, saying what she said, and wanting the life she had. It was hard to see myself in her but reading this book helped. It helped me see why she was the way she was. I could see why she could trust as strongly as she did. I think other people’s lives are fascinating and reading this confirmed that.

Amanda Palmer Image via TED.com

Amanda Palmer
Image via TED.com

I liked Amanda’s origins as a living statue. I thought that was the most interesting part of the story and it’s where I learned the most about her. She kept coming back to the Bride and what being the Bride taught her. I’m glad she explained how this was where she learned to be herself and it shifted my impression of street performers a lot. I understand how they are artists.

Hearing about her abortion and subsequent depression was very hard for me. I can’t imagine the pain going through with that brought to her. I have very conflicted feelings on abortion to start with and hearing about Amanda’s struggle with it is muddling my feelings on it. I’m sad for her, to say the least. I wish she hadn’t had to go through the pain physically and emotionally that it brought to her.

Palmer narrates the audiobook herself. It’s fun to have her sing bits and put songs into the audiobook. My biggest complaint about her narration was the sound level. Sometimes, she would whisper and I’d have to turn the volume up to hear her and the next second she’s freaking out and yelling and I almost went deaf. The sound mixer should have made it more consistent so this wasn’t an issue. Other than that, I loved having her tell her own story.

Amanda things we can still trust in humanity and that people are genuinely good. She couch surfs alone and with her band all over the world. She lets people write on her naked body at a house party and lets her fans carry her around at shows. She trusts that people are looking out for each other in a day when we’re taught to trust no one and be out for only ourselves. That was refreshing and amazing, but it didn’t quite convince me to trust everyone I see. Not yet.

Writer’s Takeaway: I was a little confused by the timeline of the book. Amanda was telling her story from college to modern-day, but put in the story of her romance with Neil Gaiman as a sort of back-and-forth. I couldn’t tell where the Neil parts fit in with the Amanda parts. I thought they were concurrent until one point where she mentioned the book project where she first got involved with Neil toward the end of the book. I thought they’d been together that whole time! Having a clear timeline is something I’m a strong proponent of and something I will look for in my writing.

Fun to listen to and a good read about someone completely different from myself. Four out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Amanda Palmer: The art of asking | TED
The Art of Asking – Amanda Palmer | The Writes of Women
The Art of Asking – Amanda Palmer | Lavender Lines
A book review- The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer | Act Like It’s Normal

WWW Wednesday, 25-May-2016

25 May

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


DiscipleCurrently reading: I’m so close to finishing Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe (Half-Blood Prince) by J.K. Rowling! Two chapters left in this one and it’s great to have the end in sight! I’d love to finish this by the end of the month. I haven’t finished my Spanish book until the end of the summer the last two years so this is a great pace for me.
Not much with In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson this week. I didn’t have a lot of waiting time going on to fill with the story and I don’t see a lot coming on this week so it might be a while.
I started a new audiobook that I’m really enjoying so far. It’s The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose. I forget how I heard about it, but in the beginning, Roose mentions interning with A.J. Jacobs, one of my favorite non-fiction writers, so that’s probably it. It’s great to get Roose’s opinion on what he’s witnessing going on around him because, like him, I don’t know many born-again Christians. I find other people’s lives fascinating.

AskingRecently finished: I finished up The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer on Wednesday last week. I’ll have a review up tomorrow. I liked it, but I’m so different from Palmer that some of it was hard to wrap my head around. Four out of Five stars from me. The audio was great because Palmer included a lot of her songs.

27 Days_HighResReading Next: I hope to start 27 Days to Midnight by Kristine Kruppa this week. I had drinks with Kristine last week and after hearing her talk about her book launch, I’m even more excited to read this one! Woop.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 18-May-2016

18 May

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


BeastsCurrently reading: I feel like I can finally say I’m getting toward the end of Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe (Half-Blood Prince) by J.K. Rowling. I’ve got 150 pages left, but it feels so obtainable at this point. I’m ecstatic.
I read a few chapters of In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson and got the renewal again. I’ll be working on this one for a while still, probably.
I’m getting to the end of The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer already. I’ve had a lot of long runs and cooking in the past week and I feel confident this one will be on my ‘finished’ list next week.

Recently finished: Nothing this week. BUT! I did write reviews for both A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin and The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier. Check it out!

27 Days_HighResReading Next: There’s still some time until my next book club book will come up so I’m planning on 27 Days to Midnight by Kristine Kruppa next. She’s a friend of mine and I can’t wait to read the book!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 11-May-2016

11 May

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


AskingCurrently reading: I’m finally getting back to Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe (Half-Blood Prince) by J.K. Rowling and it feels so good! I’m not sure how long it will take for me to finish this, but I’ll enjoy the ride.
I made small progress with In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson again. I’m at about 20% but I’ll get there to be sure. It might take a while, though.
My audiobook now is The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. It’s nice for runs because music from her band will randomly come on during it but the narration is a bit quiet which is frustrating when I have to play with the volume so much.

ClashofKingsRecently finished: I finished A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin! I’m glad I finished it and I honestly don’t think I’ll get to the next book anytime soon. I felt this one was a lot less exciting than the first book. I dunno. I’ll get to it eventually, but I’m not sure when.
I flew through The Virgin Blue by Tracey Chevalier. The book was a bit more magical than her others books have been, but I still enjoyed it a lot. I’m excited to discuss this one with the book club. I’ve volunteered to lead the discussion.

27 Days_HighResReading Next: I’m posting about this tomorrow, but my friend Kristine Kruppa released a book last week and I plan to read it next. It’s called 27 Days to Midnight and I’m really looking forward to reading it!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 4-May-2016

4 May

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


ClashofKingsCurrently reading: I hope to get back to Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe (Half-Blood Prince) by J.K. Rowling soon. It’s sitting on my bedside tale for now.
I’m making great progress with A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin. I’m about four hours from the end and in the midst of the final battle. I got the eaudio back and the battle is great listening during my long runs!
I got through a bit of In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson but nothing to brag about. I’ll be working on this one for a while!
I’m really enjoying The Virgin Blue by Tracey Chevalier. I always love her books so no surprise to me here. I’m hoping I can tear through this one and get back to Harry!

 

Child44Recently finished: I finished two books! The first was Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith which I got through just a few days after my book club meeting last week. I was so close to finishing in time, but it slipped past me. Oh well. I wasn’t a big fan of the book. My review went up yesterday where I explained why I gave it 2 out of 5 stars. I’ve still got a book-to-movie review and a book club reflection to write on this one so it will be around for a bit.
The other book I finished was Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones which I loved! The book was really well written and I loved the characters. A full 5 out of 5 stars. My review is already up for this one so check it out.

AskingReading Next: I’ll be grabbing my next book club selection, The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. I haven’t decided if I’ll do the physical or audio copy yet, but I’m leaning toward audio so I can fee myself up to finish Harry and work on some other books I’ve been waiting to read.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!