2923998463545746246

ON THE PERILS OF MEMOIR, GUN CONTROL & TWATSICLES…yesterday’s q&a compiled!

this blog was originally posted to patreon. sign up here to read blogs first!


HOLA COMRADES!!!

(public post)
goddamn, it didn’t feel like i wrote that much over the course of two hours, but sitting down and cutting and pasting it together, it’s a fuckton.

here’re the questions i selected out of more than 500…please note: i didn’t edit this for typos, and i was going in real-time…be forgiving.

 

now….if you’re ready day for a good long read and dive into the depths of my psyche, grab a wine and brace yourself.

 

i cannot thank you guys enough for hitting me with such intelligent/fun/real questions…it made this a joy to do….LET’S DO ANOTHER ONE! i am enjoying talking to you as much i imagined.

speaking of which: $10+-tier patrons, you’ve got a smaller webcast coming from me THIS FRIDAY (jan 22) at 2 pm EST, 11 am west coast…i’m sending you guys your own email/password. don’t miss it, and we can discuss any of the below or more when we’re online there.

 

also, regarding the below: i started off strong.

 

there’s a vagina. you have been warned.

xxx

AFP

…………….

Leonie Müller:

Something I woulnd’t be comfortable to ask my sisters-in-law and none of my close friends have children yet, so I ask you: I often hear that there’s a big gap between giving birth and the first time you have sex again and I totally understand why, but I wonder: How does it feel different? Not just because you’re tired and you’re probably stressed because you don’t know how long you have until the child’s up again and things like that, but physically and emotionally because of the birth inbetween. What has changed? I know men and women who are afraid of having children because they fear that sex will never be as it was before…

(Leonie Müller:
Oh, I just saw that Melinda Larsen already asked that.)

AFP:

wow. excellent question to start with eh?

 

well…birth definitely does do a number on your body in terms of your whole downstairs department, but i was surprised (pleasantly) to find that i healed back to normal cadge-state within about a two or three or so after giving birth. granted: i did a totally, totally natural childbirth, and had pretty easy time. a long labor, but no complications. baby just came out like they supposta. however: in the physical department…one thing i wish someone had warned me about (um, trigger warning? TMI warning? vagina warning? VAGINA WARNING!!) is how INCREDIBLY SWOLLEN YOUR VADGE IS right after you give birth.

i joked to neil and whiney that i finally knew what it felt like to be a dude with balls. i mean, your junk is SO SWOLLEN for squeezing that baby out that it’s like someone has inflated your vulva with a cup of water and there it hangs. if you’re the kind of person who likes walking around with no underwear on, as i am, you get totally blindsided by the feeling of your mango-sized vulva squishing between your legs. (at this point, you guys are like…). YOU ASKED! anyway: that extreme swelling goes down in about three days and things are back to normal. i had a very very small tear from the birth and our magical midwife, joanne, stitched me up with two teeny dissolving stitches on the inside of my labia. the midwives were so beautiful and hilarious, they’d invented what they call a “twatsicle” – a sanitary pad dipped in witch hazel and frozen in the freezer. they recommended i wear those for the first few days, because your badge stays a bit burn-y after birth. they were right. the twatsicles provided cool relief. :)

in the actual having-sex department, i do have to say that going back to sex (we waited about three weeks, as recommended by midwives) was really interesting. there’s the physical side, and it does, indeed, feel different. organisms are different (and better!) and i’m finding myself wanting to take things incredibly slowly. not just because i’m physically fragile, but because i just felt the whole slowing down of time. without going into the details of me and neil’s sex life (that’s up to him…go for it, but i doubt you’ll ever get an answer), i’m usually on the slower side (and i hear, *ahem* that this is not an uncommon phenomenon with mens and womens).

i was definitely a little curious and only a bit freaked out: having sex after birth…AGHH WILL MY VAGINA BE A MASSIVE CAVERN OF DOOM? WHERE PENII DELVE….NEVER TO RETURN? luckily: the answer was no, not at all. my vadge returned to basic format, and actually was a bit on the tight side having not had sex and re-shaped itself in the three week gap. so: there you go. all you ever wanted to know about my post-birth vagina. one more note: sex life has been weird for other reasons since baby arrival, not having to do with the equipment but more to do with timing and a baby in the bed. that’s a whole mother topic and i’m gonna move on to a question not about vajayjays. xx afp

……….

Graham Orndorff:

Hi Amanda. I love Patreon and the system here – I support you and a handful of other artists I like. Are you ever concerned that the crowdfunded path is one where your fan base does not significantly grow (that is: you are mostly preaching to the choir as it were and not increasing the numbers of new people to hear your music in the future?)

AFP:

hi graham. why YES, i fucking worry about that ALL THE TIME. it is my commitment to myself in these next few years to get myself out of the cave. i don’t like making art in an echo chamber (see my answer about academic art)…it feels unchallenging and counterproductive. however, i would like to believe that people supporting me here aren’t just humoring me and going “wink-wink-nod-nod we’ll support poor amanda making her cute art but only out of charity”. what i believe deeply is that if i make good enough art here, people will share it, out of a desire to really gift it to other people that they may have the experience of seeing it/hearing it/knowing it. if that’s the case, then things will grow…slowly. but surely. and occasionally i’ll have a piece of content that gets noticed by the “mainstream” or the viral internet or whatever. honestly: i’d rather be making art in a cave of nice people than on the hood of a honda in a car dealership for a bunch of people who couldn’t care less. it’s about balance. but yes, it’s something that worries me, and something i’m always trying to solve for. one thing that can really help? tell people about my music. share the work. i rely on you to do so. pop a song up on twitter. share a video to Facebook. make a playlist for a friend. word of mouth is king. x a

……..

knoz:

*THE BED SHOW!* – will we ever see it?? i *still* have half the songs stuck in my head(, as it was amazing)! and, more general, i suppose, how do you choose where to start with writing lyrics? like, i can never seem to settle on a good enough opening and then self-doubt kicks my ass for, oh… :checks watch: …10 years. so, im artless & miserable. halp plz.

AFP:

hi knoz…i will halp….you may!!! “the bed show”, when i did it at bard, was a workshop with steven bogart to start digging into a concept, the show as it was presented there will never be seen again, but it was a great jumping off point to think about what the future will bring in terms of more musical/theater endeavors. some of the songs are true keepers and i’ve got them in my back pocket for when i return to thinking about stage stuff. WHICH SONGS DO YOU HAVE STUCK IN YOUR HEAD? i need to know that, for real. re: the lyrics…i almost always start with a concept/lyrics and then bang on the piano until i find something that fits. something always comes.

xx a

……….

sarah best:

Hey Amanda, how are you doing today? I’m going to share some things about my process as a means of asking you about your process. 1) Is there a certain time of day or certain place that ideas tend to come to you? (For me, it’s the shower or bus rides or weird old hotels that used to be flop houses). 2) When a line, or bit of melody, or artistic idea comes to you, how does it initially come out? (For me, voice memo or note on phone). 3) What do you do days shit’s not flowing? (Some artists Brian Eno it with Obilque Strategies or play, some artists have an ongoing practice like daily photos or sketches or journals).  3) You work in different media — is your process different for a song than it is say for the living statue project you did at NYPL? 4) What does it feel like when you write or are creating something? (For me it feels like I’m floating, and a lot of times I have to actively do centering–yoga, photography, meditation–to come back down). 5) If your process is anything like mine I’d guess that having a kid makes it really different–has it been so far? Does process sort of go out the window?

AFP:

what an organized question….!
ok
1) i used to get all my best song ideas while walking alone, or while driving alone with no radio on in the car. something about being in motion helps. i wrote “smile” (from theater is evil: http://amandapalmer.net/products/..) over the course of 5 or 6 jogs on the hermosa beach strand. however, i wrote “lost” (same record) while looking for something i’d dropped behind the toilet in my apartment. you never know. sometimes i get songs floating into my head at night and have to get up. i hate when i have to get up. sometimes i just don’t and the ideas go back to their maker in the sky. girl needs her beauty rest.

2) it used to be tape recorder, then it was a variety of tools, including calling myself and leaving voicemails…nowadays it’s voice memos and i email them to myself.

3) funny, but no. ideas just…come. and when they come, they say what media they are. they announce themselves.

4) i tend to feel quite manic when i’m int he act of creation, at the piano or at the writing desk. i tend to use coffee and wine to ramp and slow the mania. i lean red my lesson about too much wine for songwriting in my late twenties. it’s like a formula. one glass after getting 50% of a song done = productive. two glasses = neutral. three glasses = i become a shitty writer.

5) check back in with me later, he’s only four months old. BUT…i was just saying this to my friend john cameron mitchell on a phone call…it’s hard to tell nowadays what’s “real” and “what i have to fucking prove to myself and the world now that i’ve had a baby”. meaning: i’m SO terrified of losing my identify and ability to make art that i’m working my ASS off to ale as much as i can in the cracks, because i MUST because otherwise i will become that nightmare version of myself who stopped working and making art when she gave birth. whatever works, people.

xx

AFP

p.s. i’m good today. i just ate an alfalfa tablet.

……….

Anja:

Hi Amanda! I’ve seen you promote Geeia’s patreon. Do you think anyone can do that? In particular, I’m a mathematician, and hope to be a maths outreach person in the future, and Patreon looks like a place where people could subscribe and see my amazing and clear insights into maths and learn how cool it is through comics :) Any tips on how to get people “on my side” :)

AFP:

hey anja! patreon is highly flexible and genre-free..really, ANYONE making ANYTHING can use it. it’s just a tool to let people give you regular, reliable support. i’m really excited to see where it goes. like kickstarter, though, there has to be a barrier to entry (and i’m not sure there currently is). if there isn’t, we will wind up with the same sort of thing we’re seeing on indiegogo: which is just “HEY! I’M BROKE, PAY FOR MY LIFE FOR NO REAL REASON!” it can’t turn into random virtual foodstamps. it has to be an exchange floor where one person is offering content and another person wants it to exist, so is thrown’ down dough. but that content can be ANYTHING. good luck.. xx

…….

Ian Jones:

Hi Amanda: I know you’re a big fan of the Legendary Pink Dots, and I saw you recommended Aesop Rock’s “No Regrets”… Any other music recommendations? Love you. #FeelTheBern

AFP:

i’m obsessed with john grant (and just sang on his last record). check out “pale green ghosts”. also check out julien baker. she’s amazing, here’s a video: youtube.com/watch?v=QLhLile.. also check out PWR BTTM if you’re into queer loud hilarious heartbreaking glam: http://pwrbttm.bandcamp.com

……….

Danielle Renee:

what moment with ash has made you most feel like you don’t know what you’re doing with a baby? alternatively, what moment has made you feel most like a badass momma (which you so clearly are)?

AFP:

dude. about a month ago he fell off his changing table. three feet, onto a cold, card tile floor. i thought for 2 seconds that i might have a dead baby on my hands. i watched him fall from 10 feet away, like a nightmare from a movie. he was, of course, fine, but those moments scare the living fuck out of you. my usual carelessness gets etched away, stroke by stroke. but it was also a lesson in instant forgiveness. i am not a bad mother. i am not a bad mother. i am not a bad mother. i am just a flake, i learned a thing, and like all of life…on we go, onto the next mistake. meanwhle…every other mother i’ve talked to has one of these stories. the first new mom i know who i talked to about this told me she’d just watched her kid faceplant into her grocery cart … and now she’s trying hard not to be traumatized by grocery carts. laugh, live, learn, and on we go.

……….

Hayley-Renée:

Also, do you have hair on your eyebrows in this picture?

AFP:

hell yeah i do

……….

BillH:

Hi Amanda. You mentioned earlier that you want to “throw all the guns in the ocean”.  Do you consider it fair to introduce gun violence into the ecosystem of marine wildlife? If you were president would you feel that our military had a responsibility to police the seas once the creatures living therein were armed with assault rifles as a consequence of your environmental/gun control policy? That is all. Thank you.

AFP:

dear bill. i kid, i kid, i kid about actually throwing them IN the ocean. the poor fish. no. however…i don’t think we should arm all school teachers and allow a proliferation of guns everywhere to “keep everybody safe” and i don’t think we need citizens with automatic weapons able to go postal and walk into crowds, easily killing hundreds. it’s just a bad call. i’ve also joked in the past that if we are going to arm everybody then every american should just be issued a musket. but really: i get that we cannot banish every single gun in america. but we can make it really, really regulated. why is it harder to get a driver’s license than a gun license? why not make it as hard to get a hunting rifle as a pilot’s license? i’d support that kind of policy. the UK and australia and tons of other advanced nations do just fine without citizens all sleeping with guns in their closets. we can do that, too. it’ll just take time. x a

……….

August Marshall:

What’s the hardest thing about breastfeeding?

AFP:

ha! finding a place to put my arm when i’m breastfeeding in bed, on my side. sometimes i use neil, sometimes i use a pillow, but sometimes i start, get Tired Arm, and have a baby attached to my tit and have to do a minor muppet flail. sometimes i just suffer and leave myself to the cruel joys of Tired Arm and sometimes i just have to detach the succubus and go hunting for an Arm Prop. it’s amazing…you’d think after 4 months of feeding him i’d have this down….

……….

Milly Mittens:

Do you ever think that the reason you and Neil work so well together is because you tell a story he could never write, and he sings a song you could never compose? (metaphorically speaking)

AFP:

beautiful question, a poem in itself. we are, we do, fill each other in. we’re really similar, but so different, and we struggle to deal with our differences. when we’re at our best, in-relationship, it’s when we’re filling in each others holes, when we have each others backs. i am totally not into writing a fantasy fiction novel, and neil is totally not into writing a song about his personal pain and getting on a stage and signing it to people. but we’re so impressed by each other, and we don’t allow ourselves jealousy for what the other has to offer, whether its in the art department, the financial department, the parenting department. we just assume that together we will come up with enough pieces of the puzzle to make a picture together, and a more powerful picture than if we were both making our own puzzle. sorry for so many metaphors. i’m typing fast. xx a

……….

Kaitey Dave:

As far as stripping goes, did you find it affected your body image – positively or negatively? Also; do you have any songs which you look back on and cringe/won’t play because you’re not fond of them anymore? (I’m desperately hoping Gravity doesn’t feature in your answer to this, I’d love to hear it live) Also, how much of the Patreon fb group do you read? I’ve seen you crop up occasionally (including on a really vulnerable post of mine – thank you!) – but do you go in often and lurk or just swing by occasionally? LOVE!

AFP:

re: stripping…probably around neutral. you’re around a lot of different bodes when you strip: from 18 year old college students to 35 year old moms with c-section scars who can move each buttock independently…there’s a lot to look at and compare and contrast. i’ve always had a relatively healthy relationship with my body, so i was just like: i’m the borne-haired one who’s 5’6 with the giant bush. you’re the 5’2 blond with the no-bush and the long eyelashes. i look at as all as one organism. and strangely, i think, so did the patrons of the strip club. we were, to some there, just “The Girl”. there was, in a poetic way, something liberating about that. there were also super creeps who seemed to look at us as objects. i fucking hated that, but never took it personally. i was like: that’s your problem, sad man re: my old songs…there’s some that are too long/hard to sing/repetitive/not-made-for-solo to play live, but none that i’m ashamed of. i never put those songs on record. they stay in the filing cabinet. re: facebook patreon group…i lurk from time to time and check in occasionally…it really started heating up right around the time i was pregnant and crawling offline, so i didn’t tempt myself too much. i love that it’s there, i’ve also gotten second-hand drama-smoke from it since i’m in touch wight eh mods and occasionally go over to see what the kerfuffle fuss is about, and i don’t love the tone sometimes…it seems very tone-police-y for my taste with all the trigger warnings and such (i’m not a huge fan of those being overused), but i love that the groups is there and learning and growing. it brings me great joy to see our community taking car elf itself and growing. x

……….

Deirdre S Hopton:

At what point would you advise an emerging writer to start a Patreon? After the first book is self published or once it’s been reviewed online/garnered interest?

AFP:

that’s a fantastic question and one i think about all the time. one could make the argument that you could start with nothing…just 5 readers who are friends, like a writing group, and just use the platform to share work and give each other $5 and moral support, like a circle that isn’t really there to make dough. or you could make the argument that it really only feels good to start a patreon when you have whatever could be considered a legitimate “readership”. but what does that mean…50 people? 500 people? it’s really had dot say, isn’t it? i think the tricky thing about patreon is that it can be sued in so many ways. it’s like asking: “so how do you use a pencil?” or “how do you use cash money”? there’s a ton of angles. you can draw with it, write with it, spend it, save it, make fuckin origami out of it. different artists are trying different things, and honestly i think the best thing you can do is watch what other writers are doing (there are plenty of them here) and follow what feels right. “art of asking” basics: there is not a magical crowd waiting for you on the other end of your patreon page. patreon is a tool you bring the traffic. how do you get traffic? that’s a longer harder question…but, write, write inresting things that people want to read, then holler about where you are and that you’re looking for support. don’t be embarrassed if your first 15 patrons are your aunts and cousins and shit. that’s fine. if you take a look at geeta’s patreon:http://patreon.com/geetadayal?ty=c she told me that her first 80 patrons were all people in her address book that she personally knew. that’s GREAT. that’s the way we start. then it spreads. good luck. write hard. xx AFP

……….

Liz:
Here’s a personal/dangerous question: what regrets do you have?

AFP:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=fFtGfy..

……….

Link Hughes:

Hi Amanda. I’m curious about what your thoughts are on video games? I know you are a huge supporter and promoter of creative endeavors, but some of the comments you’ve made here and there over the years seem to indicate that you don’t see video games as a creative medium. Have I gotten the wrong impression? Have you played any video games that resonated deeply with you? Do you have a favorite? Thank you in advance for taking the time to answer our questions!

AFP:

hey link! i’m totally not anti video-game…i’m more of a video game luddite. i spent HOURS AND HOURS of my childhood playing video games..arcade games at the local rec center (i am a fucking ms pac man PRO) and at home on the ol’ apple IIe playing more adventure games like rusk duck, kings quest, and such. i loved those games. i was a tetris addict in high school for about a month. nowadays i play word warp on my iphone but that’s as close as i get. i think i have an advantage that many others don’t, i can play twitter. it’s amazing to see what happens when you throw out a question to 1.2 million people and see what comes back at you…. all that being said, i know video games have turned into much more of an art form lately and it makes me a little sad that i don’t know very much about them, but i have so little time as it is that it isn’t a path i’ve hunted down. my song “in my mind” was recently used in a game called “life is strange” and from the resonance in the crowd, it’s hugely emotions, electing tears and making real feelings happen in real people. as far as i’m conceded, that’s fuckin art. xxx afp

………

Zoé Grin:

Hi Amanda, I read in, I think, an interview that you are in an open relationship with Neil. I am too, for two years now, with three lovers (two of them are also together). I discovered about Neil and you in the first months after we began, when we didn’t even know about open relationships and polyamorous people. I want to thank you so much for that, because it offered me courage to handle this new and strange situation, and comfort, thinking “I’m not the only one, and it doesn’t end painfully bad everytime…” (a lot of people told me that it will do – end painfully bad, and maybe it will, but for now it doesn’t). It’s still standing, sometimes weird, sometimes painful, sometimes beautiful – less and less painful, more and more beautiful. But I’m wondering : how it is for you ? How did you come to that ? How do you handle it – with your parallels Endless Roads, with the marriage, with the baby ? I hope you could answer. Sorry if my english is weird, I’m French (and hoping so hard you will come again one day ! maybe for an Art of Asking tour ? I don’t know if a french translation is ongoing). A lot of love to you, Neil and little Anthony (and to everyone here – and if you have any answer to my question about yourself, feel free ♥ ).

AFP:

bonjour chouchou – a few other people have asked about open relationships here, so i’ll give you an overall answer… and, well, first of all – congrats for being in an open relationship. it takes balls. i’m sure you’ve felt lot of the slings and arrows of doing things differently. one of the worst parts is that everyone can be taken aback by your choice…most people don’t “get” how a relationship works without monogamy. (to which i would answer: “you know all those people who have affairs?” yes” “it’s like that, without the lying!”) the biggest thing i’ve learned is that “rules” aren’t rules…they’re guidelines that are constantly moving and changeable. some people are on the no-fly list (some people are just too crazy, too risky, too whatever). sometimes there’s a double-standard and we have to talk about it.

 

sometimes we fuck up and really hurt each others feelings. sometimes we want to hold tight to the security blanket of one another more tightly than other times, and other personalities are kicking around. sometimes we’re just plan dumb and leave stupid shit lying around for the other one to find. sometimes it’s safest to just close the doors and get time alone, with everything and everyone else out of the room (and we’ve been doing far more of that, i assure you, since the baby came along and become our full-time threesome partner). one things for sure – it changes every day, every week,every month. we find the answers, and the answers change. i know a great couple in their 70s who are still in an open marriage. they aren’t slutty, they just both have part-time “others” who they love every much and talk to every day, and visit. when i saw that working, i was like: this is amazing. this is real. this is sustainable. this is love. finding role models helps a ton. here’s two books, btw: the ethical slut: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_.. more than two (newer) http://morethantwo.com xxx a

……….

Star:

If you had the opportunity, what artist (dead or alive) would you most like to collaborate with?

AFP:
alive: tilda swinton. dead is too hard. maybe john lennon?

……………..
Mallory Danger Paige:

Hi Amanda, I’m currently traveling the continent on a motorcycle-sidecar – with my dog! Along the way the Operation Moto Dog journey has transformed in large part due to the kindness of strangers-turned-to-friends. Though uncomfortable at times, I’m challenging myself to fully accept people’s kindness and channel my inner AFP to take a trust fall. As it grows, I worry about snubbing people or hurting feelings when I’m not able to meet with everyone in a given location. How have you balanced this? Or more generally, how do you balance connecting with others and having healthy personal boundaries?

……….

AFP:

wow…that’s such a good question, and honestly there’s a part of the “art of asking” that fell to the cutting room floor all about this topic..the fact that when you open up, sometimes you get TOO MUCH, and you have to deal with the issues of abundance instead of scarcity. it’s a real thing. and when 5 people are offering you a coup, you don’t want to hurt four people’s feelings. you make 10 friends in a city but when you return, you only have time to see 3 of them. which 3 do you pick, and how do you lightly reject the other 7? well…the first part’s easy. you usually know which people you want to see, because your instinct/etc tells you. and then you find yourself thinking: do i HIDE? do i apologize? how do i not reject these perfectly nice people who i just can’t make time for without breaking myself? i think, as usual, you always lead with honesty. as in “i’m in town and i’m thinking about you…i wish i had time to get together, but i’m strapped this time around. thank you so much for your generosity last time i was here, i’m still so grateful.”

 

this fixes a lot: you’re thinking of the other person and you’re not just a flake who’s forgotten about them, and you’re reminding them of your gratitude. and then you can let yourself off the hook. if the reply from that person is on the attack or defensive (i.e. “oh yeah? well fuck you for not having time for ME and having time for STEVE”) then…well, fuck that person. they’re a negative type you don’t need in your life anyway. real pals and helpers understand: there’s a flow. you don’t have time for everything and everybody: neither do they. all good. i’m reading this book right now, and it’s a perfect companion for you: A Life of Being, Having, and Doing Enough by wayne muller http://amazon.com/Life-Being-Havi..
……….

Amanda Blahey:

Hello Fellow Amanda. The question I’ve been rolling around with is this – how did you choose what to “lay bare” about the gritty stuff in your life when you wrote the book? As someone who has been toying with the idea writing an autobiography/self-help book myself, I’m at a loss as to how honest I can be about the living folks who would make up part of it. Thanks for the AMA, I missed your Reddit one <3

AFP:

hey amanda! nice name. well, this isn’t just a question about the book….it’s a question about art in general. see this blog, first of all, it’ll give you a clue about how different artists set their privacy settings at different blender levels: http://blog.amandapalmer.net/2013.. there’s a good basic protocol to follow: do no harm. “harm” is pretty vague, but you can define it as you need. if you’re worried about what your dad would think if you wrote a long, damning memoir about his alcoholism and the way he molested your sister (note: i’m pulling this outta thin air here, because i have no idea who you are, before i get skewered), and you know that this will make your dad hit the roof and disown you, and perhaps cause your whole family to disown you, then you’ve got a rough choice to make. there isn’t a wrong choice. it’s just a life choice. then there are the subtler decisions. do you admit to lies you’ve told? do you admit you never loved that person?

 

art does have an impact. when you’re dealing with memoir, it isn’t just “art”, it’s more like life journalism, and if people are reading your shit, it will indeed have an effect on your everyday relations. but remember, two-sided coin: it can plug up old holes, and it can carve new wounds. your intuition will probably be right about what’s going to upset people off, rip up rugs and show the bugs beneath, and all that. only you can choose. some other ideas…: -do not use memoir as score-settling. neil and i have both recently read autobiographies that read like that … “you’ll never believe how wronged i was and how much of an asshole my ex was to me” just makes you sad and desperate and it doesn’t usually lead to good writing. -change names and situations. i did that in a few spots of art of asking so as not to upset people’s families (i asked them first). or do as neil gaiman does and avoid this entire shithole of doom and WRITE FICTION!!!! so much easier. one more idea: i know mary karr who wrote liars club, etc, just published a book called “the art of memoir” or some such. might be worth checking out. tell me if it’s good.

……….

Shiranne:

Bern-related: I’m a pretty lefty left when it comes to politics and initially I saw that my views, on paper at least, were closest to those of Sanders’. But in the meantime in every speech and every debate and every publication I have become entirely disenchanted with him. His views on gun control and foreign policy are very far from what I believe is best for this country. His way of speaking – a Democratic version of populist Trump, angry and aggressive and mostly just saying why other things are wrong and not really saying what’s better – isn’t going to help him win a national election. Clinton, with all of her downsides, still aligns with my general views (certainly none of the Republicans even come close), but aligns almost exactly on the most important ones in my mind.

 

Gun control is an epidemic, and Bernie Sanders is taking a soft approach. Health care is a ball of shit here but starting from scratch after all the work that’s been done is kind of pointless. Foreign policy can’t be “why am I getting involved?” due, in part, to a lack of experience and understanding. That really sounds like Trump. Basically I’m seriously unimpressed. Why Bernie the populist? And if Hillary wins, will you vote for her in November? Sorry that was a bit long, I just care a lot ;)

AFP:

hey shiranne! well, i could probably write for an hour about this, but i’ll try to be short and to the point. i don’t think hillary is that bad, or leagues behind bernie. i just think she’s an establishment politician who has too many ties to old ways of doing things – she really is in bed with all the old-skool system. bernie, in contrast, seems to wak such an authentic walk and talk an authentic talk. right now, i think we need a president that people under 50 can actually get behind. if you saw the debate, hillary’s whole bag, to me, sounded like “real change is so hard and messy, let’s just build on the kinda okay broken system we have”. bernie sounded more like “FUCK THAT. this is AMERICA and we can change the system, and we need to, before we’re all underwater”.

 

i spend my days thinking the latter. that’s why even if he isn’t totally aligned with my beliefs on gun control (i’m with you on that…i want to throw all the guns int he fucking ocean) and he isn’t as experienced as the hils on foreign policy – i also know that not all candidates are experienced in all things. bernie’s strength is domestic. hils is foreign. but overall attitude: bernie. he feels like a more honest man, one who will fight, fight, fight for real change and galvanize a whole generation of kids to believe in the future. that’s why. and i’ve said it before…if bernie loses the nom, i’ll support hillary all the way. anything but these current republicans. they all make me want to cry. x a

 

……….

Allison Broder:
What made you decide to procreate?

AFP:
why not? (but honestly….that’s a question that would take about 3 hours and a bottle of wine. hang in there. it’s probably a blog later.)

……….

Tina McKay:

Amanda what do you think about the university system and how they approach art? Do you find that your education has helped you as an artist or is it a non issue?

(Félix Marqués:
I wonder if she dislikes the intellectualization/academification of art as much as I do. Tons of modern art nowadays seems like an academic’s idea of what an art piece could/should be, but doesn’t have much value in itself and it saddens me.)

AFP:

i’m with felix here: “I wonder if she dislikes the intellectualization/academification of art as much as I do. Tons of modern art nowadays seems like an academic’s idea of what an art piece could/should be, but doesn’t have much value in itself and it saddens me.” …i tend to really hate a lot of “academic” art because i don’t think art should belong to an “exclusive class” of educated people or art-insiders. in that sense i’m a real populist…i love when art is complicated, and i love having art explained to me, and i love art with a backstory, but i hate art that goes over my head in a way that insults me. i don’t like feeling punished for not understanding art.

 

i feel like a lot of art that gets made in academia doesn’t aim outside the circle jerk, and that’s a bad thing. there’s so many people out there who need art that to keep it behind the ivy walls for “those who get it’ and will write paper after paper on it seems lie such a waste to me. what makes me happy is when art comes from within the academic system and escapes into the real world. and vice versa. one of the things i really appreciate about my dark times in college (and dude, they were dark) is that i took classes that introduced me to laurie anderson, phillip glass, john cage and the performance artists of the 60s and 70s. then i went off and did my own CD hunting and reading. i wouldn’t be the artist i cam today without those influences, no way. so it win;’t all bad. you just shouldn’t get stuck there.

……….

Zaphod:

What has Neil been dreaming about lately?

AFP:

without throwing him under the bus…he’s been having some EPIC dreams lately. he had one recently where he was being attacked with a copy of his own novel. more i cannot say. that’s neil’s prerogative :) but one thing i love about him is the weird dreams we share with one another…i’m good at interpreting other peoples dreams, because the perspective is easier. we can see each other so much more easily than we can see ourselves…especially in dreamland xx

…………

Andi Probert:

A long time ago, I saw you at the Electric Ballroom, Camden. After the show, I joined the signing line, and asked for a hug. After the hug, you didn’t let go of my hand, but kept hold whilst you spoke to the next few people in line. I had been toeing the emotional breakdown line for several months, and that little act meant so so much to me, having someone SEE me. So thank you! Have you ever had a moment where you were in such a hard place, and someone unexpected SAW you, and through just doing a little more than they needed to, made a big impact on you? It really inspired me to go beyond what people ask of you.

AFP:

ooh! that’s a really good one. and while i could think of dozens of moments in my life where that happened: in street performing, in relationships, walking down the street depressed…once, on a train, drunk and lost. but probably the best answer i could give in context is this: i don’t think my audience realizes how much of a two-way street those signings are. chances are, if i gel your hand for that long, i needed you in that moment as much as you needed me. we are co-vampiric in this way, and sometimes i wonder if people know that. that i’m crying when i hug you at a book singing, it’s not just because you cried and set me off…it’s because i needed it. so, andi, it may be that my answer is your answer. that moment. all one.

……….

James OLeary:

Hi Amanda. When was the first time you cried in front of Neil? Did it feel like an important moment? The first time I cried in front of my girlfriend was after one of your gigs (your music, especially live, unlocks the deep down emotions). It was the first time I’d let go and shown that type of vulnerability in years.

AFP:

oh wow. i have no idea. i just texted him to see if he remembers. stay tuned in case there’s a part II….

(editor’s note: i texted neil this, and he answered. see image above. read this, it will make sense of everything: http://www.spin.com/2010/11/neil-..)

………………

the end.

xxx

AFP

Back to Blog
  • Amalthea Lir

    Amanda, your frankness / candor / “voluntary vulnerability” is such a gift to those of us who strive to lead an authentic life. Thank you so much for this fantastic recap. Many of these questions were ones I wondered about myself (and I do hope you’ll revisit the “Why did you decide to procreate?” question in a blog post soon — have been dying with curiosity re. that one for months). I thoroughly enjoyed The Art of Asking, which was actually my first introduction to your keen wit, creativity, and goodheartednesdness, and have been following your blog ever since. Even though your open-as-can-possibly-be-within-reasonable-limits MO is essentially hard-wired into who you are, it never ceases to impress and amaze me even after all this time. Whenever you share your experiences with us, always in the most compassionate way possible, it’s an incredible act of courage and a stunning feat of balancing the concerns of so many potential stakeholders. That is a tremendous talent in and of itself — one among your many, but the one that touches and inspires me most. Thank you. We are so lucky to have you.