I do not care if you love Amanda Palmer or hate Amanda Palmer. I am reading her book, The Art of Asking, for the second time and have only a few pages left. Reading it stirred up my own personal narrator. It inspired me to start writing again, in books, in journals, on postcards and in letters, on here. I’ve been writing non-stop and reflecting on my own life. This isn’t just a book about crowdfunding, it’s about relationships, it’s about life, it’s a bit like a zine, but in book form.
I’m not sure where to begin on what I’ve learned so far from this book, but one of the common themes is about the give and take between people, between artists and patrons, between lovers, between friends, in life. Sometimes it’s really hard to take the gift someone gives you.
I realized that I have started being very open about asking for help after I quit my day job last year. I made a post on Facebook when bill money was tight, and really just opened myself up, no fucks given as to what others might think of the post. Hoping someone would reply:
“I’m in a tight spot right now, I know I’m not the only one, I’m not asking for handouts, but I could really use a few sales. If you need something, want something, let me know.
I do custom work. I bake, cook, sew, paint, draw, photograph, dance, write, I can read tarot cards, pendulums and rune stones, I plan and host events, I model, I have designed cosplay costumes and dresses, I make jewelry, mineral eye shadows, bronzer, bath and body products, I’m a good proof reader and editor, I’m good at selling and working booths, I make greeting cards, zines, collages, inspirational posters. If it’s not listed ask anyway, I may have left it out.”
I was contacted by a local comic writer to start doing work on their limited edition covers. His wife came by to give me a demo and drop off the comics and supplies to decorate the comic covers with. While I helped her bring items in from the back of her car, I mentioned being a little embarrassed to be asking on Facebook for work, and she stopped and looked right at me and said “How is the Universe supposed to know what you need if you don’t ask for it?”
Asking is opening yourself up, and trusting that someone will reply with the answer you’re looking for. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. For me, I’m a big giver, so asking was a little backwards for me, but it gets easier with time.
Just this month I had been invited by a friend to The Vagina Monologues. I had never been, and had been increasingly finding myself within circles of women who talked about how great the experience was for them. I posted on Facebook:
“Okay guys, I want to go to the Vagina Monologues event this coming Valentines Day. It is $25 for a ticket. I am offering haikus, photographs, zines or sketches for donation towards a ticket. Just send your request, mailing address and donation via PayPal to email@example.com”
One of my friends, his Father is on Facebook and we are friends (he makes amazing tie dye everything, you should check him out, he goes by Splash), I saw the notification pop up that he had sent me money towards a ticket. I shot him a message to thank him and asked if he’d like a haiku or some art and he replied, I’m paraphrasing, “It’s not a sale kiddo, it’s a gift.” I felt like that was solidifying the point of Amanda’s book, being able to accept the gift. Being able to “take the donuts” every now and then. Another friend sent the full amount of the ticket and told me to have a good time. Sometimes, people just want to give, they don’t want to take the flower.
If you haven’t read The Art of Asking I probably seem as if I’m speaking in riddles. I have lots more to say about this book, but I’ll save it for another entry. For now, I’ll leave you with those little nuggets of wisdom and how asking and receiving has been for me lately. I am learning to accept the donuts when they are offered to me and giving back whenever I can! ❤
Have you read The Art of Asking? Have you found it helpful? Have you learned to take the donuts? Comment with your stories below!