And it’s correlation to our first six months of Artist Waves

Art by Rebeka Rose

May 2015: I brought my ipad with me to Fenway Park. Stuffed every metal inch of it into my side pocket. “Why don’t you leave it here at my apartment and I’ll bring it to the office for you tomorrow?” — my boss said. About eight of us were going to the Red Sox game for a team outing and my boss had us to his roof deck for some drinks on that incredibly hot spring night, prior to the game.

“No, thank you, I’m good,” I replied. My commute home afterwards gave me 45 minutes to myself on a ferry back to the south shore. There was no shot in hell I was not using that to keep reading The Art of Asking by: Amanda Palmer.

“What’s the Use of Wond’rin?”

I had heard about Palmer’s book through various media outlets. Each of them describing how powerful it was. At the time, I had begun a writing series about artists who do things their way, and only their way. I was in a great second (main) job, where I was content, but was starting to recognize … I wasn’t being me enough. I was tucking in my button-down shirts and running down the path of what I thought was necessary to continue to achieve.

Achieve what? Every stride I ran, in conform-mode, I shook off a little piece of my real fabric. I had two options… I either let it deteriorate on the side of the road or I come to a screeching halt, turn my ass around, pick up the pieces and hold on for dear life.

I decided I would pursue speaking with Palmer after I finished the book for an interview in my series. I watched her legendary Ted talk numerous times. I was intrigued by her approach and how she navigated this open field that is life. Both of us were Boston-based and her Dresden Dolls had shared the stage with my cousins band in the early 2000’s. What I took to most was the human element. Palmer had to search — starting from literally eight feet in the air as Harvard Square’s “Eight-Foot Bride”. She had to swing and miss a lot… but kept swinging and eventually turned the misses into routine hits and home runs. Furthermore, she was sharing it all through somewhat of an open-book format. The real-life book before the book.

Find Your Tribe:

The first theme that stuck out to me in The Art of Asking was — find your tribe. Know who you are, but also know who you are not. There’s a difference. I was/am an artistic-based, creative mind. With a ton of responsibilities, I was ignoring that too much. Then came the point — you are not for everyone. What that means to me now is — not that some people are going to hate you, but those who are like-minded, that you sincerely connect with are going to really love you.

Connect and Collect:

Once you identify those in your tribe and furthermore, the areas where potential tribe-mates could exist, bring ’em on in. Explore foreign territories where they may be. There’s a such thing as being guarded and personable at the same time. It doesn’t make the people who are different from you the enemy. I began thinking about this a lot in social situations. I could tell within minutes of being in such an environment or conversation; if we talk about art, music, the NY Giants, Pearl Jam, pizza obsessions, snowboarding, surfing, being a parent or writing … consider yourself “tribal” tattooed.

There were three points to drive off of in the theme of connecting and collecting:

To be yourself is all that you can do. If someone doesn’t like the station, well then change the channel.

Put it out there — search. Be proud and don’t back down. You’ll find where you and others belong. One the best parts of this journey is that there is a lot of giving involved. And that’s where the real achievement lies.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to simply ask. You want something? Go get it. You want a change? Be the change you want to see. You need help? Ask for it. This doesn’t mean begging for favors or inconveniencing people or accruing debt. It could be to ask the universe or better yet… how about asking yourself?

The Perfect Fit:

The Afterword of The Art of Asking really put a bow on the whole thing for me. It all started with Palmer’s art of course, but it also brought to light that how she connects with her fans is an inspiring art unto itself. The power is in the art — whatever the art is, and it serves as the foundation to build upon. The wave that everything else surfs upon. The mountain you strap your boots into and ride down. You just have to make sure you take in the scenery during the ride.

Since that time, I have continued to write feverishly. I changed the shape of how I wrote on occasion, in an effort to connect in different ways. I stopped pitching major outlets with article ideas because with all due respect, who’s to tell me how to edit my voice? Punctuation — different story.

I launched Artist Waves exactly six months ago. I posted a video on our facebook page yesterday, expressing gratitude for the support, touching upon the highlights of our first 180 days and gave a teaser of what’s to come. But if you think I was going to not put it all to words, reflecting upon where it came from — you’re crazy! As a voice of the artist platform, I am amazed and inspired by what we’ve been able to accomplish in this uncompromising way of focusing on the “moments.” As we charge ahead our one mission remains — to inspire through the arts. I believe our logo brings our core value to life.

I did have the chance to interview Palmer in September of 2015, shortly before her son was born. In the interest of time, I focused mainly on my premise — asking questions that dove into the process of her own way. I left out how much The Art of Asking taught me and how it opened my eyes to the beauty and fulfillment that lies within your own truths. It also took me these past two years to properly understand it and really see it unfold. I don’t have it all figured out, but I stopped tucking in my damn shirt.

~Jeff Gorra

Check out Amanda Palmer’s new music — I Can Spin a Rainbow with Edward Ka-Spel and catch Palmer on tour this spring.

Join Amanda Palmer’s tribe on Patreon.

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~ follow Jeff Gorra | twitter @JeffGorra |