art, flags, ducks….and comments: the connection we have.
**EDIT: CLOSED THIS POST AT 5:48pm NZ time, nov 5th. off to make dinner and see some guy fawkes fireworks with the kiddo. i love you all a lot. see you on the next post**
greetings from lockdown day #78.
a duck came into my kitchen.
i just closed up shop on the last post, at 467 comments. if you commented….i answered you: https://www.patreon.com/posts/58011667
i have exactly 18 minutes to write this next little post before i have to turn back to ash full-time for the next few lockdown days.
i am an early riser for the first time in my life. nowadays, every dawn (between about 4:30am and 7am, when he wakes up) i get my Magical Me time.
evenings…i do not. we fall asleep at around the same time (9pm) and my brain is too fried to function that late, anyway. i have found in this lockdown, much like the last one, that i lose my mental clarity around 4pm. everything gets fuzzy as fuck. i peter out.
being faraway from my usual posse, time-zone-wise, those wee hours of the morning are the only window in which i get to call certain friends, and those calls, along with these posts, are the sorcery that are keeping my spirit afloat in this lockdown.
it has been really hard these past few weeks. i wake up early and when the dawn comes, all i want is to go for a walk. the water beckons, the roads are empty, my body wants to disappear from the house. i cannot. i cannot not because of lockdown or stay-in-your-house orders….i cannot because the child sleeps upstairs, and i am the only one standing guard, and will be, it seems, for a long while. so i stay at my station. but i can wander the house, i can wander the yoga mat, i can wander into your comments, into your lives.
i want to talk, in this brief moment (don’t worry, i type fast AND I DON’T EDIT :), about what it felt like to read your comments, and about what it feels like to be on this side of the songwriting desk, on this side of the video camera, and on this side of the patreon.
i came to patronage because i love to work this way.
i stopped working with labels, and in doing so, knew that i was forgoing a certain lifestyle, a certain “way” of working, and a certain level of acceptance in the “music industry”, which really is a kind of a clique, a club, a weird and 5-dimensional chess game, in which the players are the labels, the journalists, the PR people, the tech companies, the marketing people, the radio pluggers, the whole (paid) eco-system that lurks behind the content you consume, hear on the radio, see (often invisibly “promoted”) on facebook and on tiktok on instagram.
i just….fucking hated it.
i still hate it.
i’m smart. i’m smart and i’m a good businessperson and a god songwriter and a good performer. i knew that if i wanted to, i could be….a lot of things. a well-crafted pop star. or a dancing person with fabulous nails, couture clothing and really GOOD hair. or a sultry goth princess on a huge major label, running a merchandise line of make-up, dark, scented nail polish and corsets made in china. and on and on.
i did not want to do – or be – any of these things.
it was always very hard for my major label – and many people working with and for me – to understand WHY i wold not want these things. why would i not want these things? THEY MAKE A LOT OF MONEY.
i will tell you why, and maybe you, the hundreds of people who left these comments about the new song, will understand in a way that they could never understang.
because i am not doing this to make money.
i am doing this to feel connected.
i am doing this – writing songs, making art, creating videos, holding filmed conversations, writing essays, conjuring music, whatEVER….i am doing this to feel not lonely. and to make other people feel not lonely.
and that’s really all i want at the end of the day.
i know myself well. when i make a piece of art, i really don’t like waiting to feel its impact. i don’t like writing a song and then waiting 18 months to feel that connection.
i didn’t like writing a book and then having to wait a year for people to read it. it drove me fucking crazy.
when i release that song on monday, i needed it as much as it seems like a few of you needed it. much like these posts: i say what i most need to hear.
reading all of your stories, seeing all of you reflected in the mirror of that little piece of audio-visual offering…this is what i crave. this is the real moment i live for. this is how i want to art.
this is why patreon is perfect.
this is why THIS patreon – this group of people – YOU – is perfect.
THIS MOMENT IS THE WHY.
because in the old days, the communication, the “go and meet and talk with your so-called fans” was seen as marketing. the community was seen as a means to an end: sell product.
and i sort of look at this moment, the nurturing oasis you guys have given me; the way feel so held, and seen and recognized and connected when i slow down, take a deep breath, pour a cup of tea in the dawn kitchen light while ash sleeps upstairs….and read those hundreds of very human and vulnerable comments after pouring out a raw song like that, and THAT – that is the everything.
i cannot take a walk right now.
but i can.
i walk with you; you hold me hand.
i love making art this way.
not in the marketplace, but round the fireplace.
not for the chart position, but for the hand-holding.
not for the recognition of me, but for the recognition of you; of us, of we.
this is why i love it here.
this is why, after all these years, i’ve found peace with this smaller, humbler way of releasing music.
the more you tell me, the more you i listen, the more i listen, the more you share….the more i understand, the more i hear. about you. about me. about everything.
it’s a circle
i love you all more than you can imagine.
and now…i gotta go.
this is the view from the other night.
the sky was a glorious pink haze.
on that note….i posted this to instagram with a little slow-motion film the other day, and it’s on point and, well, connected to the above…..
when i decided to stay in this rental house for another season, i ordered some prayer flags. they came in the mail and i was excited to hang them on the balcony that ash and i look at every day.
and it’s funny; for them to feel “authentic”, i was hoping they’d fray. i was wondering how long it would take. a month? a year? it reminds me of when i was in tenth grade and bought a new pair of doc martens, but they didn’t look real, so i ran them over with a car.
the idea with prayer flags is that you’re supposed to hang them up with a wish, an intention. i asked for patience. hahahaha.
there was a windstorm that night, and the next day, the prayer flags were shredded to bits, as if they’d been hanging for ages. i was pleased and also horrified by myself. patience, eh? oh, amanda.
almost everybody i know, with a few rare exceptions, is frayed. kindness has evaporated, nerves are jagged, tempers are raw. the notable exceptions, i’ve noticed, are those who have already been frayed by life and found a sustainable way of embracing change and loss. they were already ready for this pandemic.
there’s a beauty in the raggedness. perfection in the patina. the scars, the fragility, the bags under eyes, our soap-dry hands. it shows the gorgeousness of our weather-tested hearts.
to those who have been commenting here, so tenderly, especially the other solo parents who send constant sweet encouragement, i see you all and i thank you all.
i think you’re as stunning as these thread-torn flags. i bow to your patience. i think you are all – in your ragged human-ness – the most beautiful things i have ever seen.
———THE STUFF I SAY AT THE END OF EVERY POST———
1. if you are a patron and new to my work, don’t forget your patronage allows you access to ALL of my patreon releases to date. HERE is the link to download my latest big solo record, “There Will Be No Intermission”, and HERE is a link to download the PDF of the art/essay book that goes with it.
2. if you’re a patron reading this post via an email notification, please click through to comment on this post. at the very least, if you’ve read it, indicate that by using the heart symbol. that’s always nice for me to see, so i know who’s reading.
3. see All the Things (over 150 of them) i’ve made so far on patreon:
4. JOIN THE SHADOWBOX COMMUNITY FORUM, find your people, and discuss everything: https://forum.theshadowbox.net/
5. are you new to my music and TOTALLY OVERWHELMED? TAKE A WALK THROUGH AMANDALANDA….we made a basic list of my greatest hits n stuff (at least up until a few years ago, this desperately needs updating) on this lovely page: http://amandalanda.amandapalmer.net/
6. general AFP/patreon-related questions? ask away, someone will answer: firstname.lastname@example.org