Did This Year Actually Happen? and 111 other things I want to write about.
Hello My Dear Ones.
This is a very long read. It was meant to take a few hours and then I wound up shoving everything to the side, delaying it a day, and putting 12 hours of work into it. I’m thinging it.
Let’s start here:
I feel pretty fucking weird.
I have now been in New Zealand for a whole year. Twelve months, to the day. It’s also been over 18 months since I set foot in America, or in my own home in Woodstock, New York. I have not been home for almost two years. Ash is five now. He hasn’t seen his own bedroom for a giant percentage of his childhood.
I’m still so grateful to be here.
And I also miss my old home.
I also know what’s happening in my old home, because I talk to my friends at home in New York almost every day. They tell me the truths of their emotional experiences, and the experiences of their kids. The truths are painful.
I’m homesick for a home that doesn’t quite exist.
**Quick housekeeping before I write anything more about feelings, I have heads up the Aucklanders that I’m doing a single show/event this season that goes on sale TODAY (at 9am Friday, New Zealand time).
I’m gonna sign after the show for as long as it takes to meet and hug every last one of you….and it would mean the world to me if you bought tickets early and spread the word. Mama’s tired AF. This is probably it for a little while, so please come.
Waitākere Room, Aotea Centre
Sunday, May 16th, 3:45pm
Here’s the link to get tickets, they’re on sale at 9 am NZ time today (Friday). Do me proud, yo.**
I’m also doing an event with Neil in the big hall the night before, and go crazy getting tickets for that too….but pimping that one can wait. This one is in a tiny space because the festival didn’t want to risk bumping me up, and I’d like to sell tickets up the wazoo so we can quickly move into the larger hall.
Back to my post.
It was March 11th, 2020 when I landed on a jet plane in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand, last year.
And I woke this morning wanting to say….well, a lot of things.
As I lay in bed, I came up with the idea of picking a photo (or two? or three?) off my phone or two from each month I’ve been here.
I was going to write a very long blog! Quickly With 20-50 pictures!
No, Amanda. I am not. That was dumb. I cannot do that in a day. Nope.
I went into my phone and was confronted with just how impossible that would be – not just the cutting and pasting but the herculean emotional task of revisiting all that real-ass trauma. I started gettinf stomach cramps just from looking at the photos from the middle week March 2020 alone.
Oh god. I don’t want to go back there.
But I’m gotta, so I’m gonna. Maybe just that week. Maybe not the whole year. Let’s start there.
I made myself look at the photos of Neil and Ash at the amusement park on March 9th, two days before I nervously left them behind; embarking on my last leg of tour – four shows in New Zealand – thinking that I’d see them ten days later in Indonesia on our way back to New York, where I intended to “recover” from my year of tour.
I was deeply, deeply tired.
I keep having to remind myself that: I WAS ALREADY EMPTY before the shitstorm of shitstorms within shitstorms hit my life.
I looked at all the pictures and videos of creepy-and-empty-as-fuck Melbourne airport on March 11th, and how I felt like a gallant photojournalist taking them, even though I didn’t send them to anybody or post them anywhere. I was too overwhelmed, I think, and scared.
Covid was already happening. A global pandemic was announced the day I flew to New Zealand. Melbourne was shutting down. I remember that horrible sinking feeling in my stomach as the plane took off; not knowing if I was making some epically regrettable life-mistake by flying to Auckland, leaving my husband and child behind in another country – across a border – as the news cycle about Covid-19 was quickly torpedo-ing out of control, and away from any kind of prediction.
I looked at the pictures of sky I took when I landed in Auckland and went to the hotel booked by the Auckland festival.
The sky was pretty that night.
I looked at the pictures of the Auckland Festival event I went to that night – just hours after I landed in Auckland: a super-up-close-and-intimate dance performance called “Biladurang” – a memoir/story/dance performed by an aboriginal man named Joel Bray for an audience of 20 in a tiny hotel room.
Like something you’d see in a script in a movie about Covid: strangers sharing champagne and snuggling on cozy couches. EVERYBODY WAS GIVEN A HOTEL BATHROBE.
Joel performed part of the show in the hotel bathtub – which was streamed to the main bedroom, where we all sat, watched. Oh god, looking at those pictures. Things were about to change, man. We sensed it but we didn’t know what was coming.
Then….the pictures of me hugging the fans in Auckland – after everyone had sanitized their hands at the door three hours before. We knew nothing. I had just flown in from Melbourne, dude, Covid hotspot March 2020.
We were so lucky.
I sweated on and spit on these people. I mean, out of love, and with a ukulele as an excuse. But, y’know, I sweated and spit on them. These gigs could have been super-spreaders. They weren’t, because I didn’t happen to bring Covid from Melbourne, where I’d just performed to a venue of 1,200 people and thrown a party the day before leaving with 100 more.
(And oh: Those party photos. And the “joke” roll of toilet paper someone brought me as a goodbye gift, because that was starting to….y’know….happen. I still have that toilet roll.)
The photos from the lobby of the last show I did before lockdown….in Christchurch on March 13th.
Bonus photo: my manager Jordan Verzar’s noble profile, a few minutes before or after he booked Neil and Ash’s emergency last-seat-on-the plane flight from Melbourne to Wellington, before we knew we were going to cancel the gig; the last gig of my whole tour.
A screenshot of a video call with Ash.
Let me remind you of this insane fact:
My 2019 “There Will be No Intermission” world tour was about 80 shows.
I cancelled ONE. The last one. In Wellington. In New Zealand.
I am still pinching myself, here…and we’re not even at mid-march yet.
It’s also madness to go back and look at the blog posts from that week….like this one, on march 12th, as I was just landing….and the bushfires were already becoming a distance crisis as the virus grabbed center stage.
and then this post the next day…..oh god, that photo again.
All I can think of is how much that photo would have haunted my year if I’d come over Covid-positive from Melbourne.
There were cases IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD when I left.
Dodged such a bullet. Just dumb luck. Just dumb. Fucking. Luck.
I cannot do a one-year photo retrospective of this whole year….yet.
It’s probably a year-long project to do a photo retrospective on this goddamn last year, and I don’t even have time to answer my good friends’ texts and emails and make sure my kid is eating something other than ramen noodles for dinner again.
I know I keep writing about not having time to write, and maybe that’s just my theme this year.
That is THE theme, OUR THEME, as far as I can deduce from all of you and your comments here and on social media, from my friends back home and around the world, and from my cohort of artists, many of whom I’ve stayed in touch with over this year as the world has sagged and bleeded (as Ash would say) and creaked and moaned.
This is the theme.
So many of us just don’t have the energy, or time, or bandwidth to process what has happened, and what is even happening.
We are out of time to even assess the damage. We’re still in free-fall, in crisis, emotionally. I know I am. I’m smart enough to know that.
Don’t look to heal at the moment. Don’t think about the scar this open wound will be shaped like…later. You’re in the middle of an accident, Amanda. You have to apply the bandage to the gushing wound right now. You can’t even see the shape, the depth of the wound. You don’t know if it needs stitches. You don’t know anything, you just know you’re hurt. Badly. The ambulance may or may not come soon. Just breathe, apply pressure, and don’t try to look at the cut. I SAID LEAVE THAT BANDAGE THERE AND DON’T LOOK AT THE FUCKING CUT, GIRL. LEAVE IT. You’re not dying. Breathe. You’re just bleeding. You’ve done everything you can do for the moment. Sit on this curb, count your breaths, feel dizzy, and just know this: you’re alive, and panicking about shit is not going to help. This is not the time to plan, or worry, or regret. This is triage. This is still an emergency. This is still just survival. Yes, even if you’re making a kale salad. Yes, even if you’re just playing with lego. Yes, even if you’re on a seemingly banal zoom call with your team about the podcast rollout for this week. You’re not okay, girl. You’re BLEEDING. Go lie down. NO TOUCH!!! PUT THAT BANDAGE BACK, jesus christ on a popsicle stick, what are you….masochistic? WANNA BLEED TO DEATH, HUH?? I SAID LEAVE IT.
That’s a pretty good picture of my inner monologue at the moment. And almost every day of this year.
I have not yet stopped being in shock.
No; I don’t have time to look and assess the damage quite yet.
No, I shouldn’t. I can’t and I won’t. I swear. I wanna. I won’t. Am I sounding repetitive?
But I’m going to pull out an old trick that always works like a charm, and I’m just going to scratch this fucking itch and write a list of the things that happened, kinda, that I don’t have time to write and reflect upon, I’m going to paint in giant strokes with my foot-long messy paintbrush, and I’m going to see where it takes me, and perhaps I’m going to learn something on the way.
And at least have a working outline of what I WILL be able to write when my world heaves a little bit closer to calm; when I (ha) find myself with more time to reflect, to pull more ghastly and beautiful photos.
Maybe. When there is more time (ha) to digest all this undigested pain, which sticks like a dry capsule vitamin in the middle of the throat. Sticks. Stuck.
When there is more time (ha) to explain and search and clarify, and to do what I think all artists and writers are trying to do at the end of the day….to write in order to make some kind of sense, some kind of meaning, out of this fucking mess we call life.
That’s my job. That’s what I do.
So bear with me. I’m sure I’ll keep writing in increasingly painful detail every month about what it feels like not to have time and energy to say what I’d like to say.
A year. A YEAR, y’all.
I have been here for a whole fucking year.
My memory has become very bad lately.
Very, very bad.
Two weeks ago, I was sitting in a coffeeshop (sorry, Kiwis, A CAFÉ), working on my laptop and getting ready to bike home for my 9:30 am team zoom call.
I was being so good. I finished my coffee, wrapped up my prep texts to Hayley and the podcast team, drank a glass of water, and picked up my bag from under the table. I unlocked my bike, put on my helmet, and left the coffeeshop at 9:27am, with just enough time to bike the two minutes home to get on the zoom call just in time.
I arrived at my house, parked my bike, ran up the stairs, got a glass of water ready to put by my side for the zoom call, and went to grab my laptop to put on the kitchen table. I couldn’t find my laptop.
I searched all over the house. My bed. Under my bed. In the living room. In the kitchen. In my bags. I couldn’t find it.
I could not remember the last place I’d used it.
I had a sinking suspicion that maybe I had left it at the coffeeshop, but that seemed impossible. Had someone come into the house and stolen it? I texted the team that I was running late and was super sorry and got back onto my bike and pedaled my ass back to the coffeeshop.
There, at the very table where I had been sitting, was my laptop. Open.
I had not only managed to stand up from a table and walk away from AN OPEN COMPUTER, IO had managed to forget within THREE MINUTES the fact that I had just spent a full half hour working on that laptop in that coffeeshop.
Two days later, I left the house with Ash on the back of my bike to ride him to school, and I forgot to put BOTH of our helmets on. I was about 50 feet from the house when it struck me. Thank god it struck my inside brain before a car struck my outside body and killed me and my kid.
So, hey. I get the memo, universe.
This is not my brain at its best.
This is also why I’ve decided that I cannot add anything more to my plate right now than digesting, recovering, and writing as a therapeutic way to piece my brain back together.
Kelly just me this link to an Atlantic article called “Late-Stage Pandemic Is Messing With Your Brain”. I think you all may find it comforting. I know I do.
Maybe I’ll draw a picture. That actually helps. I think I’ll do that. Ok, I’m doing that.
I remember needing (wanting?) to do this around 2007, after The Dresden Dolls had been touring relentlessly for about four years and I was home in Boston on a rare break. I JUST COULD NOT KEEP TRACK OF WHERE I HAD BEEN. It scared me that I could no longer even begin to answer questions like “Where were you in the fall of 2005?”
I didn’t know. I mean, really didn’t know. Not even a little. Couldn’t guess, had no frame of reference, it was all just a blur.
So I blasted some music, pulled up all my old tour schedules, and made a big visual drawing of my life from 2003-2007. When I had been in Europe, and when in Japan, and when in Australia, and when in Europe for the 6th time, when we made which recording, and when we had been home on a break, and then I stood back and looked at it, and I felt much better. Maybe this’ll make me feel better.
I’m going to do this thing. I need some markers.
Ash has markers!!!
It took about an hour and a half, and much scrolling through my phone pictures and googling the NZ-covid website timeline and looking back at some painful text threads….and I had to shuffle through Ash’s craft box to find some good markers and paper (and can I add for poetic loveliness that I am doing this while Ash is down the street in his first after-school drama class?)…..but I Did It!!!
Here it is:
Yes, I conclude:
This year actually happened.
And now that I’m out the other side, feeling like I just vomited after a bout of food poisoning, or a horrific morning of hangover…I gotta say, I feel strangely better.
Exhausted, but cleansed.
A few things struck me as I was making this calendar.
First was: my memory is already fading and my brain is already making things up and filling ion the blanks…badly.
For instance, I was absolutely CERTAIN that we left that first Hawke’s Bay rental house on the hill in late May, because I remembered being on my step-dad John’s Eightieth Birthday Zoom at the new house. And his birthday is May 31st. But I hadn’t taken into account that the Zoom call was a week after his birthday. I’ve been off by a week there now for months, telling people I moved to the new house in May.
(Does it matter? I dunno.)
I found some differences in little details that Neil has politely corrected lately, as we chit-chat and relate our story to people over these past weeks. Neil will admit that his memory is as terrible as mine, lately.
I’m so scatterbrained lately that I’ll let anybody second-guess and correct me.
I’m so scatterbrained lately that if a complete stranger came up to me in the street and said: “I know you’re saying your name is Amanda, but you’ve just forgotten: you recently changed your name to Steve”, I’d nod dumbly and cringe and apologize, mumbling “GAHH, sorry, sorry, sorry, I’m just keeping terrible track of things lately, I must have just completely spaced the fact that my name is now Steve, I’m so sorry, I should be writing these things down in my phone and setting alarms….”
I just don’t trust myself to keep track.
But it was nice to just go look at….the facts.
It was like being a private investigator of my own past.
This also struck me: I found myself feeling physically sick, twice.
Both times involved having to go back to message threads to check exact dates, but I hadn’t expected that revisiting the site of those moments would feel like revisiting a crime scene with blood and gore still spattered and dried on the ceiling.
I found my heart pounding and my breath getting short, and even though these moments were long ago, my body didn’t lie. It was re-living those moments of excruciating pain, fear, and anger.
And then, after doing all this….I really did feel BETTER.
There was something about tying this all up with a magic-marker-bow that somehow disempowered it; lessened it. Made it feel somehow academic.
This was a Woman’s life in 2020. The Woman’s life was very hard. These are the things that happened to Her Life.
It feels more real in a way, but more like history in another.
But the most important thing for my tired little brain was to look at all of it and say:
And now, having literally drawn it all out, here are the things I want to write about that I will possibly never write about.
Here we go:
1. How it felt walking through an Army/Navy store in Wellington and not knowing if the world was going to sort of end, so buying knives and things to make fire with.
2. How it felt stocking an entire pantry for an empty Air BNB in one grocery shop.
3. How we walked to the graveyard a few times a week, and how Ash picked a grave for everybody.
4. How it felt to watch the news on Level announcement days.
5. How it felt when Neil left during lockdown.
6. How it felt when the tabloids turned the worst week of my adult life into clickbait.
7. How it felt to see fearful and mean people on the internet openly celebrating the idea that Neil and I were divorcing, even though that wasn’t the case.
8. How it felt to watch various limbs of my extended family slowly creak and crack, and how it felt to not be able to phone them because of Ash and the lockdown and the time change.
9. How it felt to see a tweet by a random fan of Neil’s that said “Can we all finally stop pretending to like Amanda Palmer now?” get thousands of likes.
10. How I smoked a cigarette every day. But only one.
11. How Ash came back into my bed during lockdown, because neither one of us wanted to sleep alone.
12. How it felt to watch my assistant Michael get Covid, how it felt to watch his daily updates on instagram, like slow daily installments of a horror movie (with a happy end, thank fucking god).
13. How I started waking up at 4am with spiraling thoughts – having been a sound sleeper all my life – and how I started having regular panic attacks for the first time in my life, and finally started understanding what people were talking about when they said they “couldn’t sleep”.
14. How I looked in the mirror one morning in June, couldn’t believe I appeared to have aged ten years in the two months since Neil left, and decided to to take a picture of myself.
15. How I felt about my patrons, and my patreon page, and the internet during the months of lockdown and the months after, when I felt like I was fighting for emotional survival but couldn’t tell anybody why.
16. How Xanthea and I mucked out the chicken coop to Regina Spektor’s “Soviet Kitsch” that time.
17. How it felt when Level 3 was announced, and then Level 2, and how it felt to come out of a house into a town I’d never met, knowing that I was going to stay. How it felt to be a true alien, a foreigner – not just a breezing traveler – for the first time in my life.
18. How I stopped remembering….anything. How I let the bathtub in the Hill House overflow. Not once, not twice, but three times.
19. How I found myself waking some mornings, in the fluttering microseconds before actually gaining consciousness, and wondering if this was really happening, or if it had all been a dream.
20. How I cried the first time I walked into a bookstore after the first lockdown.
21. How I watched myself drinking more and more, and earlier and earlier in the day, until I decided this was ridiculous and I stopped.
22. How it felt to masturbate one morning and achieve an orgasm by – I am not kidding you – just fantasizing that someone was….cuddling me.
23. How I started having parties, and how I realized that for the first time in my life, I was not posting photos of things I was doing. How the culture divide between the Covid Folk and the Non-Covid Folk was just beginning.
24. How it felt to learn what everybody – from in and outside the town – thought of Havelock North, the small farm town I’d moved to.
25. How I kept getting ideas for songs but couldn’t find the bandwidth to sit and compose.
26. How I realized that I could just admire my own hilarious and sad song ideas for my own entertainment without thinking I had to record them, like having my own little brain-radio-station.
27. How it felt to take Ash to the playground for the first time.
28. How I learned to connect with people who creaked their doors open.
29. How I learned to let go of people who creaked their doors shut.
30. How I learned how much of my identity and ego is wrapped up in my work, and how I learned to work less.
31. How I got breathalyzed on my way home from a party one night, after having a drink and a half.
32. How I realized one day that if anything happened to me, Ash would be so, so utterly screwed.
33. How it felt to move into the house down the Hill, and all about our landlords, Nick and Jude. I could write a whole paragraph on Nick and his lawnmower alone.
34. How I ate way too little and drank way too much the night of my Opera House show.
35. How Kya and her husband Aidan took me to their bosom and made me feel like family. How little seven-year-old Izzy lighting the candles for my occasional baths at their house, because I had no bathtub, was one of the sweetest moments of my year, and how I cried, listening to her playing with Ash while I soaked in their tub.
36. How it felt to be, on the one hand, an Object of Pity (“poor woman, all alone with that child”) and on the other, an Object of Envy (“how bad could it be? you’re in NEW ZEALAND AMANDA”).
37. How much I love putting my body in the ocean, no matter the temperature.
38. How I eventually learned that grief and gratitude was going to be my daily meal.
39. How it felt to watch the #BlackLivesMatter protests from across the world.
40. How I cried when I first walked into Rosheen’s house.
41. How it felt to put Ash into school in Hawke’s Bay, and how we both grew to love the teachers there.
42. How much I appreciated Nick and Jude’s rental house, and how much I thought about human scale and flow and movement and architecture living in a house built by a loving architect (John Scott).
43. How I felt about the sheep next door. The chickens we kept. The apples Ash picked from the neighbor’s orchard.
44. How it’s felt to move once, twice, three, four times to new houses, and how the kitchen is always the killer. WHERE IS A SPATULA EVER.
45. How the art of losing isn’t hard to master.
46. How I spent over three thousand dollars on express postage sending Christmas gifts to dozens of friends and family back in the states, and how none of them arrived on time anyway so why did I fucking do that.
47. How I feel about my womb slowly closing down.
48. How I feel about my family changing shape.
49. How I feel about my miscarriage, three years on.
50. How it feels to compare myself with other women, other mothers, other families.
51. How Ash and I started an after school ritual of walking to the post-office, and then to the pop-up Christmas-decoration shop, where we would say hi to Ange and her dog.
52. How painful it was to watch Ash miss Neil, especially after the six-month mark.
53. How it felt to throw up on the way to the recording session for “It’s a Fire” with Rhiannon Giddens in Auckland.
54. How Ash learned to not fear riding his bicycle.
55. How I never learned the difference between all those fucking roundabouts in Hakwe’s Bay even though I drove on them 140 times.
56. How it felt to accept – eventually – that I had no idea when I’d ever go home.
57. How it felt to write “The Man Who Ate Too Much“, but more importantly, how it felt to play it that time in front of Jamie, and Kya, and Rosheen.
58. How it felt to say Fuck It I Live Here Now and to therefore buy by first cast iron frying pan. (Spoiler: it felt really, really good.)
59. How I perused the bookshelves of the Hill House rental, and decided to re-read “The Fountainhead” during lockdown to figure out what turned me on as a fifteen-year old.
60. How beautiful and profound it felt when Ash shed his fear and learned to swim.
61. How I slowly came back to my meditation practice.
62. How I learned to be a person who wakes up early.
63. How stupid it was to think that I had the bandwidth to tour in September, but also how typical of me. And how I’d probably do it all over again, because I was hungry for connection with my people.
64. How it felt to be brought into warm and loving homes: Kya’s, Lucy’s, Rosheen’s, Tanya’s, Lou’s, Lynda’s, Nick and Jude’s, Jamie’s, Cat’s, Lavina’s….
65. How almost everybody in New Zealand cooks and there’s very little take-out.
66. How the Kiwis do this weird thing where they don’t rinse the soap off their dishes when they’re handwashing, and how they’re kinda defensive about it.
67. How it feels to not see any of your belongings for so long. Or your old, intimate friends. Your family. Your home. Your clothes. Your books. Your music collection. Your piano. Your keepsakes. Your objects.
68. How it felt to see the stars at night on Magakuri Beach, the brightest I’ve ever seen.
69. How complicated it felt when Ash fell off his bike and broke his finger.
70. How a life of touring prepared me for this but I was still ill-prepared, because what the fuck could prepare me for this.
71. How the “There will Be No Intermission” Tour prepared me for this more than anything else, and how the words that I’d said to 100,000 people over the course of the year ricocheted back in my own head every night, and I had to believe them. Take the dark and make light. It’s just a Ride.
72. How radical compassion can actually get.
73. How I felt when I first set eyes on Waiheke Island.
74. How I felt inviting patrons over to my house for a party.
75. How I feel when I talk to my friends and family in the states.
76. How I’ve changed how I use social media over the course of the pandemic.
77. How it felt to absentee vote.
78. How Ash wouldn’t leave the rockpools that time.
79. How I decided to leave Hawke’s Bay and move to Waiheke.
80. How it felt to stay in touch with my close friends and to watch their lives unfolding so very differently from mine.
81. How it felt to create Christmas in New Zealand for Ash; how melancholy it was but also how simple and beautiful it was, how the village really encircled and took quiet, loving. care of him.
82. How it felt to talk to my friends with Ash-age kids in New York, locked down, in masks, with no school, for the third, fourth, fifth, tenth month.
83. How it felt to know my friends’ parents and grandparents were dying…alone.
84. How it felt to celebrate a New Year’s Eve moment absolutely alone for the first time in my life, with the exception of Ash breathing quietly in the bed upstairs.
85. How it felt to try to organize a dozen family relationships for a tiny kid through screens and speaker calls and the post office.
86. How it felt to take Ash to his first Waterslide park. His first circus. To a kid’s birthday pizza party. To a second birthday pizza party. A third. A fourth.
87. How excruciating it felt to lose the Pounamu necklace Kya gave me, and how I’ll always wonder where it went.
88. How the kindness and warmth of the people here in New Zealand gave me so much hope.
89. How it felt to get yelled at by New Zealand twitter for a couple days because of my tweet on inauguration day. How it felt to be told, by hundreds of Kiwis, to “go home, yankee”. How – after all the armor I’ve built – it stung more than I ever could have imagined.
90. How it felt when Neil came back after nine months away from Ash.
91. How writing in my head – this whole year – has been the one thing to keep me from completely losing my shit, and how I don’t need to write it all DOWN to “write”.
92. How writing is something I’m still hesitant to say I “do”, even though I make a LIVING writing, and even though I’ve written a goddamn best-selling book and I just know better. A lot of it has to do with identifying a musician, and I think some of it has to do with being partnered with Neil Gaiman.
93. How it felt to find out that I’d been here long enough to see the Feijoa fruits start to ripen….again.
94. How most people in my life don’t realize I run a multi-million-dollar-a-year business with a full-time staff and office.
95. How I don’t wear expensive clothes, or even clean clothes without holes….and maybe that’s why most people in my life don’t realize I run a multi-million-dollar-a-year business with a full-time staff and office?
96. How almost nobody in my social circle ever asks me how my business and staff are doing, and whether – or how – we are making due throughout Covid.
97. How it felt to learn the language and shape of the land in New Zealand.
98. How I’ve thought almost every day about cutting my hair short because brushing it every 4-5 days for fifteen minutes to get the dreads out is really a fucking pain.
99. How I’ve thought about getting a tattoo when I turn 50.
100. How important immersing myself in cold water has been, in order to practice discomfort and surrender.
101. How it felt to invite my patrons into my actual home, and how powerful my patreon community/family has become.
102. How I’ve thought about becoming a monk as soon as Ash is 18.
103. How I want to write my way out of confusion, and how I feel more like a writer now than I did before this year started, even though I’ve only been writing in my head.
104. How it felt to be so deeply welcomed here, when I was. And I was.
105. How it felt to be uninvited from certain people’s stories, and how hard it has been to make peace with that. And I have.
106. How it felt to be loved, when I found it. And I did.
107. How it feels to still be so far from home.
108. How “home” changed.
109. How I changed.
110. Who I am now.
That’ll be easy!!!!!
I’ll write one long existential essay a day – on each of these topics – for 111 days! Why not?? I HAVE SO MUCH TIME!!! omg, I can’t WAIT to get to the last one. Just….WHY. I’m gonna kill that essay.
Oh Shit Wait, I have no time.
I hung it up on the wall in my fifth New Zealand home, this drawing/list/calendar/terrifying artifact.
Maybe I’ll write all of this someday.
Or maybe…..I just did.
I know one thing I have learned and felt certain about, especially now: writing is the only way I’m going to get out of here.
A plane can’t take me there, darlings.
I am going to write my way out of this, and I’m going to take you with me.
That’s why I started this fucking patreon, so I could come here and write, with no boundaries.
This is also my way of saying, I’m going to be writing more and more, and when the things/posts/essays I write are long and take me a couple of days (this post wound up taking about 12 hours), I’m going to charge for it. Because I’m a writer. The patreon is always changing, and this is how it’s changing now. I need, need, need to write. I think I need to write A LOT.
I cannot tell you how much better I feel after writing this shit.
Better than anything.
I am bleeding. I know. It’s still triage-time. Accident-time. Still in trauma, more or less, still in shock. Go slow, Amanda.
But I know now, the ambulance is on the way.
You are the fucking ambulance, every one of you reading this.
You. You’re getting me out of here.
I see you.
I love you.
I hear your siren call.
Let’s see how fast this thing can go.
March 12th, 2020, first day in Auckland.
Yesterday, and Today.
And tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.
p.s. If you wind up inspired and making your own “DID THIS YEAR ACTUALLY HAPPEN” drawings, post them up on social media and tag me, and I made a shadowbox thread HERE. ..and you better tell me how it fucking felt, or I’ll kill you. I can only tell you, it was incredibly cathartic.
And I’m reading comments, always. Talka to me.
——THE NEVER-ENDING AS ALWAYS———
1. if you’re a patron, 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.
2. see All the Things (100+ of them) i’ve made so far using patreon:
3. JOIN THE SHADOWBOX COMMUNITY FORUM, find your people, and discuss everything: https://forum.theshadowbox.net/
4. 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/
5. general AFP/patreon-related questions? ask away, someone will answer: firstname.lastname@example.org