When I talk to people I often mention Amanda Palmer in a number of various situations. Those who know me, usually know who she is after a while. More often though people ask - who is she? And why does she mean so much to you?
So I caught myself several times babbling weird shit which altogether sounded as if I am a member of some cult and didn’t deliver the message. I realised also that actually I don’t know the answer myself. I decided to take a dive into my brain and soul and answer it - for myself mostly.
Hello, Vera. I am Vera, I am 30 and I live in Moscow, Russia. I do photos, videos and letters to make a living.
And Amanda Palmer is 39 and she lives in the US. She does music and all kind of art for a living. She also wrote a book, did an awesome TED talk and an endless line of crazy artsy projects, has the awesomest fan crowd and her husband is Neil Gaiman. She also has a cute baby-son now.
Well, one can simply says Vera is Amanda Palmer’s fan. I took part in her Kickstarter campaign, I am her supporter at Patreon. I have a book signed by her. I was at some events she held. So I am. But when it comes to the concept of being Amanda’s fan, things become complicated in a very weird way. Fuck, no, we are a weird company. And I like it.
Amanda talks to her fans for a start. So they are not a nameless crowd, but a bunch (quite big) of individuals. And she hears them, she sees them, she makes them feel real and human. She connects with them.
Often people just enjoy it. Often they give her hugs, tears, smiles, words, things, ukuleles whatever. Sometimes they tend to mistake this connection for friendship and start seek for attention or throw accusations and stop being fans. Sometimes people shyly and silently marvel from shadows. Sometimes they collaborate with her. Sometimes they really become friends. Well, it’s just life, many layered, thick, full of surprises and spontaneous turns.
I just watched another video with Amanda on Patreon, I showed it to my friend who interviewed me before. In this interview I told my friend about Amanda, book, TED, art, real-ness, death, stuff. My friend got extremely inspired with all that, so she read a book, watched ted and recently she interviewed Amanda herself for her online-artblog-project. Amanda calls this “connecting the dots”. I feel that I was connecting the dots all my life. Connecting myself with people, people with people, people with books, movies, art, thoughts, whatever, recognising patterns, marvelling at coincidences. Usually it goes smoothly. Though I had some ugly experiences when I was younger and more maximalist kind of a person. Dots didn’t connect and I felt guilty.
I also just watched a 1999 interview of Amanda with Lee of Cloud Club. It is so funny, Amanda is 23 there, so young, so different, but so the same.
My copy of the Art of Asking was read already by several people here in Russia who borrowed it from me. The book is in Thailand now, a friend borrowed it for vacation.
We also have a Russian edition which is good of course, but translation is poor and it makes the book quite unreadable. Also there is a typo right away on the first page of the book (in the word “love”, duh). I wanted so much to gift people I love but who don’t speak English with this book for New Years Eve. But this is not happening.
(A couple of days ago I came back home from a three weeks internet-less journey in Cuba. Among many books I read during this retreat was “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown. First two days I fought with e-mail inbox monsters. Today I read through all those new posts on Patreon which Amanda wrote during those weeks.
And I felt so overwhelmed with feelings of all different kinds. So I decided it is a good moment to just sit and write something.)
This paragraph above was written in Semtember, so you see, this message was in the pot for quite a while. Now it’s Christmas Eve, but I sit and write it, because we don’t celebrate Catholic Christmas here in Russia.
So who is Amanda Palmer to me?
I still don’t know but I have some ideas. It is weird. But beautiful I think.
So she is not my role-model, not my guru, not the ideal person, not my hero on the pedestal, not my friend, not someone whom I want to be. She is just Amanda Palmer.
Amanda Palmer to me is inspiration and endless provider of questions which are sometimes uncomfortable and answers that are sometimes scary.
Amanda Palmer to me is the one who is not afraid to hug and look into your eyes. And smile. Or cry.
Amanda Palmer to me is someone who goes fiercely right into the heart of all life, death, love, fear, art, self-search and all that shit.
Amanda Palmer to me is someone I learn from a lot.
Amanda Palmer to me is someone who makes me respect and love and admire Neil Gaiman even more (my humble opinion is that those two seriously pimped up each others art in a very unique and gaimanesque-afpesque way).
Amanda Palmer to me is a reason why I met people who have a huge place in my heart now. And a few of them I have an honor to call friends.
Amanda Palmer to me is a person who has a courage to change herself and wholeheartedly change her opinions. In Russia we have a saying: People who never change their mind on things are fools or dead.
Amanda Palmer to me is the person who connects dots and makes me weeee happy when she connects with other people whom I admire like Neil (obbbbbviously), another Neil (the one Degrasse Tyson), Chris Hadfield, Brene Brown, Maria Popova, Jason Webley and others.
Amanda Palmer to me is a person who writes the blog which is perfect for me - flow of all stuff possible, questions, discussions, ups and downs, doubts
Amanda Palmer to me is a person who lets me be… well me, my very own imperfect self. And to be ok with the idea that me is me, she is she, other person is other person.
And for about 4 or 5 years I am grateful to Amanda for being herself and sharing lights and darks of her journey. Thank you, Amanda. With all my heart.
I still feel that everything I wrote above is kinda nonsense and babbling, but I did write it anyway.
And… if you are Amanda and you read it. I want to specifically thank you for letting me meet Anthony. I miss him too.
Merry Christmas to you. Hope we will meet again some day. Love.
Here is a list of things I decided to attach to everything I write above. Read it or at least scroll through. It may be interesting for you, whoever you are.
- open letter by Amanda to a worried fan (published at Medium)
- how I met Neil Gaiman in Stockholm
- how I read Anthony’s book
- how I wrote the tribute to Anthony Martignetti
- how my friend interviewed Amanda Palmer (in Russian and English)
- how can you also join those who love Brene Brown researches
- how you can listen to Maria Popova of brain pickings talking to Amanda about stuff from “The Art of Asking book”
- how I shot almost a whole night long book pre-release signing parade mayhem thing in Cambridge
- how I shot 11/11 book release gig event in Boston
- here is a couple of pictures of Amanda and Jason during the Bed Show afterparty at Summinski Innski