I won this book through a giveaway on Goodreads.
Prior to reading The Art of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help, I knew exactly two things about Amanda Palmer: she wrote & sang the hysterical song “Coin Operated Boy”, which a friend recommended to me years ago. And two, she’s married to (and recently procreated with), one of my favorite authors: Neil Gaiman. After reading this book, I feel like I know her much, much better — and really respect her abilities as an artist.
“Asking for help with shame says:
You have the power over me.
Asking with condescension says:
I have the power over you.
But asking for help with gratitude says:
We have the power to help each other.”
Amanda Palmer always knew she wanted to be an artist. One of her first roles was self-created — she dressed up as a bride, painted her face white and stood on a milk crate in a park. For hours a day, she acted as a living statue — only moving to hand out flowers to people who donated money. She found a lot of freedom and meaning in this role, and it influenced all of the other artistic roles she’s made since: singer, writer, painter, actor — not to mention her pretty significant media presence (I don’t do the Twitter, but apparently she does, and in a big way). The book dissects what asking means — how people are afraid to ask for help, but will almost always help someone who asks. She discusses her relationship with Neil Gaiman, an extremely successful and popular author, and how she has difficultly asking him for things, whether it’s a loan or a hug. She also talks about her relationship with her fans — how she tries to give back as much or more as she takes.
A lot of the book sort of rambles, or repeats itself, but Palmer’s writing style is so relaxed that it’s enjoyable rather than annoying. I was expecting it to be more self-help-y, but it’s really more of her own exploration of herself, and the reader is just along for the ride.