– 26: The Art (and Power) of Asking with Amanda Palmer

Today my guest is Amanda Palmer.
Amanda Palmer is a rock star, former street performer, and a crowdfunding pioneer, who knows all about asking. Performing as a living statue in a wedding dress, she wordlessly asked thousands of passersby for their dollars.

After creating the world's most successful music Kickstarter campaign for her album with the Grand Theft Orchestra, she has written a book titled: The Art of Asking: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help. In her new memoir she tells the story of an artist struggling with the new rules of exchange in the twenty-first century and inspires readers to rethink their own ideas about asking, giving, art and love.

There are so many cool things about this woman – not least of which is her post-modern retro punk cabaret band called the Dresden Dolls. She is also married to Neil Gaiman, my favorite comic book illustrator and writer of all things. But perhaps what I love the most about Amanda Palmer is the fact that her nickname is Amanda Fucking Palmer – somehow it just feels right!

In today’s episode, Amanda and I spoke about:

The Art of Asking and how she learned this art
A constant theme in her life: balancing vulnerability with control
Dealing with the fear of rejection – and how to ask anyway
Relationship based communication and the need to still ask for help
The Art of Receiving as an integral part of the ask


Here is my conversation “The Art (and Power) of Asking” with the wildly inspirational: Amanda Fucking Palmer.
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Hi, welcome Amanda. How are you?

Amanda Palmer: I’m wonderful, how are you?

CP: I’m a little bit outside myself, because I feel like I’ve been stalking you a little bit. [Laughs]

AP: [Laughs]

CP: So I’m so excited. For the listeners who are tuning in here, this is my first time really talking to Amanda. I think we spoke for a half a minute prior to this, and I’ve been “reading” your book—I’m saying that in quotes here because I love to listen to books on audio—

AP: Oh, great!

CP: Yes, and I want to say that I’m promoting the audio version of The Art of Asking, because there’s so much in there that’s not in the book. I feel like I’ve really gotten to know you through it, and your voice. So I feel an intimacy.

AP: Yes, it’s really nice, as a musician, to put out an audio book, because that’s my medium. That’s what I’m used to, and it’s really nice to add the music and the songs to weave within the story. They really belong there.

CP: I love that you sang your intro. It was fabulous.

AP: [Laughs]

CP: [Laughs] It was so great!

AP: Thank you. I’m glad you like it.

CP: I just thought it was so unique, and you—just by way of full disclosure, I’m just going to get this out here now so we can get the stalking vibration out. I am also a huge fan—when I was in college, it was Love and Rockets and The Sandman. I mean, that was my deal. So [I’m a] huge fan of your husband, Neil Gaiman, and his work. And when I saw you coming forward on the fabulous TED talk, and I realized who you were, I was like, “Oh my God.” Can you be in love with a couple?

AP: Totally! If your polyamorous.

CP: Right? So I was in love with Neil, and now I’m in love with you, and the two of you together just makes so much groovy sense, it’s off the charts. I feel especially honored today.

AP: Thank you. It makes me really happy when people love Neil’s work, because I love him. And the really lucky thing was I wasn’t a Neil Gaiman fan, and I think that might have been a deal breaker. So I got to fall in love with the weird guy, not The Sandman author. [Laughs] I had to catch up.

CP: Right. Oh, great. What I thought we would start with today is maybe a little background on how you came into this work. I know a lot of this stems from your experience as a traveling musician and a performing artist, but the work I’m referring to is this art of ask…