THE ART OF ASKING: November 11, 2014

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SAVE THE DATE.

On November 11th of 2014, Amanda Palmer’s new novel The Art of Asking is coming out. It is not available on Amazon, but you can preorder it here. She will also be doing a book tour.

If you haven’t heard of Amanda Palmer before, you have been missing out on one helluva-woman. She has worked hard to become a great musician, as well as succeed in the music industry without losing her soul.

This book has been a long time coming since her Ted Talk on discovering how to move through the music industry by accepting help from her fans. Trusting her supporters and creating a lasting relationship with them on stage changed the way she produced music, and the way she moved through life in general.

A few of my favorite songs of Amanda’s include “Missed Me”, “The Killing Type”, and “Girl Anachronism”. Not to mention “The Bed Song” and “Do You Swear to Tell the Truth The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth”. Just all of it. Go listen to all of it. She’s got a unique sound, a big heart, and a world perspective that leaks into all of her music.

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I freaked out when I saw this.

She goes out of her way to try to connect with her fans, including being extremely active on Twitter. Apparently, she wasn’t always that way according to this blog she wrote on hitting a million followers. She often does random Ask Amanda sessions and announces spontaneous concert times and venues. Even throughout her book-writing journey, she asked her supporters for help when she was stuck.

But what I like most about Amanda is she is unapologetically and tragically real. I have never met Amanda before, or even been to one of her concerts (despite various efforts), but through her music and her social media presence, I have fallen in love with her. And she doesn’t know me, and she may never know me, but she cares about me. It’s an unspoken understanding she has with, I would venture to guess, all her fans.

And so, I support her in whatever ways I can. And today that means spreading the word about her new novel coming out. Watch the Ted Talk, and if you like it, buy the book. Support her if her like what she does, and practice literary citizenship. Because if we aren’t there for each other, who will be?

Acts of Literary Citizenship: A Twitter Adventure

For the past week, Haley Muench and I were put in charge (yikes) of the @LitCitizen twitter account.

Running social media for myself is one thing. Running a Twitter account for a broad concept which has a strong community is quite another. We needed a plan. We needed to figure out what the community wanted to know about, what they wanted to know from us.

Have you ever tried to figure out what people you haven’t even met want from you? It’s some pretty difficult stuff.

Then, we thought of Acts of Literary Citizenship. These are actions that people can take to show their dedication and passion for the literary world. After all, what good is a passion for something if it isn’t shared?

As our professor, Cathy Day‘s, class has evolved,  a list of about 40 Literary Citizenship Acts were already compiled. We added about 10 more due to our twitter experiment, and I think they are pretty brilliant.

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Just think.

If people would do one of these acts once a month, the entire literary world would benefit. Being a writer myself, I understand how vital having a supportive community can be. So many writers give up on dreams (and possibly extremely wonderful books) because they feel like they don’t have a shot. All it takes is one person to say, “Hey, this doesn’t suck.”

Literary citizens and these acts of literary citizenship could change the life of an author (and therefore the life of a book).

Thanks to the wonderful additions to our list from our witty followers, we are now up to 50 Acts of Literary Citizenship. As a class, we hope to have 100 by the end of the semester. Which means, we may need your help. If you have an action that would help spread the word about authors, books, artists, or freaks, let us know in the comments below.

We’d love to hear from you.

Help Artists be Artists, but Keep Your Secrets

Artists need other artists. We just do. Otherwise, who else will encourage us to drop everything we’re doing and chase a caravan of gypsies? Or buy a cat for the sole reason that when it walks across the keyboard, maybe it will come up with something brilliant?

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This is the one I chose. A little useless, but he’ll get the hang of it.

Literary citizenship is about helping artists be artists. We need support. Without it, too many promising people give up on their dreams. In order to support those people, we have to speak out! Talk about the anchor sculpture made of chewed gum and the book that made you cry.

As a senior in college, I have accepted my fate as a confused and lost soul in the world of politics and rules and professionalism (but I’m very capable). I am in the reminiscence stage, remembering what I’ve learned and where I have come from. One of the greatest memories I have is of creative writing workshops in class. Other writers, just like myself (meaning new and still gooey), would tell me all kinds of skills to improve and techniques to try. The realization that outside of the University no one cares dawned on me pretty quickly.

What will I do without my classroom full of wonderful minds to help me sculpt and pick and sift through my work?! How will I survive?! BUT WAIT, there’s Social Media. And of course books such as Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon.

Literary citizenship is about being connected. TALK to people on the Internet and try to help them with whatever it is they need help with. Share techniques and ideas and motivation. SHARE ALL THE THINGS.

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Except maybe your secrets. Keep your secrets. Keep the tricks that make your craft soar. Keep it secret. Keep it safe.

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