Taking the Flower: A Review of Amanda Palmer’s “The Art of Asking”

Photo courtesy of brainpickings.org

Photo courtesy of brainpickings.org

Amanda Palmer shows up in my dreams.

I don’t mean this in the weird-creepy-stalker way. She shows up almost like a fairy godmother…if fairy godmother’s were kickass ukelele-toting chicks in combat boots and kimonos.

Just last week, I dreamt that my husband and I had dinner with her and Neil Gaiman.

All this to say that I love her and what she does. Amanda, as far as I can see, is living authentically. That is rare. And it is so beautiful.

This beauty is captured in her book The Art of Asking. Here is my video review of the title:

Cliffs Notes on the video:
– This book is not a guide on how to ask for help, as I thought it might be. Rather it is a memoir where she tells her story of how she learned to ask through her adventures as an eight-foot bride, a musician with oodles of Twitter followers, and lots in between.  She leads by example, all while being honest with her doubts and vulnerabilities.

– I really dig what she does.

– This book came to me at such a great time, what with being a newlywed and starting to get my poetry and art off the ground and to the eyes of the public.

– I read an excerpt from her book that really stuck with me. Take the flower = take the donuts = graciously receive help in whatever form it takes

– Even if you don’t have tons of Twitter followers (I certainly don’t, and that’s OK!), you still have a community. And we all have enough when we pool our collective resources. If that’s your kind of message, then read The Art of Asking.

– If you are not able to afford a copy of the book (it can get pricey in hard cover), head over to Mass Mosaic. Tons of people are making copies available (myself included) and asking for copies. See? We have enough when we pool our collective resources 🙂

5 Writing Prompts to Get the Fire Going

My brilliant fellow poets in the MFA have their first packet of the semester due soon.  I know that the stress of a deadline sometimes creates writer’s block, so I’ve collected a few prompts from various sources to help ya’ll get un-stuck (or just for a fun exercise):

1. Write a poem answering the question: What would you find in your grandmother’s purse?

2. Think of a rule you grew up with.  Now, write a poem in which you break that rule.

3. Write about a body part without using its name or function.  For example, if you’re writing about the stomach, you cannot use the word “digest”.

These next two prompts riff off of poems by the poets featured in the last two “Poetry Monday”s: Michael and Matthew Dickman (yup, they’re brothers).

4. Write a poem answering the questions posed in Michael Dickman’s poem “Nervous System”: “When you look down/inside yourself/what is there?”

You can find the excerpt of the poem I generated this prompt from here.

5. Matthew Dickman’s poem “Grief” begins “When grief comes to you as a purple gorilla”. Use this statement as a starting point, but fill in the blanks for yourself: When _______ comes to you as a  __________   ___________ .

You can find the full text of his poem here.

Here’s to writing with plenty of fire!