Amanda Palmer on Creativity, Pain, and Art – The Tim Ferriss Show

Key Takeaways

  • Be vulnerable and share your pain with the world
    • You never know who’s going through something similar
  • A great quote to live by – “If you don’t deal with your demons, they go into the cellar of your soul and lift weights”
  • “You can use your pain without allowing your pain to use you”
  • The internet is changing what it means to be an artist
    • Sites like Patreon make if possible for content creators to support themselves by sharing art with their fans for tiered supporter contributions

Intro

  • Amanda Palmer (@amandapalmer) is a singer, songwriter, playwright, pianist, author, director, blogger, and ukulele enthusiast who simultaneously embraces and explodes traditional frameworks of music, theatre, and art.

Books Mentioned

Share Your Pain

  • Through many interviews and conversations with the media, Amanda mentions how journalists usually stay in the shallow and avoid deep or rough subjects
    • Amanda says there’s something “delicious” about bearing one’s struggles and talking about pain, grief, shame, etc.
  • A story:
    • While Amanda was pregnant she made an appointment for a prenatal massage
    • However, she soon learned the baby’s heart had stopped and that she was going to have a miscarriage – she went to the massage appointment anyway
      • She was truthful, and although uncomfortable, told her masseuse the that she was going to have a miscarriage – the masseuse was glad Amanda was brave enough to share that information, because the masseuse had recently had a miscarriage herself
  • When Amanda was having her miscarriage, she decided she was brave and strong enough to face the situation herself instead of going to a hospital and being surrounded by strangers during this intimate moment
    • Amanda says she – “had a bath, stared death in the face, went to bed, and woke up feeling like the most powerful version of myself”
      • She adds that it was a dark moment and was far from fantastic, but it was also “one of the most powerful experiences of my life”
  • Most women don’t openly talk about the pain they have gone through during their lives, but almost every woman Amanda has talked with has experienced some sort of trauma
    • Talking about your pain helps relieve some of it, builds a connection, demonstrates that women can survive and endure the most difficult of times, and what you’ll often find – other women have gone through similar experiences
    • “We are scolded by society to keep this stuff under wraps because it’s not part of the cultural conversation, but it is, it’s part of culture, it’s happening every day as we speak”
      • Amanda heals her grief and pain by sharing it in conversations – “I’ll talk to anyone about anything. I find it really gratifying. I find it constantly healing.”
  • Men get credit for experiencing the pain and violence of war, but women don’t get much credit for dealing with the pain of abortions and stillbirths…of having grown something only to watch it die
  • A great quote to live by – “If you don’t deal with your demons, they go into the cellar of your soul and lift weights”

Pain is Not A Requirement For Art

  • A lot of artists believe that if they heal the pain they experienced as a child, their creativity and art will diminish – Amanda thinks this is a tyrannical myth
    • Because of this myth, many artists hold tight to their pain and suffering
    • Pain may be valuable in the beginning when entering the art world, but over time, artists should share their pain with others and begin the healing process
      • “You can use your pain without allowing your pain to use you” – Tim
  • Tim recommends the book Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach for help dealing with and healing your personal pain

Seek Artistic Freedom

  • The internet has allowed many people to become artists by selling their creative work, but also by simply giving their work out for free and being supported completely by donations
    • Amanda uses Pateron and has over 15,000 supporters – instead of worrying about deadlines or if she will have money to support herself, she makes her art freely and shares it directly with her fans– “It feels like the apex of artistic freedom”
      • Amanda also makes the art as affordable as possible, her newest album is only $1 – Amanda’s metric for success for her new record is not how many copies are sold, but how many people cry when they hear her music
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