Last week was the TED Conference and all everyone could talk about on social media was Amanda Palmer. Her TEDTalk is amazing and inspiring and a really good investment of your 13 minutes to watch. It got me thinking about asking which lead to thinking about giving- the two sides of the coin (pun intended).
Amanda talked about artists giving their gifts to the world and then asking those that are truly touched to give back so they can do more art or simply make a living. Being able to express one's art is a gift, being asked to give a TEDTalk is a gift, being inspired by someone's message is a gift, having good fortune and ability to give money is a gift, and appreciation expressed and received is a gift.
Asking isn't easy. Creating art that doesn't get out into the world is worse. And yes, not wanting to give for whatever reason is uncomfortable. All of the commerce of art is weird and no one's got it all figured out.
I say: create art and don't be embarrassed to ask for contributions, but don't judge if folks don't give. Give if the art touches you but don't be resentful or feel pressured into giving if you're asked and it doesn't feel right. Let's all appreciate whatever form each individual's work takes. Some people have a job, some create art, some both, some neither, each of us is trying to be happy while getting our gifts into the world. Sometimes it's lawyering, teaching, creating art, banking, homemaking... let's all just see, acknowledge, and honor each other along the way.
If you are in a position where you'd love to give to an artist but you yourself have limited resources you can always: offer a review of your favorite writer's book, promote a local band on FB to your friends, pin/like/tweet your friends' art on social media, send them a note of encouragement for following their dreams, pass on their TEDTalk...
Making this personal to what I think is my art / gift / message to the world I'm following Amanda's lead and offering my next workshop, on March 16th, at pay what you'd like fee. You can donate to the Joy Fund (a totally made-up for-profit experiment) whatever you'd like. This is what I have to offer up, is worthy of my life's work, and believe touches the people that participate. But, if you're reading this and have taken anything else from my writings or projects but not interested in coming to the workshop, I'm happy to receive your offerings for those too :)
More art, more giving, more receiving, more connecting to each other sounds like pure Joy to ME!
(Simply enter the amount you'd like to give and indicate if you'll be "joining" or "skipping" the workshop.)
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