Fast-forward to when a dear friend, Damien, gave me a mix CD for my birthday, because we are soul sisters when it comes to that sort of thing (she was also one of the inspirations behind Crowley, and if you're reading this, Damien, I love you dearly). On it was a song called "Half Jack" by - oh hey, those Dresden Dolls again. It started out quiet and sinister and sad and turned into this absolute cacophony of anger and pain and desperation, and I thought I'd never heard human emotion turned into song so well in my life. I had to find more. So I went to their website, and magically, they offered some of their stuff for free, because they believed in that sort of thing. I devoured it all, and fell in love with the lead singer, pianist, and lyricist, as much as you can fall in love in that idealistic sort of way. (Well, maybe not quite as much as I'd fallen in love with Danny Elfman, but she's a close second. If she ever reads this, I hope she knows that's pretty damn high praise in my book.)
Amanda's music is not for everyone. And she is one hundred percent okay with this. She creates what she wants to create, she is equally tender and vicious, and that really touches me: the thought that someone can both be empathetic and angry as hell, honest and raw and sweet. She makes music for people with artistic souls: she gets what it means to be creative, how it feels.
She also broke away from her major label after it treated her like crap, and is now supported almost entirely by her fans. When the story of this got out, she did a little thing called a TED Talk, and titled it "The Art of Asking". You can watch it here. I highly recommend that you do. It only takes twelve minutes out of your day, and it will change how you think about busking, art, artists, giving, and human connection. I'd already had some of the ideas she set forth in this talk, but hearing them validated by an artist I admired so much set off something inside me. It lit a candle. And now I feel like a lantern. I have light worth reading by.
The point is, long story short (too late?), that I know that my writing and my art have worth, far beyond the $16 or $3.99 per book. That worth is the look on people's faces when they say "You wrote a book? Wow!", the handwritten note from my neighbor which says "You are amazing Angela! Thanks for sharing", and most importantly, the young people who have approached me, online and at signings, to say that it is their absolute dream to write, and ask how to do what I have done. My writing has the greatest worth of all, because it is my calling. It is what I was meant to do: not sit in front of a desk quality-checking data and writing procedures.
I want to be able to spend my entire life doing this, as much as I can. I want to give you places to escape to, characters to befriend, stories that resonate. And I'm realizing that I cannot do that in a larger capacity without your help.
The best thing about all of this? If you and I spread the word, and enough people are kind enough to help me, I won't have to sit in front of a desk, quality-checking data and writing procedures. Instead, I can sit in front of a desk writing beautiful, terrible, real-as-life things and sharing them with all of you. I can spend more time connecting with all of you, hearing what you love, what you want to see, telling you how much I appreciate you ... getting to know you.
Art has always had the deepest purpose of bringing people together, of telling them something about each other and about the world... of bringing solace and joy in times when it is needed. I think we're going to need an awful lot of that in the years to come, and I can think of no better thing to support than the nurturing of the human soul. I've pledged what I can to Amanda, and when a friend begins his own Patreon next year, I'll be pledging to him, too, and as many others as I can.
If you've been moved by what I've written, I ask you as humbly as I can: please come and be my patron and my friend. We can do great things together.
Until next time, I remain your hostess,