Amanda Palmer (Rock star, performance artist, author. I love her.) recently published an open letter in response to a fan’s anxiety about the effect that Amanda’s burgeoning motherhood will have on her art. The fan worried that Amanda Palmer’s renegade method of freely asking fans to fund her projects would just raise money for her kid now. The fan evoked vague examples of other female artists whose work became less “gritty” as a result of motherhood.
See the original fan letter and Amanda Palmer’s gorgeous reply here.
Amanda Palmer doesn’t know me. She has this handled. She doesn’t need my advice.
Yet in our culture the symbol of motherhood weighs a ton. It’s impossible to carry. Through her essay, as badass and dedicated to her art as Amanda Palmer is, she is already wrestling the load onto her back.
I have no advice. I only have a personal experience that makes Amanda Palmer’s fan’s question seem like the lamentation of a pipsqueak.
I gave birth to my second daughter twelve years ago, with my own midwife and without painkillers of any kind. After the experience of no-filter childbirth, I became an artist. I’d always wanted to be a writer, but didn’t see the way to writing or publishing. I had resigned myself to being a writer without the courage to write.
Non-anesthetized childbirth broke me open like an egg. In the past twelve years, I’ve published over a dozen articles, several short stories, two poems, and two (two more forthcoming) novels. I’ve written three times as much.
Writing the true and the real and the “gritty” is what I do now. I wasn’t a writer before the youngest’s birth and life. I am a writer now. I don’t know why or how, but I do know that the Genesis of my life as a writer who writes began in the fullness of my experience of motherhood.
I take it back. I do have advice for Amanda: Drop the load.
Don’t believe the hype. Motherhood makes you more you, not less. The things you make will be more you than anything you made before. It’s going to be awesome.
Ignore the pipsqueaks.
Books I wrote. Click on the pics to check them out if you wish.