On The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

Selfie of me with the book.

Book review time!

On Wednesday, I finished The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. I was going to post a review that day, but as is obvious, I got a bit distracted by Ashley Mardell’s video. Hence, why I didn’t review the book then. Yesterday was just unproductive as a whole. It happens. Anyways, let’s talk about the book.

I thoroughly loved it. It was amazing. Amanda taught me so much just by sharing her life experiences and thoughts and I am eternally grateful to her for that. Thank you, Amanda. The book is a memoir type thing about how Amanda has achieved success through asking and crowdfunding. She was the first musician to raise a million dollars through Kickstarter and she regularly crashes on the couches of fans when she is touring. She relies very heavily on her community to help support her. She creates music and cultivates a good relationship with her fans and then they respond by helping when she asks for it.

The book is obviously more detailed, but that is the general gist-ish of the story she tells. But that isn’t the entirety of the moral of the story. Amanda isn’t sharing her life story just to make money. She is sharing her story because it teaches a very valuable lesson. It teaches you how to ask for help.

Often throughout the book, Amanda mentioned seeing other people and really connecting with them. It was a concept I had never really thought about before, but now I see the craving to be seen in myself and those around me. I recognize people seeing in me in my memories and interactions, but it doesn’t happen nearly as often as I would like. I feel like the best way to describe it without making you read her book is the feeling you get when you are hanging out with your very best friend. The feeling of someone seeing you and accepting you and loving you for just existing. It doesn’t have to happen around your best friend though. Amanda talks about the hundreds of people she connected with when she busked as the Eight Foot Bride. She was completely silent, but she connected with people over and over again as she handed them flowers.

This new concept of being seen is a key part of the book, but not all of it. I don’t want to ruin the story for you. Although, even if I did a full synopsis, I wouldn’t be able to compare to the raw energy, emotion, and connection that Amanda’s book provides. Reading Amanda’s book has created a strange half relationship between us, where I know all of these intimate things about her and her life and she knows literally nothing about me. Amanda, if you want to remedy this situation just let me know and I can share my story with you in the same way that you have so graciously and beautifully shared your story with me. Thank you Amanda, for writing this.

I completely recommend this book to anyone over the age of 15. I guess. It is a very heavy and thought provoking book. I’m not entirely sure anyone under the age of 15 would be able to entirely grasp the concepts, but I wouldn’t stop them from trying. I really loved it and now all my friends are going to harass me because I always say that I love everything, but, in that case, I need a stronger word. Because this book changed my life and the way that I look at the people around me. It was an eye-opening read. It was a book that opened me up to the people and the world around me and I would most definitely say this book has changed my life for the better.

Please, go check this book out. I checked mine out from the library. You can do that too and support your local library, or you can buy it at a local bookstore. Just go and read it. You will not regret it.

Have a wonderful night everyone and I look forward to hearing your responses to this amazing book.

-Alora

RE: I MESSED UP. (ABC’s of LGBT ‘Oops’ edition)

Hello guys. This blog post is in response to Ashley Mardell’s most recent video entitled I MESSED UP. (ABC’s of LGBT ‘Oops’ edition). This blog might make a bit more sense if you watch the video first because I want to address Ashley and Milo directly, but you obviously don’t have to watch the video or even read this blog if you don’t want to.

Now, let’s get down to business. First of all, Ashley and Milo, thank you for making this. I had some qualms about the gender episodes of this series as well, but I wasn’t sure how to voice them since I am a cis-girl and I wasn’t entirely sure my qualms were right. Ashley, I am glad that you are continuing your channel’s conversation on gender. I think it is very important for people to learn about the different possibilities for gender and sexuality. (This is not saying gender and sexuality have anything to do with each other.)

I am so happy that the internet has given people more opportunities to learn about the experiences of others. Blogs like this one and videos like yours enable us to share and connect with others. I think that is an important step in the growing understanding that the world is gaining about the LGBT community. People like Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner are helping bring the conversation about gender to the mainstream and I think both ladies are doing a wonderful job.

Ashley, your endscreen thoughts mentioned people calling the conversation around gender “so tumblr” and “social justice-y” and I completely understand and feel the same way you do about it. The purpose of this gender conversation is to help people who don’t fit into the gender binary gain recognition and, as you said, validation. It is rude to not use the correct pronouns for a person. I don’t care if you don’t believe that they are trans. I do not care if you don’t believe them. They have asked that you use she/her pronouns or he/him pronouns or they/them pronouns when referring to them and it is your job to be respectful and use their correct pronouns. Hint: their correct pronouns are the ones they told you to use.

Let’s bring out a hypothetical story. Say you have a friend, Nina. She is your best friend, and she just told you a huge secret: she was physically abused by her mother as a child. Now, this is a huge secret and she’s asked you not to tell anyone ever. I’m assuming that you would respect her wishes, and not tell anyone. Not even your other friends or parents. Now, how does this relate to pronouns, you ask?

Someone’s pronouns aren’t usually a secret, but they are still a request that someone is asking of you. You wouldn’t disrespect your friend Nina and tell all your friends she’s got “mommy issues,” and that’s why she’s “so crazy.” So why are some people so quick to disrespect others who asked them to use different pronouns than the ones that you think should apply to them.

Imagine you are a girl. You know in your heart that you are a girl, but you like to wear your hair short, and lots of pants, and baggy shirts. Because of this, people often call you “Young man” or refer to you using he/him pronouns. How would you feel if you told them, “Actually, I’m a girl,” and they didn’t believe you. They continued to call you “young man” and “son.” How would that make you feel? That’s how most trans people feel when you don’t use their correct pronouns.

Just from looking at someone. You do not know who they are or what they are. Your mind automatically assigns them to one of two gender boxes our society has created based on their outward appearance, but that box does not always apply to where they fall on the gender spectrum. They may fit into a different box, or they may fit into two or three boxes. Or maybe they don’t fit into any box. If they tell you what box they fit into or don’t fit into, then it is your job to respect them, if only as a person, and categorize them that way in your head. It can be difficult sometimes, but it is only human decency.

That is why it is completely ridiculous for people to call the conversation about gender “so tumblr” and “social justice-y.” These labels don’t really apply. Recognizing someone’s gender is human decency, not a stunt to be “as social justice-y as possible.” As you said in your video Ashley, the conversation about gender is to help people feel validated, and there is no downside to that. The validation of one person does not affect your validation. Not one bit.

Please, readers, remember that people are people, no matter their gender or sexuality and people deserve the basic respect that you would give another human. Now go forth and learn more about gender. There are hundreds of wonderful resources that can teach you about the intricacies of gender and gender expression.

What questions do you have on gender? What are your thoughts on gender expression and pronouns? Did I make a mistake in my explanation? Please comment below, and we can continue the discussion.

I’ll see you down in the comments.

-Alora

A Day Spent on Minecraft

pic of Maxwell, Brittan, and I playing Minecraft
Good day to you.
Today, I spent most of the day playing Minecraft with my siblings. We have a world that we all play on together and the goal is to beat the game this summer. We’ve made quite a bit of progress. We have a ton of diamonds, emeralds, iron, and other resources. We have a portal to the Nether and we have found a nether fortress. The “goal” of the game is to defeat the Wither and then defeat the Ender Dragon. We are pretty close to defeating the Wither. Well, to building the Wither. Also, we almost found the portal to the End where the Ender Dragon lives. We have a huge house with a barn for animals and a farm. It’s a fun world. The four of us have spent a lot of time on it: mining, farming and building. I am very proud of what we’ve accomplished. Though it is kind of what I did all day.
Minecraft is a fun game. It is a a simple sandbox game where you can build so much and it is really easy to play with family. I’m not quite sure what else to say. I don’t want to bore people and my day also wasn’t super productive.
Brittan and I did go out before we started playing. We went to the bank and then we went to Target! I got a fancy adventure watch. I can’t use my phone to tell the time while I’m working because it’s unprofessional and there isn’t a clock nearby, but I now have a watch and I can keep track of the time. It’ll help me tonight. Brittan and I are going in to work soon and we’re working until closing. It’s going to be rough.
I’m hoping to finish The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer tomorrow and then I’ll post a review of it here. I haven’t written anything besides this today. My goals are going to be harder to keep than I thought. Maybe I’ll have a chance to write after I get home from work, but I doubt it.

Have a good evening everyone.
-Alora
(The picture is of Brittan, Maxwell, and I playing Minecraft.)

Summer Goals of 2k15

My feet in the summer grass.

Hello all and welcome to June!
It is a new month and I’ve decided to set some goals. I do not want to have an aimless summer. I have things I want to do and I will get them done.

Goal 1:

Catch up on the 50 book challenge. According to my calculations, I am 17 books behind. If I read two and a half books every week, from now until September, I will be caught up. Then I just have to read a book a week during the semester. I’m hoping this goal will help get me back in the habit of reading for fun instead of spending a lot of time on the internet.


Goal 2:

Write every day. From now until at least September, I want to get back into the habit of writing everyday. Even if it is only a small amount, I want to get back into the habit of it. I’m not talking about plain blog posts either. I want to work on my creative writing everyday.


Goal 3:

Finish Complete Immersion. Period. I have been working on this book since July 2013. It is time to finish it and move onto something else. I have other novels that I want to write, but I don’t want to leave unfinished projects laying around.


Goal 4:

Catch up on my word count goal. In January, I set a yearly word count goal of 200,000 words in 2015. I am drastically behind on this and I want to catch up. My blog posts will help beef that up along with daily writing. I can do this. It will just take work to pump the numbers up to where I want them.


Goal 5:

Keep up with this blog. I probably won’t be blogging everyday, but I put WordPress on here for the express purpose of blogging more. WordPress is easier and faster than writing everything in html on my computer and the pushing it up to the git repository and then asking Dad to push it up to the website. These posts go up automatically. It’s much easier.



So I guess that’s it for my list of goals. Five in total. It looks a bit daunting, but I’m only working five or six hour shifts at Pie Five, so I have plenty of free time to get this done. I didn’t even touch on my YouTube channels. I have really been falling behind on those. Being home for the summer with your family is distracting.

What are your summer goals? Tell me down in the comments and we can have a conversation.

I’ll talk to ya’ll soon. 😀

-Alora

(Photo credit goes to me.)

And I am Back to Blogging

Hello all,
I haven’t blogged in many months, but this is my third blog and I plan to keep up with it. I want to share my life and thoughts with the universe. Nowadays I usually do that in the form of a YouTube video, but sometimes that just takes way too long that’s why this is here. I got this blog together today and WordPress can be a pain so please cut me some slack if it is hard to get around for a while.
I’ve had a few blogs in the past and I will link to them in the future, but it’s late and they aren’t well organized, so it might be a while. I plan on blogging about my adventures and my life and thoughts and things. It may take a while for any quality content to appear, but that’s to be expected.
Now that most people have left out of boredom, I should probably introduce myself. My name is Alora and welcome to my blog.
Cute selife of me
I’m 17 and a senior in college. I’m starting my fourth year in the fall and I’m kind of terrified. I’m currently working a summer job making pizzas. My summer goals are to read a bunch of books. I’m trying to do the 50 book challenge this year, but I’ve fallen behind, a lot, so I need to fix that.

Also, I want to finish my own book. I have a draft of a novel that I’m currently revising and I want to get it into good shape. I haven’t worked on it since I got home from school, but whatever. I’ll start tomorrow. 😛

Other than that I want to finish unpacking my stuff from school and go to bed. I still have a few packed up boxes and I am very tired. We helped some friends move into a new apartment today. It was rough. That’s why this blog is a bit hard to understand at the moment.
Okie dokie. I’m going to finish this up, but I need a good closing statement.

‘Night nerds.
-Alora