J. Huffman, Editrix
So there are people that come into your life, even virtually, that you just have to give credit where credit is due.  I admire many people for who and what they are, what they do, create, produce, mimic...for sharing their passions with the world.  I am, if nothing else, the ultimate audience - I may not be able to sing or draw or any of it, but I know how to be appreciative of whatever it is.  Words, music, glass, metal, dance - show me your passion and I'll show you my gratitude.  I will be awed by your drive, I will be motivated by your love, I will praise your vision.  I will do so with honesty, because I believe strongly that being granted audience is a gift you share with me.  I do not take that lightly.

However one person has had such an impact on me (and not in the way that, perhaps, she's had on most others) that I feel like I have to get it out there into the universe.  Maybe she'll read it, maybe not.  The intent is what is important here, and the conveyance thereof.

I was introduced to a band named the Dresden Dolls by way of a friend and a seedy bar that I used to frequent.  "Coin-Operated Boy", for those of you wondering the actual tune...there's something about that song that just kind of took hold and enjoys rattling around in my brain.  Tangentally, I am friends with Kyle Cassidy on LiveJournal (http://kylecassidy.livejournal.com/), who, around the same time, started talking about something special coming...the "Who Killed Amanda Palmer" book.  Suffice it to say that I thought I'd do some poking around to find out who Amanda Palmer really was (oh, look, she's the lead singer of the Dresden Dolls!  How the hell did I miss that?), because I cannot tell you how much I love WKAP.  A delightful collaboration and so not the point of this story!  Sorry about that.

I figure out that the lovely and talented Amanda Palmer has a blog (http://blog.amandapalmer.net) and a twitter or two (@amandapalmer).  So I started reading....and reading....and to what do my wondering eyes did appear?  This beautiful passionate riotous colorful lady that is the champion of being true to your fucking self.  Reading her blog brought clarity to my brain in a way nothing ever could.  This woman is really a self-made wonder.  She's taken what she loves and danced with it.  Also, she's done a great deal of it publicly - she cheers on her comrades, loves her fiancee (who else could be fierce enough to be wed to Neil Gaiman?), curses foully and with aplomb, shares stories of girly woes and infections.  But you know what?  The whole of her, what she shared with me as a reader, made me want to follow my bliss into this editorial jaunt.   Not because her music inspired me, and that might be what sets me apart from her fans...I don't know - I am devoted to her as a writer, showering her readers with the tales a real human being with foibles and sadness and laughter who is living the dream (or close to, at any rate).  It's because of how she told the story of who she has become.  Because she lives to achieve her dreams so she just throws herself into them.  With abandon, with the love and support of her fans, with borrowed keyboards and couch-surfing, she's told the story of being Amanda Fucking Palmer.  She doesn't apologize nor quibble - she just is.  Win, fail or draw, she's full of passion and drive and an unerring ability to just keep ushering the next big thing, all the while being gracious and brutally honest.  She loves the people that have supported her and all of her endeavors, and she makes that perfectly clear, as well. 

I think that mostly I owe Ms. Palmer a debt of unending gratitude for reminding me that DISCOVERING what want to be when you grow up is the major hurdle...doing what you love will come naturally after that.  Sure, you'll have to work hard and make a good name for yourself, be true to your people and your deadlines, and you'll be overwhelmed and tired and irritable sometimes.  But you will also find immense joy, astounding supporters, and a happiness that only living your passion can bring.  You may not be able to live like a king, hell, you may have to survive on the kindness of strangers...but that kindness is always there, if you know how to ask for it.  Or are humble enough to ask for it and full of enough grace to appreciate it with your whole heart.

So, to you, Amanda Fucking Palmer, I tip my imaginary hat.  I hope that sometime you will read this and understand that I would not be in the middle of remaking my life into something that I had once only toyed with the notion of becoming had it not been for you.  For you telling me in no uncertain terms that while it's great to dream, it's even better to chase that dream and sculpt it into whatever works.  It takes some guts, some words, some music and some support along the way but that it can be done.  And it can be beautiful.

Thank you.

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    About Jenna:

    I love books.  Deeply, passionately, and above almost all else.  Let me help you by editing your book!  jjh.edits@gmail.com