Good morning! Or afternoon, or evening or whatever it is for you.
I’m in Sydney, Australia, sitting in a living room in a house filled with international surfers who are speaking Portuguese and German. The view from this house is incredible, it reminds me that being next to the ocean makes me a better person. Waves and rocks and ocean wind. Horizon without obstruction. Nature being itself; powerful, ever changing, intense.
I came here on Wednesday to rap with Amanda Palmer at the Sydney Opera House.
This is what I look like while waiting for a suitcase.
I had some very sparkly ladies on stage with me, they worked out a whole dance to ‘Map of Tasmania’ and included some special moves for my rap.
My very favorite part of the evening is that Neil Gaiman paid me a compliment. It isn’t the first compliment Neil has ever paid me, but this one was special. As a writer, and a lover of language, Neil is someone who knows the value of words. He is not given to hyperbole the way that most of us are. He does not describe everything as “epic” or “amazing” or “fantastic” (I describe things that way all the time – I have become stuck in the tantalizing honey of the hyperbole trap of our modern culture.) Neil says things are ‘nice’ or ‘rather nice’ or ‘lovely.’ He talks the same way he reads, in a very deliberate way. He uses words the way they are meant to be used, to mean the things they actually mean and he is very easy to understand.
But after our gig at the Sydney opera House Neil said,
“I really enjoyed your rap tonight. You killed it.”
And I was so flattered and flustered that I said something like, “Thank you. I had fun killing it. Killing is fun. I like killing…”
Last night Amanda and I played a very special house show for about 40 people. It as intimate and rare and great. Before we played we ate and everyone went around the table and introduced themselves. Amanda said we should all state our deepest fear as well. And that was brilliant, it made us all vulnerable and powerful at the same time.
The concept of a ‘deepest fear’ is interesting. There are so many to choose from: visceral, physical, animal instinct kind of fears, like the fear of spiders or being eaten alive by lions (one of mine.)
Or emotional, philosophical, modern day fears, like being mediocre, getting stuck in a dead end job and never reaching the dream. And they are all real, all deep, all scary.
I said I was afraid of performing solo – which is true. And then I sang. And then Amanda sang. And then we took this picture with the group:
Sydney is a very beautiful city. I’m having a great time. I rapped (I RAPPED!) at the SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE – probably the world’s most recognizable venue. I’m palling around with wonderful, kind, creative, intelligent people. I just released an album. I have a really wonderful partner who matches me intellectually, creatively, intuitively, emotionally, physically. And he’s SO cute:
And sometimes I look like this:
I have to list these things for myself. To remind myself to look at the wonderful things I have. Because one of my deepest fears is that nothing will ever be enough, that I will be too busy reaching for the next shiny red apple to notice the juicy ripe peach that’s in my mouth. I always want more. And striving is a wonderful thing, reaching for the stars is grand, but not if you miss the life while you’re living it.
And sometimes I move too fast, reach too far, want too much to see that HOLY HELL: my life is fantastic.
Sure, things can always be better. Truth is, album sales are slow, I am COMPLETELY out of money – in the super scary, pit of nausea, heart aching anxiety, way. My computer is on its last legs and hardly ever concedes to connect to the internet for long enough to post photos or write blogs. And I may never be able to afford touring again.
But those things are all part of my job. Because I consider it the job of the artist to live on the edge. The edge of sanity, the too scary, too much, too close, too hard edge. Sometimes it’s money, sometimes it’s loneliness, sometimes it’s the art itself. And being out of money and scared and still moving forward even if it means not eating, or losing everything, is the edge that I am on.
And the view from here is AMAZINGLY EPIC and rather nice, as well:
All photos by Jim Batt (except the BBQ photo. And the photo of him, which I took.)