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A dear child I know said this morning: “I just can’t deal with whirlpools today!” and his mother noted, “Mondays: difficult for all kinds of reasons”. I thought well, why not share some things I’ve been into lately that might counteract the Monday whirlpool? (though none of these will help the dear child, sorry JB)

Art of Asking: Amanda Palmer
I finished this on the weekend and was sad to get to the end! Such a wonderful book – part memoir, part motivator, part love letter, part kick in the butt. I’m not always into Amanda’s music (I have to be in the mood because it’s pretty full on) but I love her spirit, her enthusiasm, her trust, her joy in making art. She is brave and bold but also vulnerable and human and I think that’s what makes her so interesting.

Aside from the theme of asking for help and learning to accept it, one of the threads that constantly shines out throughout the book is how important being honest, being real and being accessible to her fans is to the work that she does.

“Like all real relationships, my relationship with my fans wasn’t some schtick I came up with in a marketing meeting. On the contrary, I’d spent many marketing meetings banging my head against the long conference table. Throughout my career the fanbase has been my one big significant other to me, a thousand-headed friend with whom I have a real, committed partnership.” (audiobook chapter 3)

It reinforces everything that Clare and Pip and Big Hearted Business say about finding your peeps and speaking to them, connecting with them. Also, being prolific on social media isn’t the key to success; Facebook and Twitter are tools you use to connect with people – the relationship is the key.

Listening to the audiobook was a great way of reading this book, I think, because it felt like you were having a great chat with a friend. Details of where to buy are here.

Yes Please: Amy Poehler
I started listening to this on my way in to work today. As soon as she started reading, all I could think was “I love her! I love her! I love her!” Listening to Amy Poehler is also like listening to a great friend talk. She’s unrelentingly encouraging and honest and funny. Just the preface alone, where she talks about how hard it was to actually write the book, is wonderful.

This bit reminded me of a conversation I had with Karen on the weekend: “Many people suggested ways I could carve out more time for my writing but none of their suggestions involved the care and consideration of the small children who live in my house. Every book written by men and women with children under the age of six should have a ‘sleep deprived’ sticker.” (audiobook chapter 1)

I was just listening to the first chapter as I pulled up at work, about the evil, seductive demon voice in your head (“like Darth Vader combined with a sexy Kathleen Turner”) that gives you low self esteem and bad body image – on the audiobook this voice is actually provided by Kathleen Turner. So rad. I didn’t want to get out of the car, but I had to. Well that’s something to look forward to on the drive home!

Side note: check out Smart Girls at the Party, the website Amy is part of, aimed at girl awesomeness. The motto is “change the world by being yourself”.

Outback Choir
We watched this last night on ABC. Such a marvellous, uplifting doco! It’s all about the work Michelle Leonard does in regional NSW, inspiring and encouraging children to express themselves with music through the Moorambilla Voices Regional Choir. She auditions kids all over the place for about two weeks, and gathers together a choir. She works with them at a camp-style workshop to learn a repertoire of songs which they perform with an orchestra at a gala concert. The kids who are interviewed seem so lovely; unaffected, excited, talented. Leonard says: “Kids are bored out here. And it’s easy to get negative. But the things that have always been the same – the humour, the resilience, the creativity, the capacity – it’s still all there. It just needs a vehicle.” It’s just wonderful. Check it out on iView.

Hope you survive the Monday whirlpools!