Sharing Experiences

[youtube=]I was getting ready to head for bed the other night, when I happened to catch Amanda Palmer‘s discovery of her cover of Tori Amos‘ “Me and a Gun“.

I’d never heard the song before (I only have so much time), but what struck me, besides the strikingly different style for Amanda Palmer, was the discussion she pointed out about artists covering the songs based on supremely personal experiences.

Because apparently “Me and a Gun” is about Tori Amos’ experience being raped.

And the discussion (see Amanda Palmer’s twitter feed below by following the links) got me thinking about what we expect when we share our experiences through art, both as creators and audience.

I don’t know if you’re a content creator, but if you are, perhaps you can relate to the tension of knowing how much to label of your life in your work. The decision often happens simply, by answering a direct questions posed by an interested party. Or sometimes, the map remains hidden until only scholars would deign to investigate.

And if you’re predominately a consumer of created content, perhaps you feel the tension of gaining a privileged look into the normally distant and obscure life of another. There is the joy of feeling more connected to another through their openness, but it is tempered by the intrusion into the personal life of another. The disclosure of an intimate, traumatic event carries an air of awkwardness, regardless of the reason or forum for the sharing.

Because sharing experiences is not a unidirectional connection. To share an experience makes people who may have no other common link forge one. Because when we share our experiences, the person or people we share with will look for the aspect they have an understanding with. Because that’s what we do as people. It’s part of communicating with each other – finding the places where we can stand together and view the world in the most similar way.

Amanda Palmer’s cover song seems to be an expression of this very human search for connection. It is this same desire to connect with other people and sharing experiences that prompted me to learn Amanda Palmer’s “In My Mind” and perform it for the kids at work. And write blogs and stories and work to encourage high schoolers to find their voices. How do you share experiences?

What follows is the twitter links for the conversation on Twitter that started this post.
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