Long-distance relationships of any kind are hard to sustain. When the people involved hardly know each other, they can be impossible.Amanda Palmer and I have never met in person. We exchanged a few messages of 140 characters or less via Twitter, earlier this year, and read enough about each other online to get a sense that we might be kindred spirits. When I had half an idea about how we might collaborate, she felt comfortable enough to say, "Why not? Let's give it a try" – or words to that effect. Amanda is more informal and funnier than I am.
I think of myself as moody, serious and remote. Others call me difficult and self-absorbed – 'particular' is how Amanda's assistant put it. Maybe Amanda and I were both too distracted by other projects to figure out properly – let alone articulate – what it was we really wanted to do together. Our ideas were, at best, fuzzy even in the initial flurry of emails between us. It only got worse when Amanda went on the road with the Dresden Dolls and had to leave it to others to relay her thoughts. What started as a narrow fissure caused by lapses in communication and misunderstandings soon became a chasm. Our best intentions almost slipped into it and lost. Frustrated and depressed, I took my phone off the hook, instructed my assistant to run interference on the outside world and locked myself in my studio to finish a handful of large works that had to be delivered before Christmas.
It says something about Amanda's character and professionalism that she wouldn't let me walk away. In the past couple of days we have exchanged emails outside the loop of our respective 'people', trying to bridge the fractured divide. Whatever comes of this effort – whether my art makes it to the stage with her at the Sydney Opera House on January 26th – Amanda Fucking Palmer still has my respect.