Tuesday, May 06, 2008

"Piece by Piece"

it's no secret that tori amos(amazingly wikipedia has a great bio on her) is a huge inspiration and big influence in my life. i do not know her personally, and reading that you may think..."why is someone whom is not even physically a part of her life such a huge part of it?" well....let me explain.

i was introduced to tori's album, "under the pink" my senior year in high school - 1994.

i was an instant fan. she was brand new to me, so of course after finding out that she had already put out an album prior - "little earthquakes" - released in 1992, i went out and purchased that as well. (cassette tape, mind you)

i felt a connection with her music. a very strong connection. i had been through a few traumatic events in my life by that time and i realized that she obviously had the same sort of things happen to her. i then found out that she had been raped as well and in june of 1994, she co-founded RAINN. she was instantly a muse to me.

my first concert of hers that i went to was at the beautiful majestic theater. the setting was perfect. back then, they didn't have computers (or atleast it was hard to have access to one because they were too expensive for the average joe) nor, the internet....so all i had seen of her was in magazines or a few videos on MTV. i had no idea what i was about to witness. this woman had so much sexuality and was so eccentric, i was instantly in awe. i wanted so badly to BE HER. she literally "made love" to her piano. and she did it in a way that was seductive, yet tasteful and arousing.

i became a loyal follower from that point on. i learned all i could about her with the references that were available. (which wasn't much back then)...i bought all of her albums that were released and went and saw her in concert every time she came through.

my experience with most are that you either adore tori amos, or you don't care for her what-so-ever. there's really not much of an inbetween with her because she is that strong of a personality.

she has mellowed out a bit lately with her albums "scarlet's walk" and "the beekeeper". i have to admit i haven't yet purchased her latest "american doll posse" (shame on me). i find myself listening to "the beekeeper" atleast once a week. it's such a beautiful experience.

a while back i bought her book "piece by piece" co-written with ann powers.

i had yet to actually sit down and read it - i actually let my friend josi borrow it about a year ago...last time i was at the book store i saw it and decided to buy another copy because i was ready to delve into it.

i got home from work last night and decided i was going to straighten up the house, start on some laundry and have some "me" time. i lit some candles, lit my nag champa, curled up in my bed and opened the front cover. next thing i knew, i was finished with the entire book. never in my life have i sat down in one setting and finished a book. (unless of course maybe it was only 100 pages or something of the sort).

how ironic is it that my spiritual journey has started and my questions and initial beliefs coincide with tori amos'? i learned so much about her from reading this book. i knew she was a preacher's daughter and grew up in a somewhat strict christian environment. but i didn't know the details. until now. the way i was raised was very similar to the way tori was raised. not in all aspects, but in the stricter sense and also being taught that sexuality was taboo and masturbation was not thought of or done. that sex was not had until marriage and the main purpose was procreation. yes, that's what i was taught. (i love my parents very much and believe they did a wonderful job and the best job they could in raising me, but i do disagree with those things - i hope to be able to tell my daughter it's ok to explore your sexuality and sex is not just for making babies). with all of that stated, it took me a LONG time to explore myself sexually - i was a very late bloomer in that aspect and it's taken me a long time to figure out who i am in that sense as well.

tori serves the magdalene. “I don’t only serve the Magdalene, I serve an idea. The idea of the resurrected Feminine. ” i am envious of how connected she is to the sacred feminine. both the magdalene and the sacred mary. all the thoughts that have been muddled in my brain make a little more sense after i read this book.

"piece by piece" hit #12 on the new york times best seller list in 2005. and i'm certainly not surprised. if any of you out there like tori amos, male or female, i strongly suggest going out and getting this book and exploring the inner tori. she's so much more than what she's labeled "a strong feminist ballbreaker" as i've heard her called before. from the inside cover:

I choose to fight my battles through my music . . . I was born a feminist. And then at age five, when my strict Christian grandmother punished me, I realized, I’m not penetrating here. I’m just pissing people off. So I had to find another way to penetrate. I had to redefine what that word means. That word now is really about an opening, an entering into a separate space. And after the first phase of my life, I realized that it was okay to enter that space without having to be invaded . . . I like the idea of just being able to be inside. Not using penetration as a violent word. The idea of being able to find keys . . . music, using keys to get into a space that we couldn’t before . . . Now, backstage at an undisclosed arena where the sweat of athletes is still perfuming my makeshift dressing room, my many conversations with Ann Powers have begun…

“You come from the journalist side. I come from the artist side. It can become offensive. I’m sure from your side as well as from mine.”

“Well, it’s true everyone expects us to be enemies. And in some ways we are. My job is interpretation. Yours is art, which often benefits from mystery . . .”

Ann and I decided to strip our roles back to basics. We are both women born feminists in the 1960s. We are both married. We are both mothers. We are both in the music industry. Traditionally we are enemies. But for this project to be effective, I had to allow Ann to expose Tori Amos. And Tori Amos’s inner circle. And me.”


Dandelion seeds said...

it's an incredible book-also a huge gift on my spiritual journey. I devoured it when it first came out and keep it close to re-read bits here and there.

so glad it was such a wonderful experience for you~

Oceanshaman said...

Love Nag Champa . . . don't burn much, at present, as my landlord's a pretty "straight arrow" sort of guy, he's trying to sell the place (not likely, in this market), he doesn't want "smoke" in the house, and I don't want to make waves . . . so I'm living on Glade air fresheners to scent the air . . . one upstairs, one down . . had clean linen in both, but the one upstairs just ran out, so I got Hawaiian Surf . . . smells like bubble gum . . . oh well . .

Beyond that, I dig Tori Amos . . . in the same way I dig Melissa Etheridge, Alanis Morrisette, Indigo Girls, Ani DiFranco, and the like . . . strong women doing their thing . . . very cool . . .

Never read her book . . . currently reading "Forest House" by Marion Zimmer Bradley . . . I think she wrote it after "Mists of Avalon" . . . rife with good celtic Goddess lore . . .

Namaste . . .