It’s been too long, a full three months! I’ve been keeping up with my weekly readings, but not so much at all with these reviews, ahhh! I’ll be trying to make it a priority as I catch up with the books I’ve read throughout the past months.
This week, one I had been waiting on for quite a while. I’m excited to get this review started!
Verdict: Fun, inspiring, genuine. Her personality shines so strongly through her words, similar to the way she speaks on her social media and interviews. A quick autobiography that’s definitely worth the read!
Lindsey Stirling has always been one of my top role models ever since the first year of her inception on YouTube. Dancing violinist playing EDM and dubstep, as well as video game covers? EASILY sold. The fact that her sheer introduction crosses the boundaries the creativity already had me sold. I pre-ordered this book as early as last summer, and it finally got to my house last month on its first day of release. I was so excited!
Her memoir was the perfect way of opening us into her life. Talking about her strengths, weaknesses, her creativity, fears, aspirations, faith, even boys. Each chapter is a quick and fun read with a lot of content in such simple stories.
In the first of three parts of her book, she talks about her rather atypical childhood. She exposes herself to the world by talking about her mild dyslexia, her close friends even at the youngest age, and practicing violin on a cardboard box before actually playing, eventually getting lessons for only 15 minutes a week.
That’s the best part about being a kid. Nothing seems impossible until someone bigger and older tells you it is.
Despite such modest upbringings, she still keeps chasing her passions, loving every moment on the violin and in music (even in a rock band). She mentions talking about self-learning dance moves from YouTube just to make her performance more exciting, about wanting to become an entertainer so much. It’s definitely inspiring, especially at such a young age. She makes the thought process sound so simple too.
When I started my performance on opening night, the audience went wild. A
dancingmoving violinist? Mind blown! One of the judges raised his hands above his head and got the whole crowd clapping on the beat – more or less – but even if they had terrible rhythm, it was electrifying. When I finished the last note I was filled with the most incredible energy I had ever felt. As I looked out over the roaring crowd and the smiling judges I knew it had worked – I had them entertained. More important, I knew I had to chase this feeling.
In the second part, she talks about her life right outside of high school. Her belief in Mormonism and her struggles in converting people for a year and a half helped her become the person she is today; just being able to make one man’s day changed her perspective on the world.
It was a magical time when my life was stripped of distractions, and I knew exactly what was important. I had a clear purpose, and even the smallest gestures became sublime – like teaching a teenage boy how to pray for the first time. It was a simple, beautiful time that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
She also talks about her first time performing at open mics, spending all of her energy just trying to find places to perform, even if in the moment it didn’t get her far. She just wanted that publicity, even performing at a kid’s block party. As one of the titles of her chapters says, “I love the stage, it learned to love me.”
You read your poetry slowly, I’ll dance around the stage quickly, and we can share responsibility for the deeply uncomfortable feeling in the room afterward.
Stirling also exposes her eating disorder, saying that it did not help her in any way no matter how hard she looked at it. Her eating disorder split apart friendships, kept her away from family, and kept hindering her passions. She explains all this however because she wants to let us know that we all go through our own painful moments, whatever it may be, and no matter what happens we’ll get through it all.
More sensitive topics come into play including the time she caught the Greyhound from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and preferred it, her life-shattering moment on America’s Got Talent, and her selfish motives for pairing with a videographer for her initial success on YouTube.
The final third of the book isn’t so much of a long story as it is short stories of her experiences of “making it.” She talks about how she learned to be the boss in her tour without realizing that it was all up to her. She mentions meeting all these celebrities and not feeling like she belongs because she’s not anywhere near their level of popularity. How she prefers Forever 21 clothing on the red carpet. How she creates basically everything in her YouTube from sheet music to costumes to props to even the editing, and sacrificing many nights of sleep, averaging three to six hours on many nights, while fighting creativity blocks and looking everywhere for inspiration. In the end, while she loves what she does in both making music and going on tour, it’s still hard work and you have to put in the effort to get what you want.
She closes off her book with several words of wisdom, summarizing her rather humble life story in a few lessons. Including:
- Accepting that she does care about what others think about her. Both positive and negative, while she’s learning to block off hurtful comments and embarrassing moments, she’s accepted the fact that it does affect her. Acceptance goes a long way. “Recognition is good for the soul, but my self-worth shouldn’t have been dependent on the opinions of others.”
- Realizing she doesn’t need to be the best. Her performance with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Andrea Bocelli in London forced her to realize that there were simply so many better violinists than her. While she realizes that, she accepts that fact, knowing that she doesn’t need to be the best violinist in order to make people happy through her entertainment and personality.
- Living the present. I’ll just leave one of her closing paragraphs here:
I spend a lot of time planning for what’s next: my next show, my next tour, my next album, my next music video. It’s part of the job. But I want to spend more time balancing in the present. It’s the only thing that truly exists. If I’m too busy ruminating over the past or pining for the future, some of those great moments will pass by before I get the chance to live them. I don’t want to look back and recognize some of my great moments in hindsight, after the opportunity to enjoy them has come and gone.
Even if you hadn’t heard of Lindsey, give this book a shot; even if you’re not interested in the creative field, her life story is inspiring. If you’re an aspiring creative, there is no one better to look up to. If you’ve heard of her and enjoyed her music, videos, or concerts, you already know what to do. Have fun!