Letting our multitudes sing

Pamela L. Gay, Ph.D.
3 min readAug 18, 2022

Somewhere along the lines, I never quite decided who I want to be when I grow up. Sure, I’m an academic scientist. But at various times and places I’m also a writer, a voice actress, a public speaker, a programmer, and even a barn hand. Amanda Palmer sings that we are all bigger on the inside and that truth resonates a low base note in my soul. Bob Dylan’s voice catches as he says he (and we) contain multitudes and their diverse voices lead me in every direction. My body may only be able to do one thing in this moment, but over a lifetime we can do and be so much more than what any one moment can contain.

Most of us, however, pick someone to be. Most folks live their lives inside the box of expectations, making ourselves small as we conform to external boundaries. I like to think I don’t make myself small, but I got an earful from @StellarSquirrel who pointed out I tend to not really talk about all the things I do because I don’t want to make others uncomfortable. I just go off and do all the things, letting each of my inner voices find their way in the world. This leads to a weird reality where people randomly get to meet my multitudes unexpectedly, and I find myself saying, “Ah, yeah — that’s me… that’s just another thing I do.” This most often happens when I narrate for EscapePod, but lately it has begun to also happen with my art.

Yes, I do art.

And yes, these past many months (couple years?) I’ve really sucked at tweeting about it. This means that when I tweeted about applying to be in an art show for the first time, there were responses of “What art?”

Um, hi! I am a painter and digital artist. I share an Etsy Store with my husband (http://739studios.com) and need to get better at posting what I do on Society 6 (https://society6.com/starstryder). The Etsy store is called 739 Studios, and I do space-related art using acrylic paints. I learned this technique from Amy Davis Roth (https://surlyramics.com/), and took it in my own directions to see what worlds I could create. Recently, I’ve started collaborating with @StellarSquirrel and together I’d like to think we’re creating something special that combines her love of nature, D&D, and Magic the Gathering, with my love of all things science and science fiction.

The art show I applied for us to be in will be at the Arisia Sci-Fi & Fantasy convention in Boston. This is my favorite convention as it is both in my home city, and is in the winter when I can wear all the fancy cosplay I could want and not worry about overheating. Here is our application image.

And, my stomach is now full of butterflies as I wait to see if this version of me — the artist — can succeed. We are all multitudes. Not all our multitudes are successful… But I am trying to be hopeful.

I am an academic scientist. And I am an artist. And I am so many things more; I am a multitude.

And so are you.

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Pamela L. Gay, Ph.D.

Astronomer, technologist, & creative focused on using new media to engage people in learning and doing science. Opinions & typos my own.