Tag: jobs

Writing Crap to Get to the Good Stuff

morning with Sarah

(Coffee in my friend Sarah’s dining room, taken on our trip to Portland in June 2016)

Our vacation seems like it happened so long ago now. I just went through all my photos from it and processed them.

I’m trying to write and I’ve got two kittens who are continually disrupting me by walking across my keyboard and getting in my lap. This isn’t a complaint, by the way, just something that’s keeping me from finding a flow. It doesn’t help that I’ve been writing so little lately that I feel rusty even writing a post. I mean, it’s easy enough when I’m full of beer and it’s midnight, but those posts usually must be eradicated later anyway. While those posts are extremely emotive, they basically just say the same thing over and over and over again and don’t constitute good writing. Once in a while something good comes of that, but not often.

This is why so many well-known working authors say you have to write every single day. Even if it’s total crap. Just write. Keep the gears oiled and turning. When the inspiration isn’t there you still need to be keeping your writing mind flexed and ready for when inspiration does come. You need to be ready to take it on.

So this is me writing crap. Crapcrapcrapcrapcrap. Writing crap is how you uncover the good stuff.

We have no bread this morning and only three eggs. I think it’s going to be a potato morning.

It sounds like there’s a cicada outside. But I’m pretty sure we don’t have them here. I would love to hear that all day long. I’d feel like I was in the south of France. I’d have the urge to go and find some wild thyme and a game bird to roa- wait – what?! I want to make ratatouille today. Again. I can’t get enough of it. I need to make enough to freeze it. I could eat ratatouille every day for a year.

I think I’ll go do Imwalle Gardens and get the supplies.

I’ve got so much blackberry jam/sauce* that I think it’s safe to move on to some other food preserving projects. I’d love to make some peach jam before it’s too late. Tons of ratatouille to freeze.

I’m feeling so soul satisfied having finally, after years of not doing it, found the good blackberry picking in time and made jam. I think I need to make bread today. I haven’t made bread in a million years. That’s definitely something I miss doing.

Philip was laid off on Thursday. I’m not panicking yet. I start my new part time job at the art store tomorrow. It’s a really nice art store and being a cashier is nothing new for me, but still, I’m nervous about settling into a new place with new coworkers.

This is definitely the start of a whole new chapter. I just hope it’s a really good one.

*Some have set perfectly, but the batches I made on Friday have not. They’re more like a thick sauce. Who cares? I’ll pour that shit on toast and LOVE it.

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Is There a First Aid Kit for Life Decisions?

first aid kit 1

The Post Apocalyptic First Aid Kit

I remember all the years of not knowing which bills we could afford to pay on time and which ones would have to be fobbed off until the next pay check, or forever. I hoped we could leave those years behind us. We got a reprieve for over a year, and for that I feel such gratefulness. To know what it feels like to be able to pay all the bills and be able to afford the normal comforts of a modest life without having to look at the bank balance every day. To be able to afford to get the dentistry we need when we need it. To be able to buy light bulbs as they blow out. To have more than one pair of shoes.

I know how to be thankful for these blessings.

Coming back to that tight place – juggling bills from week to week, always two weeks late paying the power and water bills. We don’t even have credit card bills or car payments. Our rent takes up half our income. I imagine this is pretty normal for most Americans. I imagine there are a lot of Americans paying a higher percentage of their income to keep a roof over their heads than we do.

We’re lucky that we’re still able to afford some luxuries like rot-gut wine during the week, beer on weekends (though we shouldn’t because, clearly, we can’t actually afford this), and Philip taking the kid out to share a plate a fries and wings instead of a full meal. There are so many people not able to have these little luxuries. My thoughts are here this weekend, not feeling bitter about tight financial restraints but feeling tired of them.

It’s looking more and more necessary for me to return to looking for a job outside the home. Not gonna lie, it depresses me. I belong at home. I’m a writer. I’m a homesteader. I’m a mom. I’m a mentally ill person who is healthiest when close to home, to my kitchen, my laptop, and to my people.

A close friend has told me about a possible job coming up that I might be qualified for. My friend Sid thinks I would be great in the mental health field and has been suggesting I would be skillful in an advocacy role. This job has yet to be officially posted and maybe when it is I will find that I’m not even qualified to apply, a common problem I encounter. Philip and Max want me to apply. They want me happy but our financial restraints are a big stress on us all so they’d kind of prefer me to step up my efforts for supplementing our income without prostitution.

It doesn’t matter how grateful you are for what you have because you know a billion other people have less – the day to day stress of living hand to mouth and coming up short is stressful and anyone who says otherwise is lying their fucking asses off.

I’m so torn. I’ve just come up with ideas for my Etsy shop, for making things that tie in with my book and for the first time in a long time finding myself excited about sewing but the reality is harsh and firm. At the best of times I’ve sold very little. What makes this time different? Am I being hopeful with no foundation for it?

Going to a job 20+ hours a week means I’ll barely have enough time to parent, do those things I need to do for my mental health, and write. Forget making things to build a nebulous online store.

But to work in mental health, even as an administrative assistant, has its pull too. To serve my tribe in any way is honorable. To do it while also easing my family’s financial strain? I think Philip and Max get instinctually how stupid it would be for me not to at least apply.

I sound pretty sad-sack I suppose. I know what I want, I just don’t know how hard I should hang onto my preferred way of getting there. I don’t know what is the best way forward. I don’t know the best pass to get across the finish line.

This weekend I finally finished putting together and listing my Post Apocalyptic First Aid Kit. Tonight, while thinking about other paths forward, I had to stop and recognize that no matter how bad I am at selling my designs and ideas – I can tell you that I’m fucking proud of the products I’ve designed and assembled over the years just as much as I’m proud of the kind of employee I’ve been. I was a great color specialist at Mulberry Neckwear. When I was a shipping manager I put my boots and soul into the job and kicked ass. I loved it. When I made cards and aprons for my own company, Dustpan Alley, I knew the quality was superb and the style notable. When I opened my retail shop I filled it with the best products and other people loved my shop – business was growing steadily (and healthily for retail stores) and could have grown to be successful.

I put 110% into everything I do.

My first aid kits took me a year to plan and design and to assemble. I’m putting one in my own bathroom because it was my own family’s need that inspired them in the first place.

I’m stressed. Super stressed. Anyone who knows me knows this is the usual status quo, more and never-less. Even when I don’t have stressful stimuli affecting me – I have clinical anxiety that’s no joke. Fuck you if you don’t want to GET IT.

I don’t know how we’re going to get through this week until Friday (payday). I don’t know if we’re going to end up with overdrafts in the bank account. I don’t know what will happen after this week. I don’t know if I’ll manage to get my Etsy shop to take off enough to let me stay home. I don’t know if that job listing will end up being a perfect fit and my path diverges in a direction I didn’t plan or expect, again.

I will say that if working away from home means I’m serving, in any capacity, the mentally ill community, there is a poetic beauty in that. A justness, a rightness, a visceral attraction I can’t deny. It would mean I’d have to give up my Etsy shop. I can’t do that and work outside the home too. But if it produced a steady paycheck, there’s beauty in that. And I’d still write. Because I have to write. I need to write.

I haven’t been writing my thoughts out enough lately. I can tell by the longitudinal way I’m getting around to the center of what’s in my mind right now.

I’m throwing seeds into the air. The hot stillness of our late summer isn’t likely to carry them far, but I’m hopeful they’ll land just where they need to. There’s old fight in me for the way I thought my life would and should go, old ideas of the plays I should make and the ones I make out of desperation.

Until a direction is forced, one way or another, I will continue to fill my Etsy shop and work on my ideas for creating dystopian inspired products. If another clear opportunity arises to use what I have to make, create, soothe, fill a void, help my tribe, lift up others – I will give it my fullest attention. Whatever it is.

No matter what I have to do to help my family pay bills – I will continue to write.

The one constant, always, throughout my life, has been writing.

I’m taking this to bed with me tonight.

I’m not scared.

Not more than usual, anyway.

 

A Brand New Chapter Begins

entering sf

Two days ago I was desperately sewing dinner napkins for my Etsy shop and starting to panic about paying bills.  Today I am a Lady of Leisure.  Philip’s current workplace made him a counter offer to get him to stay with them and they actually offered him what he asked for.  Which means that I can become a full time writer.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The relief I feel is incredible.  The stress I have been feeling for ages, that has felt bottomless and crushing, is lifted.

Life is so weird.  I’m not closing up my sweatshop operations because we still owe thousands to the IRS and it’s not like Philip is making so much that we’re on easy street.  In fact, he’s basically just made up for what I earned at my last job.  Which allowed us to be paying bills and go out to dinner once a week and buy shoes when needed.  Which is really all I ask for.  Also – our rent is going to go up significantly if what we’re trying to work out with the house situation really works out.  So in order to ever get ahead we need to pay off the IRS.

My plan is to do a bunch of sewing in the next couple of months, use up some of my stores of fabric, make cool stuff and hopefully sell it.  Once I reach my goal of paying off the IRS I will stop sewing.  But I will still do cards with my anonymous card service and I will make booklets and a few other things like that.  While doing this I will set aside time to work on the next Cricket and Grey but it will be part time until I stop sewing for the store.  Then I will set myself full time writing hours.

This is my dream.

THIS IS MY DREAM COMING TRUE.

Jesus!  I’m actually going to be able to devote myself to writing novels.

Seeing as how the universe has just handed me my dream – I guess I better take it off of probation.

As a side note – I think it’s funny how I always talk about “the universe” as though it is a being with feelings and opinions just like people talk about God.  But I don’t actually believe the universe is a being of any kind.  Honest, I don’t.  I truly don’t believe in higher powers.  But it does make it easier to deal with life’s vicissitudes if you can blame your whiplash on someone or something.  It makes it easier to talk about and definitely more fun.

Wouldn’t it be funny to write a novel about modern woman suddenly stuck in a historical romance novel?  It would be similar to Lost in Austen in concept but instead of getting trapped in a well written classic novel it would be a cheesy bodice ripper novel where men are menacing and mysterious and say stupid stuff and make sexy poses all the time.

Well, it’s time to get this day going and do some sewing and stay out of the heat and start my life as a full time writer.

!!!!!