Friday, April 30, 2010

Too distracted to come up with a title

Has anyone noticed that this is the third entry and I am still writing backstory?  I'm sorry.  I suppose I should have explained that I have ADHD*.  So sometimes I get distracted ** and off topic and it takes me a long time to settle down and focus and get to the point.  Plus, I get all wrapped up in trying to work things out from start to finish, and then, my non linear mind takes over and ......Whoa.  Totally forgot what I was talking about.


Okay.  ADHD is funny, but it is also annoying. Because some days, my brain really can't settle down and focus on one thing, and then other days, it gets so focused on one thing that I can't think about ANYTHING else.  Right now, that one thing is the fact that I can't find the pieces of a doll dress that I cut out and sewed together several months ago, but I want to finish the doll.  Naturally, I should just make a new dress and finish the doll which might take an hour or two.  But instead, every time I go into my studio I spend another hour unpacking boxes looking for the damn dress.  And then I sit down and think "Ok, just start this over", so then I spend about 30 minutes picking out the fabric for the dress, and then wonder, what about trims...and then OOOOO but if I did THAT then I would have to change her shoes.....wait a minute, what about painting her

See?  So I might as well just be looking for the other dress, because all of those decisions have already been made.   And that is the real thing about having ADHD that slows me down.  Too many choices.  What I should do in order to push myself into a final burst of production before my first art fair next weekend, is take my sewing machine, my OTT Lite, and one small box of beads and doll supplies and go stay in a cabin in the woods with no internet, cable, or phone for the next week.  

Oh and my iron.  I'd need my iron.  And really, that means my ironing board.  And then maybe an extension cord.  Actually, two, in case I need one for the sewing machine....Um, three....OTT Lite.....Ooooo, definitely have to remember my spare OTT Lite bulbs, because the one that's in there is like, three years old....and I'd have to take them all because if I take just one it'll be the exact wrong one.....and I've been meaning to pick up an extra light bulb for my sewing machine, which reminds me, I still need to get some more sewing machine needles and bobbins, which means I'll have to go to Bedford, because I am pretty sure they have a Viking husqvarna dealer.....

Even later.....

Damn.  I was too distracted to even finish this entry.  I started thinking of all the things I'd have to take with me if I went on a self imposed craft retreat, and then I realized that by the time I finished packing the car I could have finished three dolls.    Not to mention, I would have to, like, pay to stay somewhere with money I have not yet even earned.

 Now it is actually the next day, and I'm not very pleased to report that my burst of looking for things went on for much of the rest of yesterday on into the night.  I did not find what I was looking for, but I did find four dolls that I knew I hadn't sold, so I am counting that as "finishing" them.  Shut up.  It does so count.

*No, really. I do. Like, diagnosed by doctors and crap.  But not the kind where I am a little kid running around in circles...the kind that women and girls get, which is more daydreamy, and involves stuff that women are SUPPOSED to do, like multitask, and reading nine books at once and starting seven hundred projects and maybe finishing four and not being able to keep my mouth shut pretty much on pain of death and not using punctuation because my brain can't be bothered to pause like that and.....Ok. Got it?

** See previous footnote

Monday, April 26, 2010

Still smells pretty fresh

So before I moved back home to Indiana [cue song], I had to sort out some things.  Such as, Who Am I and What Am I Doing on the Planet, blah, blah, blah.....I know many people think that I am incredibly self involved, and they may not be entirely wrong....but there's a difference between being self involved and clueless and self involved and self-aware.  I enjoy things being All About Me, unless those things are growing, learning, and being a better person.  However, when you're unemployed for a year, you have a lot of spare time.  And sooner or later, you realize that scheduling your life day around Kathy Lee and Hoda, The View, and Ellen is not necessarily a valid life choice. Although, drinking with KL&H on Winesday shouldn't technically classify as "drinking alone" since they're doing it.....

I applied for some library jobs, and realized that there were 1. Almost no jobs left for professional librarians with my particular skills [helping patrons directly; buying books; actually being a librarian instead of an administrator bent on killing my own profession]  and that 2. No one was going to give me one of them anyway, especially because of the refusing to kill my own profession thing.   Since I really loved being a librarian, this was depressing, but with my usual good cheer I only pouted about it and wrote bitter, scathing blog entries for six months or so.  I mean, in addition to the year I'd already spent so upset about it that I could barely even mention the word "library" without bursting into tears of rage.

So I spent a year working in a yarn shop, which taught me several important things about myself and also reiterated all the lessons I should have learned in Libraryland, but apparently, didn't. 

Things I Learned From YarnWorld:
1. Am a hell of a salesperson (apparently, that's why I was good at getting people to check out lots of books...I just didn't know that in the real world, we call that "selling" instead of "circulating")
2. That I have an innate business sense that I clearly did not learn during my many, many years of higher education, since most of those were spent studying medievals and their dirty little sex lives, and all the things they wrote/painted/carved about them.
3. Women are needy.  I'm sorry. I know that's sexist, and that Monique Wittig is turning over in her grave.* But, they are.  I don't know if it's because so many of them are used to never making any big decisions by themselves, or if its because everyone else depends on them so much that sometimes they just need to hand the reins to someone else.  And I don't mind the neediness itself; it is the entitlement that seems to be the real problem.  Such as, "Well, I bought yarn here once ten years ago"** so therefore "you HAVE to help me with this incredibly complicated project that I really don't have the skills for and for which I bought the yarn, pattern, etc at your closest competitor".....
4. Women can be really nice....but they can also be meaner than dirt.  Like, you might meet some people who become your friends for life....and then you meet some people who call the owners of the shop and claim that you ruined their projects on purpose while you were spending hours and hours trying to undo the horrible, irretrievable mess that they made of them.....
5. Don't trust people. Really. Just don't.  Especially if you work for them, with them, or if they have mouths.
For some reason, most of them want you to fail, even if you're doing something that they aren't doing and never would do.  I don't know why this is.  I hope I don't actually learn.
6. Don't trust people where money is involved. Especially if they tell you that you don't need a written agreement because they're a certain religion which means that of course they will pay you back the thousands of dollars they owe you because of some IMINTS***.  I know that sounds like a no-brainer to all of you with brains, but for some reason, it wasn't one to me. Even though I am more heathenish than a large bumbling heathen thing.
7. Finally, and I want to be clear about this, Do. Not. Trust. People.  Just stop doing it right now.

So it might sound like I became a tad jaded from my year o' yarn, especially on top of the end of my professional library career.  Once my yarny career went down in flames that smelled oddly of the same humiliation as those that incinerated my library career, I decided to spend several months just brooding.  And wallowing. And whining.  It was after a few months of this that I received the blazing insight that Maybe Shit Went Wrong Because Of Me, and the choices I was making, rather than because the entire world was out to get me.

I know.  That's a shocking claim.  But, I read a lot of novels aimed at 13 to 16 year olds, and they often have this very message.  I might have lots 'o book learnin'.  But when it comes to emotional learnin'--I am about in the 7th grade, apparently.

I decided it was time to think about What I Really Wanted Out of Life.  Now, lots of people do this before they are almost 40.  Some of them seem to know it from childhood, and many of them at least get it by their 20s.  Strangely, lots of people have very similar goals.  They want a job they can stand, that they can live on, and to find love, and then maybe breed.  And then someday, their breedings will breed, and they can move to Florida and talk about all their generations of breedings.  Which I think must be very nice, in many ways.  Its just that I never thought about those things.  It never occurred to me to think about my wedding, which apparently most girls start planning at about age four.  It never occurred to me to want one at all, actually.  It seemed that the older I got, the more I realized that all of my hazy goals, if they could even be termed as such, did not involve anything that smacked of suburbia, station wagons, or an old age filled with porches and grandchildren.  Maybe that is because I had such a childhood myself, that was nearly perfect in every way.  We had a station wagon, I had four grandparents for the first 9 years of my life, two great-grandparents, oodles of aunts and uncles, and lots of cousins. My parents had that odd thing, a truly happy, stable marriage, and my brother and sister were normal and likeable.  It seems almost unfair to have had such a good childhood.  Mostly, what I thought about when I was little, was making things, playing with dolls, and reading.  I had friends, but I mostly liked to be alone so I could read books and then play out their stories with my dolls.  And I loved making things, especially out of fabric.  My mom probably first threaded a needle for me when I was seven or so, and I sewed little bits and pieces from then on, mostly for my dolls.

By the time I was a teenager  I knew a lot more about what I liked than I would know twenty years later.  Back then, I loved music, art, and performing.  I kept copious diaries from the time I could write until leaving for college.  I played the cello well enough to consider a career in music.  I sang, acted, and made things for my dolls, and then when I was blessed with a little sister at about the time most girls lay aside their dolls, I was able to play with hers. 
Then I went away to college, and within four years I'd stopped acting, singing, playing the cello, and making things.  I spent college involved in a variety of political causes, social activities, and pretty much left behind all the areas in which I had real talent, because I was intimidated by how many of my classmates had even more talent....and, I'm sorry to say, because I thought they were all so much better looking.**** I graduated and came back home, where I spent several years knocking around trying to fit into a variety of graduate programs and social circles. What I enjoyed most was making dolls, which was mostly a secret that I did in a room in my basement....and something which only my family and closest friends knew about.  I'd been making dolls and bears, pretty secretively, since I was about 12.  I was good at it, but always felt weird, because no one else seemed to do it, and if they did, it was mostly to make a toy for a baby. 

When I got my first professional library job, I moved to a town where I had lots of family, but didn't fit in at all.  I hated the job; it hated me, and had it not been for my grandma, my aunt, my cousin, and her adorable 18 month old daughter,  I would have been really lonely.  It was about that time that my dolls because a huge part of my life that I started to be proud of, instead of a weird, almost dirty secret.  I found other people like me on the internet, as a part of the first online doll community, and for the first time since I left home for college, I honestly felt kind of normal.  It was such a relief to find out there were so many other people who spent their spare time sewing and who would rather shop for fabric than shoes.

Then I found my doll club.  Which I will have to talk about next time as this is already offensively long.

*Where, it is to be hoped, she was buried in clothes much cleaner than the ones she used to wear to class at Vassar.

**Which, actually, you didn't, since this store didn't exist ten years ago, but that's ok, I know you mean that you bought yarn somewhere, once, and it might or might not have been here because all of us salespeople are actually the same person

***Imaginary Man In The Sky

****Oh yeah. That part will take a lot more than a few paragraphs to explain.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Shiny New Blog Smell

I hate the first entry of a new blog.  I feel like I'm on a job interview and I have about three sentences to hook you or lose you before you start thinking  "I don't have time for this. I could be reading Perez Hilton right now.  I hate the font she's using. Ooooh, I forgot to check my horoscope, and then I need to update my Facebook status...." and poof, another reader, gone!

Still there??  I know, I have to check Perez every day too.  Since I gave up watching the news and can no longer afford my former diet of four tabloids a week, if it weren't for Perez and I would never know anything that's going on. And by "anything" I mean important celebrity news such as, is Brangelina still intact?  Who the hell could cheat on Sandra Bullock, and with THAT tramp??  And hello, what about Kate Hudson's new, um, additions?? 
Whoops.  I get distracted easily.

I used to have another blog which I updated every few weeks, depending on how pathetic I was feeling.   I whined a lot about my failed relationships, my chronic disorganization, the paragon of badness that is my dog, and anything else I could think of......except my artwork.  I wrote about my dolls once or twice, and I think I mentioned some of the beading classes I taught, but I rarely wrote about either.  I'm sure that's partly because I feared being as deadly boring and self important as most of the knitting blogs I've read. 
I think it's also because I knew if I put as much angst laden instrospection into my art and why I create it as I do my disastrous love life, that I might be forced to like, learn things about myself.  And if I learned things about myself, I might have to actually use them, and, you know, grow or something.

That's a lot of work for the mama.

Then something happened to make my life so pathetic that not only could I not stand to write about it, I couldn't stand for anyone to know about it..  I lost the job that I thought I would stay in until I retired, that I loved and thought was Where I Was Supposed to Be.  I was a librarian at a medium sized public library, which means I was underpaid, overworked, and felt like I was doing Something That Mattered.   I was also very, very good at it, at least the part where I bought the books and got people to check them out and read them.  Librarians reading this will know that in libraryland, none of these equate with professional success unless you also can do these things while firmly lodged inside the director's posterior region.

Well.  Losing my job meant that not only was I unemployed in a profession that's disappearing faster than the rain forest, it also ended up meaning that I left the profession entirely.  In an attempt to stay in my house in Columbus, Ohio I ended up working at a yarn shop for a year.  I loved working there and working with knitters, but realized that working for very, very religious people does NOT mean that you are working for honest people.  In fact, often quite the opposite!  So that ended badly, too, and at that point, I was lost.

I made some big changes, such as moving back in with my parents in another state, and finally my life, while still not what you might call "interesting", is looking up.  And by "looking up" I mean that writing about it does not plunge me deep into the Vale of Tears.  Most of the time. I left behind my home of 13 years, my doll club, and the career I thought would be mine until retirement.  Sometimes that still seems like a lot to take in, but each day is getting better.