Being creative daily

I moved recently to another state.  Again.  I have relocated twice in less than two years.  It's exhausting. It's draining. It's stressful.  It's turning your life and body inside out and surviving it, though you often wish you hadn't.  

Now I'm in my beautiful new home.  It's the nicest house I've ever lived in.  I live in a great town.  I'm near a great city.  So why am I so unmotivated?  If I could hazard a guess it's because I spent weeks shutting my life off to pretend I didn't even live in my own home so it could be shown and sold.  Then I spent more weeks wrapping my belongings and stuffing them into boxes and bags and trucks. 

All of that was vomited up into this new location.  Piles of life were just sitting in each room waiting for me to find their place again.  But like actual piles of vomit, seeing everything around me in cardboard cairns encouraged me to continuously hit snooze on my routine's alarm clock.

As a person whose work is based in creativity, and with an already natural state of procrastination, this relocating malarkey didn't help a bit.  I needed a jolt.  Maybe even an actual can of Jolt had that soda not been discontinued.  

So I gave myself a task.  Daily creativity.  I would make one new thing each work day and put it out there into the world.  Sure, sometimes making that one thing prevented me from doing other, perhaps more important things like showering and brushing my teeth.  But it got my mind clean. Making something new was like taking those cans of air that clean your keyboard, and getting it into the little folds and pockets of my brain. 

Side note, if that were an actual procedure I think I'd have it done. I'm sure I have all sorts of nasty crust and dust caught up in the corners of my brain.  Gross.

Has this daily creativity helped me?  Yes.  For one thing I get to the end of the day knowing I unleashed an idea, and isn't that why I do this dumb job to begin with?  Because I was so tired of "the man" squashing all my ideas with his stupid, stanky boot?  

Also, the pressure is off.  If I do something new each day there is no demand for a masterpiece.  That perhaps sounds like a cop out. What I mean is that if you save up all your time for this one chance at art, you want it be, you know, really good.  But things you do everyday don't have that requirement.  

You don't demand that when you brush your teeth each day it be the bestest, deepest, whitest clean they've ever had. What if you only brushed your teeth once each month? Wouldn't you want to make that brush a damn fricking good one? And wouldn't you also stay away from me you harlot of halitosis?

I'm not going to say that this has revolutionized my life.  I'm still tired from my move, almost six weeks in.  I still have a shit ton of stuff to unpack.  I still wake up sometimes feeling life is a jar of mustard and I just can't breathe in it.  But it has indeed cleared the decks.  And when the decks are clear, there's plenty of room for something big to land.  Or a really great dance party.

Advice for my middle schooler

My daughter started middle school today, in a new state.  Yes, during perhaps the most awkward transition of school life, elementary to middle, I ripped my daughter away from her friends and brought her somewhere entirely new.  "Guilt" would be my middle name were it not already "pinnacle of beauty and brains".  

And this new middle school is massive.  It's humongous.  If it had barbed wire around it, and you saw the kids outside from a distance, you'd have no problem believing it was a prison for midgets- so huge is its brick edifice and hordes of short humans.  It scares the shit out of me.  I can't even imagine what my little 11 year old is feeling.

This is where they imprison, I mean educate, the children.

People might say, oh kids are resilient.  She'll be fine.  Yes, she will be fine one day.  But I don't think that day was yesterday when she was thinking about how tough today was going to be.  And I don't think that day was this morning when she was at her bus stop and the other girls were all wearing dresses (yes I now live in a place where girls still wear dresses to the first day of school... wtf?).  That day may not be tomorrow when homework assignments start rolling in.  And that day may not be six months from now when some little brat makes fun of her clothes or hair or the question she asked in class... because let's be honest, kids are fuckfaces.

At the bus stop today I said, "Honey, trust me, everything's going to be okay." But I realized that was total bullshit. I honestly couldn't even keep a straight face while I said it.  After all, I didn't know if everything was going to be okay.  I haven't been to this school, don't know her teachers, and definitely don't know the evil that could be stewing in the misshapen cranium of the moron sitting next to her in home room. 

Let's face it... everything might not be okay.  My middle school years were no bowl of cherries.  They weren't bowl shaped at all.  More like a boot full of shit topped road kill.  Frankly, everything might be crappy.  Very, very crappy.  

Could it be wonderful?  Could her teacher shit rainbows and the principal be Pikachu? Sure, anything's possible.  But I couldn't promise her that.

Nope, as I stood at the bus stop watching her sweat due to nerves, the 90 degree weather and the very, very late bus, I could only promise her one thing.  

"Well, maybe it won't be okay.  But I can promise you it's eventually going to be over."

Middle school ends.  If you're lucky you live through it and are only mildly traumatized.  And then you get to high school to spend four years with the same idiots who now have mustaches.  Even the boys.

It'll all be over soon...

Crochet hook or Knitting Needle display/storage

Guess what?  Chicken butt!

But really folks, the news which you didn't guess because you were too busy yelling about fowl anatomy, is that I'm moving again.

I know, I can't fricking believe it either.

Alas, moving requires cleaning.  And the worst part is cleaning my home office.  I am so very lucky in my current home to have a fourth bedroom which I can assign full time office rights.  What's not so lucky is that it is completely cut off from the home and even has a door I can close.  That means it usually turns into a pile of yarn, mugs, lotions, potions, high pile carpet and gremlins.  

And then your house needs to be sold and people don't want to see a pile of mugs that say 'balls'.  They want to see a room which can be used for their own purposes.  Sadly funny mugs usually don't play a role in other people's lives like they do mine. 

Invariably I must turn my office into how I'd actually like it to be on a regular basis just so strangers can come and look at it... which I'd never do for myself. It's completely insane.

During this task I figured out something which probably a million people before me have already talked about. But I don't read their crappy blogs or tweets or smoke signals.  So I'm going to talk about it here and reaffirm to my own shattered psyche that I am indeed a super genius.

Have any crochet hooks which don't fit in your normal case?  Or maybe you rarely use but want on hand?  I give you... TACKY HOOKER SUPPORT, HOES!

I know what you're thinking.  Those are just crochet hooks.  On thumbtacks.  On a cork board.  

And you'd be fricking right.

Alas, it's a way to store crochet hooks. And you know, that's my whole purpose so it works.  So there.

*Note- this also works with penny whistles.  Or knitting needles.  Or probably cigars.  Maybe small dildos.

*Note again- no, that's not a prison tower spotlight shining on my wall.  It's just a shitty filter.

Chevy unveils the future... Dystopia

Chevrolet announced its newest addition to their vehicle lineup at last weekend's Springfield Auto Show.  

The Dystopia is a four seater which transforms into a horse and carriage (horse is an optional upgrade). Its engine can run on human urine or cat poop, though mileage is much higher for the former. 

Ann Ticrist, a member of the design team, said they "didn't focus on efficiency for cat poop fuel as those are probably the first pets most of us will decide to eat."

Cup holders are also not featured since surveys showed that we will mostly likely be drinking from skulls of various sizes- too many to design around. Engineers compensated by adding more hooks for pots and pans to clang on, as well as a compartment that doubles as a hiding place should the four horsemen approach.

The reactions to the vehicle were varied.  One man said, "it's kind of depressing.  I think if we still have cars after Armageddon, my boss will expect me to keep working." Another was more optimistic, stating "I'm interested in the upgrade which includes jars to keep the heads of the zombies I've killed."  

Executives were reluctant to state when exactly the Dystopia will be released.  They're concerned about competition from the rumored Toyota Apocalypse and Range Rover Sauron.  Suggested plans are for a 2017 launch.  But CEO Beau Jangles said, "it could be as soon as next week if the terrorists win."

Getting angry with Etsy is like, so five years ago.

I wasn't  angry.  I wasn't even slightly perturbed.  I've passed gas that's made me more emotional. And I wondered why?  Why was I, the never reluctant crusader against injustice, completely cold when I read all these stories about glorifying Etsy resellers, Etsy going public, Etsy going against what many hoped it would be... A true port in the storm for makers to band together against the big box, wholesale, imported from third world and marked up 1000% mentality...?

Was I just getting old(er) and jaded(er?)? Had I sold out?  Was I a fat cat, accepting my sales on Etsy and patting my rounded belly, full of broken handmade dreams?

I don't think it's any of those things. Yes I'm older, and yes, my belly is probably rounder than when I first signed up to Etsy.  But that's just because of time and carbs.  

And you can't suggest that I never cared.  I cared big time.  

I signed up to sell on Etsy in 2009.  I had only the tiniest shred of hope I'd sell a few things and make pocket money.  It didn't really matter though as I simply felt a primal urge to just make shit.  I was unhappy in my day job where every ounce of creativity was strictly forbidden unless it involved new ways of kissing the boss's arse.  

I would spend weeks at work and only create an ulcer. I'd spend a single hour in the evening crocheting a dish towel (that I knew I'd never even use) and feel a warm sense of satisfaction.  If God exists, I thought, we now have something in common.  We both like making shit. Yes, we already both had facial hair but I can't help it. I'm Italian.

I stumbled upon the Etsy forum not long after opening my shop. Like all newbies, I was hungry for advice that would help me sell something... anything... please dear god let that transaction email pop up.

What I found there was quite enlightening (and entertaining, and infuriating, and hilarious and sometimes even helpful... oh the old Etsy forums *sigh*). While most conversation was positive, there was already a decent undercurrent of unrest which I quickly recognized. As a cynical person I am not drawn to wide eyed acceptance of authority.  In my experience the ones who are complaining usually just have a better bullshit detector.  On Etsy there were many wise detectors.  

They were hard to find as they were sometimes camouflaged by granny squares or wire wrapped pendants or the overpowering stench of supposedly handmade soap. But I did find them. And oh, did we butt heads with the loads of starry eyed buttheads littering every corner of every space. I was accused of being negative.  I was accused of never being satisfied. And eventually, due to one particular Etsybot, I was forever silenced from the Etsy forums.  Yes, I cared so much and spoke so often about my concerns, Etsy shut me up.  Whereas in most businesses, dissatisfied customers are given more attention, Etsy just told me to shut the fuck up.  How thoughtful of them.

Where was I?  Oh right, arseholes.  Oh yes, I'm sure they thought they were the ones who cared, and that I and other like minded folks were just haters.  Yet, as it turns out, we haters were right.  Our negative predictions have all just about come true.

So why don't I even feel some sense of smug satisfaction?  Why don't I even take perverse pleasure in the demise of the Etsy fairy tale?

I've realized that Etsy is not my boyfriend. I wasn't the first person or even the hundredth to use that phrase. But it was a punchline before.  Now it's the cold truth.

You know how they say if you can get angry with someone that means you still have feelings for that person? I have broken up with Etsy, had revenge sex with someone else (artfire), a rebound relationship (zibbet) and am now building my future with someone who accepts me for who I am (big cartel).

Etsy is now simply another company I patronize.  Sure, there are feelings of gratitude.  Just like I am grateful my local supermarket always has milk and bread, I am grateful that Etsy has created a selling platform.   I use it, and use it well.  I pay them for it, and they provide me with a service.  I feel no more outrage with their business dealings than I do with my local pizza place.  I pay them for a pizza, they give it to me and I eat far too much of it and then feel like crap later.  They know they're getting my $20.  I know I'm getting a bigger arse. We all know where our relationship begins and ends.

However, I don't blame anyone for still feeling angry about Etsy.  There were a lot of hopes at the beginning and many feel let down. I sometimes wish I were around for the heady optimism in Etsy's earliest days.  But then again, perhaps it best I arrived long after the last cup of kool-aid had been given out. Perhaps that makes it easier for me to accept that Etsy's a business with millions of dollars of investment and no closer to revolutionizing handmade than Apple is to producing a better crop of honeycrisps.

Etsy isn't our boyfriend.  Etsy never was.  It never will be.  Etsy's more like our vibrator. It gives us what we want and there's no love lost or gained.  We can ignore it and it won't ever bother us again, or we can plug in and go along for the ride. It's just a power tool.  And as with most every power tool, much of its parts are mass produced in China. 

The Madonna backlash is officially pissing me off.

Okay, I'll be honest.  I'm more often in a pissed off state than not.  But this one is really grinding my gears on this cold, icy February Monday.

In full disclosure, I did not watch the Grammy's last night.  I was out watching the Impractical Jokers on tour and laughed my backside off.  Upon returning home and checking my Facebook feed I saw that Madonna still had a backside and made sure we saw it.   I thought, 'wow, if I were a dedicated blogger I would probably stay home and watch crap like this for material.'
Matawhore? image source
Annie being Annie image source

Did you see the Grammy's?  If not, do google Madonna and find out exactly what she wore and how she performed. You might also want to google Annie Lennox and see how she fared last night.  

Both women are eligible for AARP memberships.  Both women did what they do best.  And yet, somehow, people use words like 'tired' or 'cringeworthy' for Madonna while Annie gets the descriptors of 'breathtaking' and 'bringing down the roof'.  

Now of course everyone is entitled to their opinion about music.  After all, it is art and there is no right or wrong here.  But being old enough to remember both artists in their prime I was struck by something.  

Annie could be described as cool. She's wearing the same sort of attire she wore 30 years ago. She's covered up and androgynous in style.  Her hair is the same.  Her overall look is the same as ever.  She growled and screamed her performance of a classic.

Madonna probably won't be described as cool.  She's wearing the same sort of attire she wore 30 years ago.  She's not covered up and overtly sexy in style.  Her hair is the same.  Her overall look is the same as ever.  She growled and screamed her performance of some new material.

Why then the divergent reviews?  Is it simply due to taste?  Have most of us decided that Annie Lennox is just more talented?  I hope that is the case.  I hope that is why one "stole the show" and the other was "trying too hard".  

But I fear it is something else. As much as people deride our youth obsessed culture, they also seem to think Annie is doing it right and Madonna is doing it wrong.  Why?  Because Madonna still lets us see her ass?  

I'm torn here.  Maybe because I'm closer to 50 than 20.  But I am starting to see a massive hypocrisy in thinking our culture is obsessed with youth, when we also say once you're a certain age you must behave a certain way.  I'm confused as to why two legendary performers are pitted against each other in a 'this is how you age right' way- when both are doing much of the same as they've always done.

If Madonna wore a pantsuit and released an album of standards, would we all applaud her for no longer being obsessed with youth?  Would we say you've finally grown up Madonna?  I can't think of a more youth obsessed perspective than one that expects women of a certain age to behave a certain way.  

It seems that Annie's personal style and music is one we accept at her age. Yet we've all deemed Madonna's personal style and music as the purview of the young, so she needs to give up already.  Come on Madonna, you can't be hip when you're old enough to break one.  You're not allowed a pass at the Grammy's till you sing a song that's as old as you are and put some fricking clothes on you old bitch.  Them's the rules.