Which is fantastic, because it’s Sunday. That’s about how long I’ve been in this confused, morose state of mind, trying to figure out what I need to whine about. There are so many options; an endless smorgasbord of idiocy begs to be picked apart by a weirdo artsy-fartsy windbag like me. I don’t like to talk about my feelings, let alone share them with the internet. When I’ve written it all out, I’m like “good gawd, I’m a sniveling blob” and the big sweeping delete is the next order of business. I’ve decided it’s because I’m trying not to offend anyone and I’m trying not to sound whiny or mean-spirited. But I think that due to my long term lack of whining, I’ve slowly morphed into a pillar of gristle, tough straight through to the other side, processing or deflecting anything that’s thrown at me. Big pieces of gristle are not only unappetizing, they’re plain old flavorless. But the (very) occasional whine helps replenish and lend a glisten to the tough exterior we show to the rest of humanity. Oh, the humanity.
Kim Miles Lotus Bead – photo lifted from kimmiles.com
I stumbled upon a recent blog post by Kim Miles where she announced that she was out of the bead business. At first I thought she was referring to a bead store she owned, but she sold her entire lampwork stash and she’s done for good. An era ends, but with happy new beginnings for her, so that’s all well. Kim Miles was a huge source of inspiration to many lampworkers over the years. She was prolific and is just a stand-up lady. I’m well over a month behind on this news, and it made me sad, and equally as sad that I didn’t even realize it was happening. Not that I would have tried to talk her out of it… it more or less says something about me and my tendency to pay such little attention to what other people are doing, or in this case, not doing any more. Sometimes my ostrich mentality is of some benefit to me, particularly when it comes to my work. I can be sure that I’m doing what I’m doing, and not unconsciously doing what everyone else is doing. But I also miss out on some good stuff, and unpleasantly obvious stuff, as well.
Mr. Blue, my annealer
Kim Miles got me thinking. I’m a happy person, unless I think about stuff. I try not to think too much about anything that might make me sad or mad or confused, because I don’t have time for any of that. So when I do think, it’s a little bit like picking off a big scab. And this past week, I’ve been picking around in my brain for ideas about what I’d be doing if I weren’t making beads and jewelry. Like if the economy REALLY tanks and we’re standing in line for hours for one lonely can of expired off-brand creamed corn because I couldn’t get over myself and my glass. The truth is, I don’t know. I haven’t thought about this in a long time. It’s been at least ten years since I’ve had to eat tortilla chip crumbs for dinner and wash my hair with old grape-scented bubble bath. I’m nowhere close to that, but my hard-wired pessimism (realism, actually) keeps me on my toes and always looking around the corners. I shared my semi-serious contemplation of hanging it all up and getting a real job – because that’s what mature adults do – and Mr. Sarah and Mom both scoffed in disbelief as if I had just told them fried crickets sounded awesome for lunch today. I think Mom gave me her signature “Now… wha?” Maybe this has something to do with the fact that I’m turning 35 this November… or it could be that the tarot cards told me I live in a dream world. And I’m just about sick to death of getting the Fool card. Yes, I’m a fool. Tell me something I didn’t know already.
image lifted from wikipedia.org
See, most of my friends have real jobs and own homes and support their families and have tyrannical employers who keep them under a microscope and also pay them handsomely for running in circles all day. It sounds like a fair trade-off to me. Maybe it’s time for me to grow the hell up and stop screwing around with beads and piddly crap, or at the very least, expecting to continue to financially contribute to my family with it. If I did call it quits, it wouldn’t be due to any happy new beginnings. In fact, it would be the beginning of a steady decline into a state of misery that can only be settled into by trying to fit into a skin three sizes too small. My current perception of the public at large is not a positive one, folks. Bead people are a much more kindly and evolved species than the average joe at the corner sto’, and I think I’ve been spoiled rotten by all of you. (And for that, many thanks.) But outside my door is a gaggle of vacuous zombies hopped up on internet and pharmaceuticals. Which isn’t a problem if I don’t leave my house. But being stuck inside a building with them for 8 hours a day would definitely be a problem. If I think someone is a zombie, I won’t hesitate to give them a clear rundown on how NOT to be a zombie, because I’m helpful that way. Particularly if their zombie-ness somehow affects my ability to do my job. Everyone wins if nobody is a zombie. Did Night Of The Living Dead teach us nothing, America? I was watching 20/20 the other week, and according to them, brown-nosing is the #1 way to keep yourself employed. Mr. Sarah told me that we might be able to escape the zombies by moving to Europe, but rewiring all the lamps and quarantining the cats sounds like a bigger hassle than boarding up the windows.
You know, I have plenty of talent and focus and most of the necessary traits to be successful at doing what I love to do, but I feel as if my success could very well have been just a flash in the pan. So many new waves of talent have arrived on the lampwork bead scene over the last 15 years – from clever innovators to skilled imitators with all sorts of dabblers and plain old glass lovers in between – but we’ve lost some, too. In fact, a few of the pioneers of the modern American glass beadmaking movement appear to have vacated the premises. I can’t find jack about Jim Smircich, I haven’t heard from Inara Knight in ages, but I do realize that just because they aren’t on the internet or in my inbox, it doesn’t mean they’re not still kicking beads around. I wouldn’t be the self-centered twit I am without wondering where I fit in here, and where I may land in the future. At this moment in time, I feel like a whale who rode high on the wave for a while and suddenly found myself beached on an unfamiliar shore, too proud to ask someone to kindly shove me back in. Meanwhile, my ideas and I grow more dry and stale by the minute while I wriggle around and contemplate how to proceed. Yes, it’s irrational and maybe deluded (that’s what the tarot told me, as well), but how do I know that for sure?
Nobody tells the truth anymore. They’re too concerned with being politically correct (blandly inoffensive) that nobody knows which end should be up, because neglecting the other end might somehow land them in a bind with the department of family services. So the truth lays flat while us fancy monkeys try to figure out how to put forth the absolute minimum effort, get as paid as we possibly can, and never be held accountable for anything. Sometimes I feel just as guilty of that – by doing what I enjoy doing every day and not having to clean up some other fool’s mess. I’ve managed to avoid paying any real dues simply by not having children and not going to college and not maintaining a real job. Maybe I’ve just been skating by and the worst thing I’ve ever had to do is pay my taxes every year.
square buttons on a custom card, z-beads 2004
After much consideration, I decided that I’d probably just die of boredom or starvation either way. So I might as well tough it out for as long as I can, and enjoy the rest of my time here on earth while humanity slowly drowns itself in a pile of trash and Jersey Shore reruns. I’ve always thought Steve Harvey was kind of a dork, but he is right about one thing. To paraphrase, happiness isn’t about partying and having fun. It’s about finding joy and peace in your life. And I have… but These Trying Times keeps sticking its fingers in and swirling my happy around. I’m too stubborn to stop resisting, so maybe I’ll shoot These Trying Times the middle finger and make a delightful marble cake – soaked in booze, of course.
On a slightly different note, I woke up Monday or Tuesday morning thinking about ebay. I asked Mr. Sarah what he thought, and informed me that he’s been thinking I should sell on ebay again for a while now. That was news to me, so I asked him why he hadn’t said anything. Since, you know, as soon as I’m thinking something it’s coming out of my mouth. His response was the usual “mmmMMMmmm” which sounds kind of like “I dunno”. Etsy would like us to believe it’s being run by a bunch of flaky hipsters gorging themselves on take-out sushi, and stripey sock monkeys are in charge of important server updates… but they haven’t fooled me.
Since I took my leave of ebay in 2009, I’ve felt inexplicably lost. Maybe I’m a masochist and secretly enjoy the torture of outrageous final value fees and sometimes taking less than what my beads are worth. But the excitement of an ebay auction is matchless. General Hospital isn’t doing it for me – I know I’ve only been watching for a couple of weeks – but that extra bit of distant drama I was hoping to sink my teeth into turned out to be a bit limp. So maybe I’ll just give ebay a go one of these days real soon. I’m not entirely sold on the idea, so it’s 50/50. What say you? I really like honesty, people. Some people say they like honesty, but when they get it, it makes them mad. I’m not one of them. I can take it. I’m a pillar of gristle, you know.
You are cordially invited to join in on the whiny fun… the comments section is your oyster.
Wow, that feels better. Thanks for reading.
Read Full Post »