Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Shove it All in a Blender and See What Comes Out.

Or, if you prefer a more dignified title, then: "Recrafting an Artist's Life" might be more appropriate.

"Recrafting"? What the devil is that? Recycling, reusing, and generally finding a way to remake something. Upcycling. Get it?

So when I say "Recrafting an Artist's Life", what does that say to you? I bet it's not this(though this is often how it feels when one is in the midst of it):

Setting: a (once) lonely young woman, wife, mother of two, and sometime artist and crafter. She bobs through her life like a stick on a river, never noticing when the river turns, or the rain falls, or even really when she goes over the waterfalls. Rapids and languid lazyness alike wash over her; she is as unaware of the currents that carry her as she is of the dangers that lurk beneath the water she floats upon. She is powerless, unaware of her arms and legs. All she sees is the sky, and occasional flashes of green along the banks. One day, she snags upon some flotsam as she's going around a riverbend, and discovers she's thoroughly stuck. Well, here I am, she thinks to herself as she stares up at the stars.

Then, another comes along and points out that she has legs. So she gets up, takes his hand, and walks away, taking joy in the newness of it. She dances in the grass. She sleeps beneath the trees. She bathes in the waters that once carried her but feels no inclination or desire to ride those currents once again. Gradually, the riverbank can no longer sustain her. so she walks into the woods, to find a new way of being. She tries to carry what she loves with her, but is prevented, through life and circumstance getting in the way. She claws at the injustice forced upon her and her children; some things have been out of her control. Some things, she cannot change. She is told that she is abandoning her husband and children. She is told she's a terrible person... selfish, greedy, unrealistic. Head in the clouds. They tell her she acts like the world owes her something. They say a lot.

But she knows the truth... she has spent many hours, as she trudges beneath the boughs, in thought and contemplation. She has agonized over every decision. She knows what the cost is, better than anyone else, except the one who walks with her. She prays that the sacrifice will be worth it in the end, but she does not believe her prayers are heard anymore. They slog through mud, and find dead ends in the forest. They try to climb up, climb out, but the cliffs are too sheer. the rocks too sharp.  They scrape by in the canyons, in the harsh, greedy, grungy, ugly parts that very few who know her seem to see or understand. The world is set against the unprivileged, the downtrodden, those who have lost, and is determined to keep them that way. There is no help to be found.

She has some skill with precious metals and gems, with sculpting and carving, and with words. She has some knowledge of old things, of herbs and medicines, of green and growing things. He has skill with hammer and fire, metal and wood, and is no stranger to hard work. He would embrace it like a lover if he could. There is none to be found. He, too, has knowledge. It does them no good. They have exchanged one pitfall for another, and it seems too late now.
-End Scene-

There's no ending yet for this story. I know how I would have it end, but I'm starting to lose my belief in the idea that I can actually do anything about it. But that's all in the recrafting. I remember that I used to use pen and paper a lot, to write down the things that were important. I remember a lot of things that are out of reach, but this one's not. I used to take a lot of notes, on art and plants and jewelry and medicines and anything else I found. All that went into storage when we lost our place to live. Except for one notebook that has a surprising amount of pages left blank.

We have to find a way to recraft our life. There's few options on the how-to, but there's no choice for the have-to, because no one's really even willing to hear our problems, much less lend a hand up. So I'm starting with the little things, and I'm going to take notes on what I *can* do, here and now, to recraft our surroundings. Do I think it'll create a little sympathetic magic in the rest of our life, slowly transforming everything from the ground up? No, I really don't. But it might make the day-to-day a little more pleasant. The day-to-day is all we've got right now.

I don't have money to buy soil, or pots to garden in, or a shovel to dig up some of the yard. But I do have some empty jars, 2-liter soda bottles and old shoes, and the potential for composting to enrich the yard dirt I can scrape up with my fingernails. There's a stretch of forest behind us to forage in. We don't have money to take our crafting to flea markets or craft shows (gas money+booth+tables and displays=impossible), and I don't have any idea how to get around that. We don't have extra money to list any of my jewelry or Dragon's creations on Etsy, but I do have a  Facebook Page, and a deviantART gallery, and the Twinflame Studios blog, and PayPal, where there are ways to connect with potential customers. I have no effing clue how to improve the Studio's presence online, and most of the sage advice from other small crafters online doesn't seem to take certain aspects of our situation into account. Like the fact that we have no dedicated workspace, and a two year old who's too clever with her fingers by half. Put her to work, you say? Well, Wise Reader, she's more likely to hide the beads down the air vents in the floor than she is to string them...

(And I come back to my surroundings for just a moment, just long enough to realize there's been a bowl of chips, which Moira has shared with me out of her bag, sitting on the counter next to me for over a half hour, untouched... such is the writer's existence...)

The point is, that right now, we don't have the means or opportunity to do much, but I'm going to try to find a way to do *something* with the mediocre bits of existence we do have to hand. I can't change what's been. I don't really think I can change the future, either, with the way the world's going. Our circumstances are *not* going to change anytime soon, unless someone can point the way to a miracle. It's either recraft, or go crazy while nothing changes. Maybe the hours can be a little brighter as they fade behind us.

I just wish... someone, anyone, would listen, just a little. We do need help.

And don't hesitate to ask me questions, or send me suggestions, or any such thing. I welcome it. If you feel the need to start a private message about this, I invite you to do so on FB or e-mail. In fact, I'll post it this once in violation of a very strict personal taboo: spottedcheshire @ yahoo.com

Don't abuse it. You *will* be spam-foldered if you do. ;) 


  1. Most beginnings are tiny... like a seed. I think you have the seed in hand. It's good that you are talking to it. I pray it listens... I pray others listen, and you get the lift you need.

    1. Thank you, Magaly. It helps to know someone's out there rooting for us. Especially with what we found out yesterday about Dragon's dad's health. More on that later.