Tuesday, November 19, 2019

new ways of working and letting go...

Last night, assembling books at 1am before I went to bed, I was struck by how much calmer I am now than a couple months ago.  It's a realization that strikes me, especially when I am able to finish a batch of books (or several) during a time like overnight when I normally would have had to sandwich all of them into the couple hours I was able to be at the studio.  It does occur to me occasionally that I'd have been better served to have never rented the space, the only thing sustaining me being some more storage space for supplies (and having the whole operation & big shelves at home has proved less taxing. The dining room is a mess right now, but it's just a few unpacked boxes I'll get to this weekend.) There was the dream, of course, of events and open studios, but there wasn't room for anything more than the occasional open studio (which never really happened that frequently.)  And perhaps that is the need that needed to be cast off--that little dream at the back of my head that I would one day have a little public space, a little shop, maybe, somewhere to sell books and art and maybe host readings and workshops. Maybe a bigger space there in the building (which is hilarious since I could barely afford the one had most months.) 

At the same time, months would pass and no open studio materialized.  There were a few multi-faceted reasons for this:  The schedule didn't really work with my Friday library shift, which didn't allow me to leave until 8pm.  I really didn't want to extrovert having spent all day doing that already at work. Most Fridays, I am so tired from the week I just usually want to go home and fall exhausted into bed.  Usually,  the studio was a litter of half assembled books and trimmings and less than presentable.  Because I needed to make books when there, my inventory of the sort of things that actually SOLD at open studios (art, paper goods, accessories) were embarassingly thin, and therefore not worth the effort of having open hours.   

And ultimately, this one took a while to come around to.  The fact that I really don't like people in my space.  There were many instances, when I did have open studios, that people annoyed me deeply--children spilling things on paper goods, folks rooting through the hair clips and asking to switch the sets around.  People looking through the art and saying dismissive things like "Well, I could make that on my own.  This one probably indicated that while the idea of a shop was nice, the reality of it wasn't suited to my temperament.  Years ago, early on, I enjoyed having a couple workshops, salons and readings when there was still room, and the poetry people were delightful and mostly only interested in books.  But the general grabby masses during the crazy crowded holiday open studio.  Not so much.

All of the gains didn't really balance with the negs.  I can still host plenty of workshops and readings in the Library, where I've already been doing it for years.  I can make & ship books from home, where I would much rather spend my time. If I want to do book fairs and craft fairs, I can (and being less exhuasted financially and mentally, I am more likely to WANT to. ) Also, everything is in one place in terms of supplies and everything I need, which just makes me feel better and more focused.   Not to mention, that several hundred dollars that I won't be spending on rent, means I can buy more paper and supplies for the special projects that I've been waiting to get to when I had more funds.  And, of course, the crisis point that needed to be solved, to not be dipping into my bills, rent  & living expenses to pay that rent.  dgp makes plenty enough to keep me in toner and supplies, but it's never made enough, even in our flushest months, to pay the entire rent unless i sold a whole lot of other art stuff or had a larger number of author copy orders than usual. 

I don't wake up each day feeling overwhelmed and trying to figure out how to cram all that work into those few precious hours.  If I don't finish something before I have to leave for work, I can finish it that night. It's a much calmer way of existing in the world and I m relishing it. 

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