The fact that I can’t even figure out where to begin writing a stupid blog post about my dilemma is a bad sign, but here it goes…
Right at this moment I have several browser windows open. One is for etsy, one is for some novel writing software, and one is for some mohair yarn. The etsy window I have open at all times because I am addicted to browsing the handpicked items. It’s much easier than handpicking items myself. I keep ongoing favorites/wish lists on etsy, ebay, and Amazon even though I can’t ever afford to buy anything.
About ten years ago I purchased a human skeleton, minus the head and hands, and I also bought a bunch of animal skulls and a jar of cat bones that was also minus the skull. My plan was to create mobiles in which I strung the skeletons back together and replaced the missing skulls with the skulls of other animals. I got glass beads, copper wire, and driftwood to complete the projects, but then all hell broke loose. My kids and my (now ex) husband flipped the fuck out when I took the rotting, stinking human skeleton out of the box and started trying to figure out how to lay it out. They demanded I put it in the garage, and after that I gave up and sold it on ebay so I could buy my kids a Playstation with the money. Shortly after that I got divorced, and though I managed to hold on to the cat bones and the smaller skulls I managed to lose all of the rest of it while I was moving out. The skulls and bones have been sitting uselessly in my china cabinet ever since.
Yesterday while I was browsing the etsy handpicked items I came across a coral-themed collection. Instantly I was inspired to finish my cat bone mobile, only using coral in place of glass beads. I am slow, so sometimes inspiration takes ten years to strike, I suppose.
While I was perusing the coral beads I came across a large coral flower someone made from repurposed cast-off cashmere sweaters, and I decided I absolutely must add it to a vintage mohair turban pattern that I bought off ebay and haven’t yet used. So now that’s on the favorites list too. After devoting a chunk of my morning to trying to figure out what yarn to substitute for the long-since-discontinued kind the pattern calls for, I finally found one, so now I’ve bookmarked that site too.
During the month of October I was sorely disappointed by the lack of decent horror movies on television, so I dusted off my old collection of cheesy horror novels. During my childhood I became obsessed with bad horror novels, particularly the ones with the cut-out covers that revealed an even more ghastly and unspeakable version of the cover when you opened the book. I’ve always wanted to try writing horror fiction, and I also want to try writing in the third person. While I was re-reading my crappy old books I set my mind on thinking of a bad horror novel plot that I hadn’t already seen before. Even though it was tough, I thought of one. This morning while I was looking at beads, bones, and yarn, the beginning and the ending of the book suddenly popped into my head, so now I’m scrambling for novel writing software so I can lay it all out and then forget about it for five years until I finish the other books I’m working on. I think it might work better as a screenplay, but I don’t have time to research screenplay writing and I have no idea how to market them, either. At least in novel form I can finish it and get it out there for sale in the world as soon as I am ready, with no impediments.
The book I currently have on Amazon is not anything I worked on for any significant amount of time. One day I got the idea to write down all of the embarrassing things that happened to me during my school years, and a week later it was 50,000 words long. A month after that, it was more than twice that length and for sale online. But writing does not usually come that quickly for me. When I was six months pregnant with Pablo an agent was interested in a manuscript I was working on, and while I was sitting at the computer trying to finish the proposal for him the apartment upstairs from me exploded. I mean it literally exploded, with firemen and the Red Cross putting us up in a hotel and everything. Pablo is three now, and only now am I nearing completion on that book. I’d say I’m about 80-90% finished with it, and my husband is about to start working on the cover.
On top of that book, I have a manuscript about our Mexican adventure that I’d say is about 40% complete. I’ve been working on it for three years, but I got badly stalled when I realized I didn’t know what direction to take with it because I couldn’t figure out at what point to end it. Now that we are leaving Mexico, the ending is obvious, so I’ve been adding notes and working on it here and there but realistically it won’t be finished until 2015.
I wrote this book for my daughter’s 18th birthday, but I didn’t finish it and send it to her until she turned twenty a few months ago.
This is a joke cover that I can’t really use because I don’t have the rights to the photo, but once I started showing this birthday present/joke to my friends and my daughter showed it to her friends I was encouraged to put it for sale on Amazon too. I’d say I’m about 90% done with it, and when this one will be available is mostly dependent on when the babies will let me get around to it.
On top of all of this, in college when I was in my mid-twenties I wrote a children’s book that my writing professor assured me would never see the light of day. He said you simply could not write a children’s book about trying to kill animals, that it could not be done, but last year, at age 40, I decided that it could. I updated it, storyboarded it, and now I am experimenting with different mediums while I try to decide how to illustrate it. Oil pastels are definitely out, but last weekend I bought watercolor paint and india ink pens and I think that might work. First though, I have to do a test run by painting a portrait of Riley as a sad clown that will most likely anger him.
So this is the reason I never have any completed projects to post on this blog. I am in the middle of a thousand different things, some of which were started in the nineties. I have projects going that outlasted both of my long-ago marriages and that were around before half of my children existed. I feel like I’ve been working on some of these things forever, and I guess really I have. Originally my grueling single mom workaholic schedule was the thing that was holding things up, but now instead I have limited money for supplies, inspiration that is sporadic at best, and two toddlers who are always working against me. I will get everything done, eventually. I think as long as it’s all finished before I am 50 I’ll be okay, provided I don’t start anything else more substantial than small crochet projects and portraits in the meantime.
I also have what I think is a fascinating outline for a nonfiction book about the scandals of my hometown, which involve hippie violence, Satanists, and Hare Krishnas, but I am thinking about giving up on that project because it turns out I suck at investigative journalism. I couldn’t get anyone to talk to me, on or off the record, and I am so overwhelmed by the rest of the projects that I don’t know if it’s even worth bothering with that one. Veronica is desperate for me to do this one, and she has even volunteered her babysitting services to make sure it happens, but I think I’m too timid to press for information from reluctant informants.
My fear is that having all of these things going at once makes me seem like a crazy person, but really I am way too lazy to have a manic episode. I think the thing that is driving my project frenzy, more than anything else, is Pablo’s autism diagnosis. I always had this idea in the back of my head that I was going to rejoin the workforce at some point, and now that the autism is ruling my existence I’m realizing it’s probably never going to happen. I didn’t make a ton of money off of the book I have on Amazon, but I made enough to buy a major piece of equipment I needed for managing the autism, and also to buy Riley some expensive-assed Vans he wanted. I figure if I can get as many projects as possible out into the cyber world with price tags on them, even if none of them individually makes a lot of money, put together I might end up with something that resembles an income.
Pablo might be in diapers until he’s five. Until he’s eight. Until he’s twenty. I might never be able to put him in daycare. We just don’t know. I am hoping for the best, and I see no reason not to because he’s very high-functioning at this point, but anything can change at any time and I need to try to stay one step ahead of it all. So even though my starving artist stuff is moving slowly, at least it’s steadily moving. I think I need to pick a project, finish it, and then start a new one instead of waiting around for time and inspiration the way I have been, but it’s hard to focus when one of my babies won’t stop attacking the other one and he doesn’t even understand emotions or consequences so there’s not really any way to get him to stop.
I am hoping once we move back to the US and get him into services it’ll all become more manageable. Only a few more months left before we’re back on el otro lado.