A Bunch of Things I Want You to Know

BeeswaxSundays really were not meant for doing anything. Especially when church is cancelled (or rather relocated) and you can sleep in and it’s sunny but not hot for the first time in a week. And your husband toasts you a bagel and you got new yarn in the mail and you washed your hair last night so you feel all tidy. And you found a new band you like and you got new jeans and the kitchen is clean. But you have to go to work in the afternoon anyway.

Back in May I started doing the New York Times crossword puzzle every day. We get a copy of the Times (and four other papers) at the library so it seemed like a nice way to wake up each morning. Get to work (still a little asleep), log into computer, glance at to do list, find newly delivered papers, make copy of puzzle, sharpen pencil, pour coffee, commence wake up process. I copy every puzzle so that I have a backlog. I only work five of the six days that they publish puzzles, and sometimes the deliveries are delayed over the weekends, so I’ve got a nice little stack built up. And for some reason I haven’t thrown any of them out once I finish them. I’ve got half a ream’s worth of paper in completed NYT crosswords. What does one do with something like that? Wallpaper a room? They’re getting too big for the binder clip holding them together. Something’s gotta give soon…

I’ve stolen this idea from Wil Wheaton, you should know… He posts blogs filled with random unrelated updates and thoughts, and I love reading them. He’s a good writer – no crap, just to the point but still using his unique voice.

Molding beeswax over sharp wires in your mouth is like riding a bike. The permanent retainer the orthodontist left me with as a parting gift after six years of braces is finally giving up the ghost. A slice of dried mango is what did it in. One bite into that leather sweetness and I felt something give. Now maybe a month later the wire has worked itself all the way out of the cement and I can no longer run my tongue over it without a snag and a wince. So I cannibalized the base of one of the hipster hexagonal candles I got at the farmers market, rolled the tiny shavings between my fingers until they molded, and thumbed the lump right over the offending poke. Only after shaving the base off my trendy centerpiece did I remember my stint with bookbinding and how I was told to strengthen my binding string with wax. I had gone out right away to buy PVA glue, cotton string, and a handy little brick of beeswax made expressly for running string through. That brick still lived somewhere in my apartment, I was sure of it. My husband helped me ransack a few drawers and shelves and there it was. Dusty, discolored, and bearing many wounds from slicing string, but still legibly labeled for what it was.

So anyway, I have to go to the dentist. My nostalgic wax is only a stopgap.


I am proud of this weird yarn patch

fullsizerenderI am teaching myself to weave. I’m not sure why, but I’m filled with inspiration and motivation to learn this skill and use it to make beautiful and/or functional woven things for myself and others.

At first, I thought, “Chill, this is gonna be just like calligraphy and you’re gonna get in over your head.”

And then I thought, “But it’s just yarn. There’s no ink or digitization or business involved. You want to do it. Just do it.”

And this is my first woven thing. This lop-sided, oddly colored, patchy little rag is hanging on my wall because I am proud of it. And I definitely wrote an entire page of notes on how to not do things the next time around. That’s how you learn, right?

By Way of Explanation: Closing my Business

fullsizerender-2As you can see, I haven’t posted anything on my professional Instagram for about three months. That last post was around the time my heart was understanding something my brain wouldn’t yet agree with — I was not meant to run my own business.

For some context: I adore creating things. I inherited my creative spark and talent from my mother, and I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t enchanted by paints, charcoal, thick paper, colorful pigments, dark ink, and smudged fingers. After college I saw so many “solepreneurs” and “lady bosses” making it around me in the creative hub of the Twin Cities, and I was completely caught up. I was swept along in a current comprised of one part inspiration, one part aspiration, and quite a few parts, well, envy. I wanted what they had. I wanted the modern/vintage combo studio, the shining, diverse portfolio, the inviting website, the freedom to work when and how I wanted, the family of encouraging collaborators. And how could it go wrong — I love art! That’s surely all it takes; the crowd of creative business owners around me made it look so joyful and easy.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew it was going to take some elbow grease. I knew there would be difficult clients, long hours bent over the work table, cramped fingers from gripping the pen into the night, practicing until I went cross-eyed. My head knew that, and my heart thought it sounded amazing. I could fit it in around my “day job” and make it happen until I could go full-time. I could really be my own boss, construct my own work space, schedule my own hours, have that perfect work-from-home balance.

And it worked, for about a year. I had clients, they were happy with my work, they were giving me glowing reviews and recommending me to their friends. I was expanding my ideas, trying new things, dreaming about the “big time.” And then, without noticing, I was myself putting things off. I was turning down opportunities. I would rather read a book or organize the kitchen or have dinner with friends — this was my “free time,” I didn’t want to spend it working! But Lindsey, isn’t that the life you’re dreaming of? Being in charge of your time and choosing to spend it on your work, what you’re passionate about? Isn’t art “what you’d rather be doing?”

At this point I put my shop on vacation, telling myself I needed a breather to re-focus my goals and generate some exciting new ideas. I spent time with my husband. I read books. I went out with friends. I threw myself with new purpose into my “day job.” I watched a TED talk called “How to Unfollow Your Dreams.” I took time to understand how I even work as a person. Turns out, on paper, I’m the last person that should be their own boss. Concrete schedules, clear instructions, finite checklists, set working hours, annual reviews, progress reports — all things that make my little INFJ heart sing — are seldom found in the working life of a solepreneur. Being your own boss means not knowing what your day is going to look like. It means having your plan change in a split second, making it work with what you have, taking opportunities before you think you’re ready. All those things, the things that I saw in the lives of those around me and thought I wanted, were sucking the life from me. They’re good things. Extremely admirable traits. But God made me how I am, and I’m not wired to thrive in environments like that.

This process has taught me to admire all the lady-bosses around me even more. Having dipped my toe into that pool, I am in even more awe at seeing them thrive with the late nights, the “work until it’s done” hours, the making it work when things change in a blink. They’re on fire! They’re up to their ears in what God created them to do.

So, as I glance over my meticulous personal planner, my three redundant calendars, my bullet-pointed monthly task list, and my to-do list for today, I think, “How did I ever dream of a life so full of curve balls?”