Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The eleventh anniversary of nine eleven.

"If I needed you, would you come to me, would you come to me for to ease my pain."

I'm procrastinating. What I should be doing is taking pictures of my beads and editing them, writing listings for my Etsy bead shop, and maybe posting them on Facebook and Lampwork Etc. to extend my potential market reach. Making the beads is so much more fun than taking care of the business end of things.

I've been having to much fun making beads again, thanks to a slight dip in the temperature which may have kick-started the muse into inspiration mode again. I'm making a lot of sets and beaded keys right now, thanks to a particular customer who has been buying them almost as fast as I can make them and list them.

It's wonderful and gratifying to have someone love your beads so much. It's a curious thing though, because at some point I think this customer may have more of my beads than I have. I'm sincerely hoping she has a thriving jewelry business and is selling necklaces, bracelets and earrings made with my beads to trendy boutiques, high end box stores and/or a cotillion of wealthy California ladies who lunch. Alternatively, I'm avidly hoping never to see my beads make an appearance on an episode of Hoarders. (Just don't look too closely at my dining room table. And the kitchen counter. And my desk. And the coffee table ...)

I find myself making beads specifically for this customer, thinking about what her tastes are and predicting what colors and styles are likely to appeal to her. So I'm making more of the same colors and styles and at the same time diversifying in an attempt to tempt with novelty and variety. And to some extent to stem my own potential boredom or burnout from making the same things over and over.

Still, I find sets relaxing and in some ways mindless. Round beads are simple and relatively fail safe. I trip myself up because I make things in pairs and nailing the size in one try isn't a given, although I'm pretty good at eyeballing almost perfect matches. Graduated sets are even easier. I make seven or nine beads in the size ballpark and arrange them from largest in the center down to smallest on the ends.

Most of my sets have coordinating accent beads in foursomes. Usually one foursome will be pastel or opal and the other will be transparent or veiled. I have no idea really if my customers like this combination or would prefer smaller sets without accent beads or larger sets without accent beads. But at the end of the day, it usually comes down to making what I want to make, what I love.

Of course, I'm practical, I look at what sells in my shop and I make more of that. Rainbow sets have been hugely popular this year, and the nice thing about that is there are dozens of colors on my rainbow spectrum. So no two rainbow sets are ever identical. I have favorite reds and purples especially, and my rainbows have more than seven colors, usually nine and sometimes ten. I'm especially fond of infra-red and ultra-violet, but red-orange and yellow-green work for me too. And some sets are opal and some are transparent and I've even done a pastel rainbow spin.

Also popular have been my Pantone sets. I'm about ready to switch from the Fall 2012 palette to the Spring 2013 palette. Yummy colors.

Before I say goodnight, I'd like to acknowledge the eleventh anniversary of nine eleven, two thousand and one, today. Like everyone, I remember exactly where I was at the time the news broke. I was in my office at work. My friend Robin in North Carolina instant messaged me that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, the north tower. As the tragic drama played out, my personal grief had a macabre twist. That day I was sad. That day I would have traded my life with someone in the WTC who wanted one.

No, of course I wouldn't really, I had kids, I had parents, I had a brother, I had people who cared if I lived or died. What I also had was terrible guilt, guilt that I was suffering because a man I loved (a man I had known for less than 4 months, a man who had told me he loved me and wanted to be with me forever) had a change of heart. If he had a heart. People who lost friends and lovers in the disaster, those people had reason for suffering. I had a tempest in a very small teacup.

But it was my teacup. You feel the way you feel, and I was grieving, and in the days that followed the terrorist disaster, at least I wasn't the only one crying at work, the only one with red eyes and a heavy heart. Because the very fact that something so evil could happen in the world and yet this man (who I loved still) didn't come to me underscored, like nothing else, how inexorable the end of our relationship really was. And that was a bitter pill.

On September 14 I did get a letter from this man (one he sent to all of his mailing list) and what he had to say hit home. I'd like to share it.

This man (who I loved, had loved, still loved) said this:

"Perhaps whoever did this despicable act has their own set of sad stories - senseless deaths of friends or family, lingering anger fanned into murderous flames... Anger breeds anger, death breeds death. Pray for them all, and pray that we break this vicious cycle."

And I responded:

Your letter brought me to tears - but something brings me to tears on a hourly basis since Tuesday morning.

New York City is the city of my birth. I attended high school on Lexington Avenue and 46th Street. I was married in the World Trade Center. But sentimentality pales in the face of this monstrous, incomprehensible horror and the sorrow-laden aftermath.

I am so stirred by your beautiful words:

"Perhaps whoever did this despicable act has their own set of sad stories - senseless deaths of friends or family, lingering anger fanned into murderous flames. Anger breeds anger, death breeds death. Pray for them all, and pray that we break this vicious cycle."

I have printed them out and hung them on my wall.

You get it. It is as Gandhi said, "Human kind has to get out of violence only through nonviolence. Counter-hatred only increases the surface as well as the depth of hatred. Hatred can be overcome only by love." And it is as Francis Bacon said, "In taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy."

As moved as I am by the stories of people bonding together and showing solidarity and wanting to give in whatever ways they can, I'm profoundly saddened by the vitriolic rage against the spiritually ill perpetrators, the blind passion for retribution and the prospect of more bloodshed, of war.

I have never believed in an eye for an eye. It's a sentiment I have been trying to share, but it's not one that is generally well received. People say we can't lie down and play dead. I don't know what is right.

Maybe, like Hemingway, I need to make a separate peace. Like the old spiritual, "I'm gonna lay down my sword and shield, down by the riverside, I ain't gonna study war no more."

Powerful words, powerful then, powerful now.

"In the night forlorn the morning's born
And the morning shines with the lights of love"
Townes Van Zandt

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Thanks for your comment! I will post it as soon as I receive it. Liz