Thursday, March 28, 2013

Heady feedback

"Now I know the business of the heart, and it'll get you anyway it can."

As the Supreme Court heard oral arguments about the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, the Human Rights Campaign modified its logo, from blue with a yellow equal symbol, to red with a pink equal symbol (to represent love). The new red logo went viral as Facebook users changed their profile pictures to the logo to show support for marriage equality. And of course before long, scores of humorous variations on the logo popped up, from strips of bacon or band-aids representing the pink stripes to Bert and Ernie or Grumpy Cat superimposed on the logo.

I'm totally in favor of equal marriage rights for same-sex couples but instead of one of the logos I changed my picture to a red bead that I made yesterday. I thought it was apropos.

Meanwhile, while my beads are, for the most part, languishing on Etsy, I've been selling orphans on eBay. I did have two Etsy sales this weekend, one from my patron, who has been making regular purchases for a year now, and one from a new customer. I also had some nice Facebook comments on my beads. I have a tutorial that will be published in the Soda Lime Times, a "lampwork bead makers magazine" in April, and the editor has been plugging the upcoming issue with teasers about my tutorial.

Here is the style of bead that my tutorial is about.

My orphans sell on eBay, mostly for embarrassingly low values, but I keep putting them up there. Let's face it, I make a lot of beads and some of them really need new homes. Some are extra beads left over from sets. I usually make two more than I need, just to be sure I have enough of the right sizes. Then there are all the dot beads I keep making because they are fun to make but which are hard to sell, color experiments, and quite a lot of test beads for my frit blends. Sometimes I take apart sets that have been hanging around here too long, break them up and restring them into my orphan lots.

Every 3 days or so I list a sampler of 30 beads. Most of them are in pairs or what I call mini-sets, three to five more or less matched beads. I have a generic template set up so that all I have to do is change the photos. I only tweak the description slightly, if at all. I generally take 5 pictures, just like I do for Etsy, and I start the bidding at $9.99. I've tried listing regular sets and starting them at fair prices but they usually don't get bids.

Here is an example of my orphan samplers.

I keep hoping that eventually I will build a customer base and they will start to bid against each other. Right now I have several regular customers, but they seem to be politely taking turns at bidding.

After eBay fees and PayPal fees and shipping materials and postage, I'm not even just giving these beads away, I am probably paying someone to take them off my hands. But at least I have an illusion of a little money trickling in. Right this minute eBay shows my total sales in the last 60 days to be $301.61. That doesn't sound too disrespectable.

What made me smile tonight was my feedback. I hardly ever look at it. At this moment my total feedback number feedback as a seller is 571. Not everyone leaves feedback, my total sales are higher. One reason I don't look at it is that it goes to my head. I wonder why it is so hard to read good things about myself.

Here are some examples. I just selected the most recent ones, I didn't pick and choose the best ones.
lovely colors and patterns
Gorgeous boro beads. Liz, these are really, really pretty beads!!!!
Nice, thank you!
These are more beautiful than the photo and I love them.
truly unique
Nice, thank you! Love the extra focal bead!!
Absolutely fantastic pieces instant heirloom, packing excellent A+++ artist
even prettier than expected
Gorgeous beads!
Buy with confidence from this talented reputable artist. Always A+++
Beads were flawless, service was 10*** even came w/ extras beads
It makes me happy and at the same time it makes me figuratively blush. I question whether it is truly deserved. I have a crazy ego, a love-hate relationship with myself. I always think I am better or worse than I really am. I think my work is beautiful and under-appreciated. I think my work is mundane and overrated. I never see myself objectively and there is no middle ground.

These feelings spill over into my life as a whole, not just my work. As an example, my enamel class is like a one room schoolhouse. My awesome teacher Jan Harrell teaches the first four semesters simultaneously and does it with grace. I'm in third semester. There are three women in second semester who are very nice and who have gotten to be good friends with each other. This week they invited me to go to lunch with them after class.

I didn't go. I said I had to go to the library, which is what I had planned to do, and what I did. I could have gone to lunch, I should have gone to lunch, it would have been fun. I can't tell you why I didn't go. I don't know.

My comfort zone seems to be all about keeping people at a distance.

I expend a lot of energy denying it, especially to myself, but I'm shy. And I have no patience for that shyness, Because isn't shyness just another form of egotism anyway? It's as though you think that other people are constantly noticing you and judging you, like you are the most important person in the room, like you need special handling or something. Hey look at me people, I'm hypersensitive and if you don't validate me again and again I think I'll just go eat worms.

Validation. It was the missing link in my first marriage. It was the reason I fell so hard for someone who noticed me and appreciated me, who thought I was smart and funny and creative and fragile and complex and sexy, who brought out all those qualities in me and made me feel that I was all those things. And more.

Except that we were star-crossed.

Because in spite of the doubts he'd been expressing to me, Nick was "back together" with his former ex-girlfriend.

And still he wouldn't write to me.

In the end I had to take it to the bulletin board.

Life is difficult.

Do you read your e-mail? Do you answer it? Don't answer that.

OK, this is how you want to do it, this is how we'll do it.

But I still remember how much trouble it got us in last time.

Did you think about those questions I asked in my e-mail? About accepting love that is kind (if not very patient). I swear I think you try to make me angry at you to intensify the attraction. But I can't muster the steam.

You know you don't have to feel empty. You may choose to. But you know I am here. So if that makes absolutely no difference to you, just tell me to fuck off and I promise you I will. Or tell me you will meet me at the zoo. April 1. 12:30. Main entrance. Which?

OK, this is the most outrageously indiscreet post I may ever post, but right now, frankly my dear, I just don't give a damn.
He didn't answer my questions. But he did answer.
It sounds like you are angry as hell at me. I am so sorry. I know how much it hurts to be in anger.

You should know by now how genuinely fond of you I am. And you know I am in a relationship. An unstable one, but a relationship. I have some moral obligations with that and I take them seriously.
I kept trying.
I refuse to be angry with you. But I have other feelings I am trying to deal with and understand. Maybe you could help me there. You understand me, as I understand you (I think).

I hope you will talk to me. Talking is not a betrayal of any moral obligations, is it?
Nick began to email me again.
Sweet Elizabeth. Ahhh! You are doing just fine. Are you not?
Love has no pride. I emailed him back.
I want to see you. Do you want to see me?

How's the Relationship?

I want to talk to you some more. I want ...

To play Scrabble?

Mmm. Maybe not."
He continued to write but kept me at an emotional arm's length.
My relationship is weird. We are constantly at each other's throat. I don't get it. And so the battle continues until we can somehow resolve the issue and let it go and get on with the business of living with or without each other.
But then he wrote this.
You are so charming. You are such a bright star. But,why me? Okay, I know, you like the poetry. Oh, Liz, what am I to do?
And then this.
I do adore you.

Has anyone told you they (I) love you today? You are so worthwhile. I'm so happy to have you near.
I was flummoxed. We'd been writing to each other for three months. I couldn't keep my balance any longer. I needed to know where I stood, where we stood.

It was time to get things clear.

"Baby let me set you down
You look so troubled and I think I know
Just when you think you've come around
There you go

Now I know the business of the heart
And it'll get you anyway it can
You need someone to walk with in the dark, well
I'm your man

I go to the trouble like a magnet
That's where I'll be
Trouble is just a place to sing
It's what you need

I swear you look like you're in jail
And all at once you're halfway out the door
One foot dancing, one foot nailed
To the floor

Chasing those circles in the ground
The same old shit is still the same old lie
Just when you think you've got it down
Watch it fly

I go to the trouble like a light
Or like a dare
Trouble is just a friend to me, I know
It'll always be there

It's really hard to make your peace
So give me some credit for the hell I've paid
This world's a blessing and a beast
Every day

So come on baby let me show you how
The less you know the more I comprehend
You don't have to drag me down
I descend

I go to the trouble and I like it
That's where I'll be
Trouble is just like love, if it's half the way
It's all I can see
And it's just what you need."

(S. Colvin, J. Leventhal, & T. Littlefield)

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