Monday, March 17, 2014

Butterflies in my brain

"And that's all yours, that's the guide, that's the map, so tell me, where does the arrow point to, who invented roses?"

I've had a hell of a time adjusting to the change to Daylight Saving Time.

That's unlike me.

I adjust to time zone changes of more than an hour fairly quickly.

But there's something about being in my routine and yet also being out of it that's disconcerting.

Of course, since Neil just went back to work today, I'm really only now really getting back into my routine.

Usually I sleep from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. Sometimes I stay up later, but I still get up at the same time. I don't set an alarm clock. I just wake up. And I like it that way.

But right now it's still dark at 7 a.m.

For the first few days after we sprang forward, I woke up at 8 a.m. when the light was saying it was 7 a.m.

Since then I've been getting up between 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. Since I manage to goof away the usual amount of time with coffee and cats in the mornings, I feel like I've been losing a slice of my day.

Strangely enough, I still get tired at 11 p.m. and have no trouble falling asleep then. Maybe I just need some extra sleep right now. Maybe the 12-day hospital adventure with Neil taxed me more than I realized.

I've been easing back into my routine of beads and treadmill and later this week, shelter cats. I finished a Carry-a-Bead project for Beads of Courage, 50 pairs of beads for the NHL Phoenix Coyotes. Brick red, desert sand, black and white. Quickie iPhone photo.

I also took on another project for BOC. I had some doubts but I want them to keep asking me so I hate to say no. This project is called the Design Challenge. BOC chooses 10 hospitals and holds an art contest, asking the kids to create a bead design for the theme "if hope was a bead ... what would it look like?"

An artist is then recruited to interpret the winning design in a bead and make 25 of them. Five of the beads are given to the "top designer" child and family. One goes to a challenge sponsored by Softflex, one goes to another sponsor, Jewelry Television, one is kept for the BOC archives and the remaining seventeen are sold to raise funds to support BOC.

There's an honorarium and a lot of publicity and exposure for the artist.

Sure, I said. No problem, I said.

This is the design.

I honestly thought it wouldn't be that hard. We agreed it would be best to do it as a design on a tab bead. I've made butterflies on tab beads before.

Four beads in and struggling, I sent a photo and said it was my best effort and I wasn't sure it was good enough. I knew they needed one on a short deadline and I didn't want to waste their time. They said there was a little leeway on the time.

Four more beads in, I sent another photo of the better two and offered to mail them in. If they couldn't use them, they could keep them as donations for the Act of Courage program. I got the green light to keep going, but I was frustrated that they weren't as good as I thought they should be.

As a result, I've ended each of my last few torch sessions feeling angry.

The one thing (in addition to Neil and my children of course) that makes me truly happy has the power to make me truly unhappy.

Here are the two I sent in. Another down and dirty iPhone photo.

Oh yes, they asked me to add the word "hope" on the back side of the beads. That should be easy for me, but I've screwed it up six ways from Tuesday, from grabbing the wrong color stringer (a green that bled) to starting to write "hope" but writing "hove" instead, because I've written "love" on beads before. Have you ever tried to make a 'v" into a "p"? No, probably not.

The butterflies are getting better. I've done a dozen now and I think I've worked out the best way to do them. I tried working in the middle of the mandrel, but wound up burning my finger, because while I was search for the right color on my bench I must have put the tip of the mandrel in the flame. When I change hands, well, ouch. I made a really awful sound. Even with no one near enough to hear me.

I finally tried outlining the butterfly first and working in, instead of working out and then outlining, and that was a breakthrough. So now I think I'm ready to start the final 24 in earnest. But each one is stressful and it's so easy to hose them up when they are almost done that I'm not having fun.

The butterflies aren't the whole reason I've found myself feeling angry after torching.

It's a combination of things.

I'm angry because I'm unsatisfied with the beads I made. Although sometimes when I take them out of the kiln in the morning, I see that they really aren't that bad and some are even nice.

I'm angry because, no matter how much time I spend making beads, I feel like I don't have enough time to make beads.

I'm angry because I'm letting other things in my life slide because I spend so much time making beads.

I'm angry because,no matter how many times I push the negative thoughts away, I despair of becoming a shining star, to take a place among the lampwork legends. Most of my life, I've been OK with being competent, adequate, good enough. I've made my peace with not being outstanding or exceptional. I don't know why this is different. I don't know when I made excellence mandatory for myself.

I'm angry because my hands hurt. My arm hurts. My neck hurts. And that's just how it is. It's the price I pay if I want to keep making beads.

Which I do.

There's a new Facebook page called Lampwork Beads for Sale. Anyone can post an auction for a minimum of 24 hours. You may only have one active auction at a time. You can have a "buy it now" price that is ended by a bid, or not ended.

It's a no brainer that the best way to leverage this venue is to have attractive "buy it now" pricing so your auction ends quickly with a sale and you can post a new auction. On the down side, playing by the rules, you have to let your auction run for 24 hours, even if your item gets no bids or comments. Comments bump your beads to the top again. You can interact with anyone who comments but you can only bump your own bead once a day.

I've sold two items, both at the opening bid and had several auctions end without a bid. I've become obsessed with looking at what beads are selling, checking the page compulsively and trying to figure out what captures a buyer's heart. And I'm baffled. Yes, some of the beads that sell quickly for good money are exquisite. But others, well, I don't see what makes them attractive in comparison to mine.

So I guess, all things considered, my ego is alive and well.

"I don't go to therapy to find out if I'm a freak
I go and I find the one and only answer every week
And it's just me and all the memories to follow
Down any course that fits within a fifty minute hour

And we fathom all the mysteries explicit and inherent
When I hit a rut she says to try the other parent
And she's so kind, I think she wants to tell me something
But she knows that it's much better if I get it for myself

And she says ooh, aah, what do you hear in these sounds?
And ooh, aah, what do you hear in these sounds?

I say, I hear a doubt, with the voice of true believing
And the promises to stay, and the footsteps that are leaving
And she says, Oh, I say, What? she says, "Exactly"
I say, what, you think I'm angry, does that mean you think I'm angry?

She says, look, you come here every week with jigsaw pieces of your past
It's all on little sound bytes and voices out of photographs
And that's all yours, that's the guide, that's the map
So tell me, where does the arrow point to, who invented roses?

And ooh, aah, what do you hear in these sounds?
And ooh, aah, what do you hear in these sounds?

And when I talk about therapy, I know what people think
That it only makes you selfish and in love with your shrink
But oh, how I loved everybody else
When I finally got to talk so much about myself

And I wake up and I ask myself what state I'm in
And I say, well I'm lucky, 'cause I am like East Berlin
I had this wall and what I knew of the free world
Was that I could see their fireworks and I could hear their radio

And I thought that if we met, I would only start confessing
And they'd know that I was scared, they would know that I was guessing
But the wall came down and there they stood before me
With their stumbling and their mumbling and their calling out just like me

And ooh, aah, the stories that nobody hears
And ooh, aah,I collect these sounds in my ears

And ooh, aah, that's what I hear in these sounds
That's what I hear
That's what I hear in these sounds."

(Dar Williams)

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