Friday, November 11, 2016

Post-election blues and reds

'There's a blaze of light in every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah."

So, I had my little flutter with the $1 starting bid auctions. In about 3 days, I moved a lot of older stock and racked up about one grand in sales. Not bad at all. Then we left for North Carolina so I had a forced week off from selling on Facebook.

When we got home, I picked up where I left off and had another flurry of buy-it-nows. I cut apart a lot of sets and sold the beads in pairs, pair duos and small sets. At first it was great but after a few days, the BINs slowly ground to a halt and I was getting more bids of $1, $2, $3, etc. Many listings eventually sold for what I wanted or close, but it took the full 24 hours and I lost my turnover leverage.

Then it got worse. A few acutions closed at $3, including 3 focals. Face palm. That was an experiment. I wouldn't say they were my best work, nor my worst, but they were worth more than $3. I could have donated them to Beads of Courage and taken a charitable tax deduction and felt better about that. Then some pair duos sold for only $4-$6 and I decided it was time to stop selling on the bargain site. At least for now.

Not that I'm selling much on the usual sites. One long-time customer, who won two of the $3 focals, did buy some of my beads at regular prices, out of guilt I think.

In the meantime I strung up and took pictures of a lot more pairs and small sets. Maybe I'll try again on the bargain site in a week or so, maybe I'll try them at low start bids - but not $1 - on the other selling sites.

Once again I am rethinking everything, from the reasons I make beads, to what I want to make, to where - if anywhere - I want to take my art.

I finished my article for Glass Line magazine and Neil took photos of the bead I made for my tutorial. I submitted all of it, received and looked over the first draft, made corrections, and sent some more photos as requested. It mostly feels like a relief to have it off my plate, and it also feels a bit dreamlike. This should feel like a big honor and an ego boost and I should really care about it, but honestly? I'm phoning it in. It's good enough and that's good enough.

Being featured in a print magazine, being sought out no less, should feel something like I've arrived, no? Like I'm a real, respected, legitimate artist. And it's coming at a time when I've lost or misplaced my joy in making beads.

In related irony, we are trying to finalize the design on our new house and one of the last outstanding issues are the studio specs. I still want to err on the safe side and have a suitable studio to make beads in. But I can imagine a future without beads too.

Neil wants to lock in the mortgage interest rate, but everything is contingent on signing off on the design, so the pressure is on to get this sorted out. I've been talking and emailing with the builder and have come up with a rough plan that he now has to take to the HVAC contractor and chief mechanical engineer.

More likely than not I'll still have to use propane because having both a ventilation hood and a natural gas hookup might be construed as a second cook space which triggers a lot of building code ramifications. I'm still hoping that if I can't have a gas connection in the studio, I can tap into the one we are putting in for a gas grill and pipe it in the same way I'd pipe in propane.

It's astonishing to me that Neil is going along with whatever modifications are necessary and whatever additional costs might be incurred. I know he is doing whatever is in his power to influence my happiness in our future home. I also think he likes it that I make beads, which is tenably an idiosyncratic and hip type of art to make.

Whatever happens, I'll do some sort of arts or crafts and it won't hurt to have a nice tile-floored studio space. Maybe I'll finally get a lapidary wheel. Maybe I'll explore electroplating. Maybe I'll try my hand at enameling again.

Or maybe I'll take up knitting and crocheting and work out of bedroom two instead. I won't be the first person to have wasted a boatload of money on an art or craft they failed to pursue. Hell, it won't be the first time I've done it myself. I have the camera and lenses to bear witness.

Would I be remiss if I didn't mention the presidential election that happened this week? What I deemed an unthinkable outcome happened. Now all Americas must live with the consequences of half of America's choice, but as the other candidate said, let's keep an open mind, give him a chance to lead and see what happens.

Watching the returns was like watching the final game of the world series that went into overtime tied. The visiting team was the one I was rooting for, but knowing the home team could end the game with a walkoff made it too stressful to watch. I left Neil to sweat it out and went to bed. My team did win in the 10th.

I also went to bed with the election hanging in the balance, but my team did not win.

It was all the more shocking because it contradicted all the early polls, all the reliable prognostications. My favored candidate started the day with an 85 percent chance of winning.

And yet, at one point on the news, some commentator stated that the chances of the other candidate winning were about the same as a professional football player missing a 37-yard field goal. That gave me an eerie feeling. I've seen that happen multiple times. And I don't watch much football.

So the other candidate missed the field goal but took home the ring.

Yesterday for the first time in a long time, I felt blue about something that wasn't myself. A dreary day matched my mood.

But the earth continuued to spin. The market bounced back from free-fall to a near-record high. Today dawned sunny and clear. People continued to buy beads.

I know we're in a little bubble now, a tepid zone between election and inauguration. A time when it's possible to think that the wheels of government move slowly and maybe not too many bad things will happen in the next four years. Maybe even some good things will happen.

I do realize that I'm in a privileged class, even though I am a woman. I'm white. I'm not poor. I'm not young, which in this context is a good thing. I'm an American already. I have health insurance that doesn't rely on the Affordable Care Act. I'm married - and straight. I can continue to be non-racist, non-sexist, pro-choice, anti-death penalty.

In fact I can continue to be what we it would behoove all of us who are demoralized by the results of this election to be. And that is the change we want to see in the world.

Or to more properly quote Mahatma Gandhi.
We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.

This week we also said goodbye to the brillian songwriter and musician Leonard Cohen, who went to stand before the Lord of Song on the night before the great election debacle of 2016.

It may have all gone wrong, but it's not over for us, not yet. It is what it is, and it's what we do with it that's important now. I for one will be doing my best. I hope you will too, whichever way you voted.


Well I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to her kitchen chair
And she broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah Hallelujah, Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did well, really what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light in every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Now maybe there's a God above
But all I've ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you
And it's not a cry that you hear at night
It's not someone who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah Hallelujah, Hallelujah

But baby I've been here before
I've seen this room and I've walked this floor
You know, I used to live alone before I knew you
And I've seen your flag on the marble arch
And love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Well there was a time when you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show that to me do you
But remember when I moved in you
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I learned to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah Hallelujah, Hallelujah


(Leonard Cohen, 9/21/74-11/7/2016)

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