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Crafting My Future?

Field Notes In/On Transition

Crafting My Future?

So, I have printed out some calendars for my Strawgirl digital paintings, that were part of the perks for my Indiegogo, and sent those off with my old poetry books in some case to fulfill the perks, minus of course the actual memoir, which I have now, a decent draft of, and am waiting to get some feedback from a couple of writer/editor friends. I am hoping for some good input on readability, sometimes my sentences, kind of drag on, indefinitely, if you know what I mean. And more importantly any really glaring grammar issues, or that kind of thing.

When I get my feedback, I am going to re-edit those first few ‘chapters’ which really are just the first section of my story of early transition, from this blog, along with my childhood memories of my gender dysphoria, and other aspects as well of growing up in small town New Brunswick in the 70’s. It’s not like it was all gender dysphoria all the time.  I tried to be the person I thought everyone wanted, most of the time, and I think actually ‘passed’ pretty well as little boy “Joey.” I also have realized despite feeling like the readable draft of the memoir is ‘done,’ I haven’t written a sort of ‘concluding chapter, y’know, about where and who I am now, other than in these blog posts, which as raw as they might get, are still not ‘all of me.’

It felt really great to at least be able to fill the parts of perks by my far too early self imposed deadline of December. I posted about the calendars, and a mug I ordered, on a whim, for my room mate, which had one of my laundry line paintings on it. I got a few orders right away for more calendars and mugs, and in a Black Friday first for me, I spent some money on that day. I generally make a point to not buy anything that isn’t food, on Black Fridays. But the online printer I was using had a big 60% off sale, so even reshipping calendars and mugs with shipping included for my friends, I am making the same as if they shipped to me, and I sold the stuff in person. Having had no income in November, other than this, I had to pay rent with my credit card, which sucked, but I am thankful that I still have enough credit left that this is not the end of the world, to be living on credit for a bit. Can’t do it for long though. So I was thinking I might stick my name in for wellie (welfare) just in case. I also am going to have to apply for some part time gigs or something, to hopefully help me get through the winter.

But, but, and here’s the thing.... 

I was feeling so down, so despondent about going deeper into debt, I felt like I had to do something, so I filled those perks, with calendars and poetry books, I still have to send my brother’s package, as I have been waiting a long time to get a copy of my first poetry book “Like Bukowski In Drag.” the shipping is amiss I think. Hoping it’s here early this week. Sorry Bro, but I wanted to send you your whole package minus memoir at once too. Filling those perks, and getting a few friends interested in buying some calendars was so satisfying. As satisfying as the few weeks of helping do filing and boxing up of the files at my health clinic, REACH, which is moving while they get a new building. Volunteering always feels like the right thing to do. This and ‘doing something’ with my promises of calendars and other perks took me out of my unemployed and feeling very unwanted blues that I had got into. Something that still tweaks me in the middle of the night, or now as I write this, tears welling up.

At the same time as I was putting myself through a lot of grief, I was also back at work at the memoir with fresh eyes after taking an almost two week break from doing much with it other than sorting through my ideas of structure, doing some reformatting and a bit of light editing. I also contacted my potential publisher to find out what kind of submission they are looking for. They said, just the first few chapters, so I took a bigger swing at rewriting the first part of the book, which I felt had the weakest intro. I think I have it sorted, but we will see when the feedback arrives. Other eyes seeing at least some of what I am trying to say, is what i am hoping for, as well as fixes for my flowery grammar.

As I spend the winter months after submitting those beefed up first few chapters, editing and editing, then editing my memoir some more, I am hoping to find out Yay, or Nay from said publisher. Then, then my grand idea is to spend the summer until my 50th Birthday (September 14th)  travelling across Canada and back, on the train, hopefully. My idea is to spend some time editing each day, while travelling and crashing on friends’, family’ sofas  in the various towns and cities where I know folks from sea to shining sea. 

I really haven’t worked out how to make this feasible but am researching and maybe soon writing some grants, and thinking very seriously about another crowdfunding campaign, or maybe a Patreon account, to keep me accountable creatively until and during the trip. More than anything I want to start making some money off my artwork, my dolls and of course, my writing. The writing is the hardest part to monetize quickly, but you know I have maybe 8 or 9 unfinished novel projects as well as short story and comics stuff, half done. I am going to edit some of the best parts of those longer stories into short stories, or novellas and try my hand at the kindle single business, which as you may or may not know, takes a lot of luck and zeitgeist hitting, the old self publishing. But I plan to also maybe turn them into zines. So many plans, so many plans.

Which brings me to the rest of my big plans for the winter, and my trip, if I can swing it, or if I can’t I will keep on here in Vancouver with this writing, editing and also crafting to try to make (some) money. One of the perk fillers, that only my mom ordered, was a Strawgirl yarn doll which I learned how to make watching youtube videos. I sent my mom a couple for her birthday, and I made ten for my reading at Spartacus Books early in October. A few more friends really liked them, and I gave away one or two, but sold almost all the rest, except the first one, which I am keeping for myself. Yesterday I made a few more of them, and took them for one earlier customer whose doll had been used as a chewy toy by her adorable doggies.  I find this crafting of doll versions of Strawgirl to be almost ridiculously satisfying. It has given me the urge to venture more into creating objects, as well as painting, and photography and written projects. I really do feel like I can do these little side projects, like writing for a few hours each every day, and maybe be able to eke out some sort of starving artist lifestyle.

All the voices from my childhood and younger life are telling me that these plans are grandiose, and that I am one of those dreamers (you have no idea how many bajillion times I have been called this) who makes these plans all the time, but never follows through. Well maybe, but you know, I was never my real authentic self undertaking these plans before. Maybe I had to bring my old life to ground zero by going through all of Joe’s savings, leaving Joe’s dream job, and forging my own path from this well of potential that I always knew to be there, but could never commit to, because I needed to be the real me, to be Josie, first? Maybe, but I don’t believe in fate really, I believe in Synchronicity, and timing. I have a bit of money still on my credit card to invest, I have already earned back more than half of what I spent on the second batch of calendars, and mugs. 

I am currently out of mugs, but have five calendars left for sale, and I’m hoping to sell them locally to keep the price at $15 (cheaper than hope and shadows!) and not have to charge folks shipping. 

The other thing I probably don’t really have time for, but am going to at least try to do, is that most oft promised by bloggers resolution to blog more than they currently are. the difference between this time I say this and the other times, is that rather than just these lengthy written posts, I want to start getting comfortable doing some video blogs, as that’s a big part of my plan if I can get some granting for my ‘Trans Canada Trans” cross country trip idea. I want to blog my crafting, writing/editing progress. And, of course meeting other Trans folks and allies along the way. Part of the Indiegogo crowdfunding journey that I felt successful about were my pitch video, and my little video updates along the way. They were fun, and with my having made hundreds of videos over the years, already, easy to do.

Anyway, so yeah, I do have some plans. Maybe none of them will pay off, but I am betting that if I work as hard at these ideas as I have on my book, and on learning to be the person that I have always dreamed of being, at least some of these things are going to eventually pay off, and or lead to other ideas, gigs that will pay off. 

One thing I am starting with is to try and hustle the Strawgirl dolls and digital image ephemera a bit harder, as well as expand my doll making skills and repertoire with some great ideas I got from spending the last few days watching doll making videos. My sewing skills need to get up a notch so I can start having more dress options for Strawgirl, but eventually I want each doll to come with a couple, three outfits maybe. I might do an etsy store for all this, or finally use the that I bought and open a shop of my own on wordpress. so may options. I am very open to any more experienced crafters', artists' advice about online sales of stuff crafted/created.

Yes, I may also have to scale back and ‘work’ for someone else doing stuff, but anything that comes into my life like that from now on, is stopgap only. I am open to temporary decent paying gigs of any kind, but my art has really become my life, and any employer will just have to deal. This isn’t all going to come together in a trice. It will take time, more plotting and planning than I have laid out here, but eventually, I am going to make it all work out somehow.


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