March 8, 2010

It’s All in My Head

For the past few weeks I have been working on a multitude of sample boards and small furniture pieces as a way to kick start my faux finishing business again. Some of the samples are redo’s of past examples that just fell short, while others are brand new and shiny examples of some of the work I can do. I have been devouring shows on HGTV for inspiration and spending a lot of time reading through posts on the faux message boards I belong to.

One might think this has prompted me to be armed and ready to get out there and tackle the world. My business cards are printed, company bio sheets are ready and in full color, the website and Facebook image galleries are updated and I even have some fantastic ideas of who to hit up for business so, truthfully, I should feel empowered.

But I don’t. All I seem to let myself feel lately is that someone knows I’m not as good as the other finishers and that they will quickly discover I am a fraud.

Yes I am fully aware that this fear is partially irrational but bear with me.

For a long time, longer than I can even pinpoint, I’ve been running around saying I want to be a writer. I want to write books. I want to write for a living. That is great because last November I took advantage of the downtime in the painting industry to do just that for the very first time. And it came out awesome. I mean awesome for a rough first draft. Put it this way, I love my characters to death. (And I'm not sure at this moment if that is pun intended or not.)

Now that I have actually written my first book, however, all I have managed to do with it is a first round of edits (on no more than the first half) and then shoved it into a corner somewhere to collect dust while I go and paint for a living.

You get that? Paint for a living, not write.

If it ever gets finished I know this book will be published, I know it will be purchased because I truly believe that the world I have created and the people who live inside it are just real enough to be relatable but just fantastical enough that real people will want to escape their daily life to visit their alternate realm.

But their world is barely constructed and I’m already trying to paint it.

Inside my head my characters are wandering around trapped inside this box and they keep looking for the door but I have gone and applied a faux finish to every corner of it, so it seems they will never find their way to escape. While I went off and made a paycheck, I boxed them inside the inescapable world and now even I can’t seem to find the door back in.

Is this what (hooker/waitress/) actors feel like? They want to act so badly that they promptly push away the grand opportunity that comes their way in order to go and get paid to set plates down in front of hungry directors so they don’t get thrown out of their apartment?

So now I have this fierce battle raging inside me because I know that all my irrational fears that I’m not a good finisher are total and complete crap. I know I am creative and have come up with a whole slew of interesting and funky treatments over the past few weeks that will be a no brainer to install not to mention fun. So here is the real thing I’m afraid of.

If I pursue a career as a decorative artist, strive to make Chucka Stone Designs all that it can be and start taking on clients all over greater Boston, I am afraid that I will somehow sabotage my own success by claiming it “isn’t what I really want to do” and promptly start whining that I really just want to be a writer again. That’s usually when I crawl back inside my own shell and have a pity party for myself that I never let anyone else become privy to. Instead I talk about how I’m ‘getting stuff together” and how I’m “almost ready” to get out there and work it. I lie to the world knowingly but I’m no longer convincing myself that it’s the truth.

So herein lies the real toughie for me. Why can’t I simply do both -- write and faux?

Easier to ask that question than answer it. Well for me at least. The logical answer is that there is no reason not to. Faux all day, come home at night and edit slowly but surely; maybe even work on the book on the weekends. It isn’t like I have a publishing house banging down my door for this manuscript (yet), screaming that they gave me this advance and now I’m over deadline or something. Nope, it’s just me and my red pen, so timing really isn’t at all of the essence.

So what the fuck is my problem?

The short answer? Me. I am my problem; my own worst enemy most of the time.

I’ll sit here taking days to craft this blog post perfectly, and I do love blogging don’t get me wrong but as soon as it is posted the normal person would grab the 190 pieces of white paper, a red pen and their imagination and go edit for the entire day. Not me though, I am bound to notice one tiny little thing that needs to be fixed on my website to make it perfect, the fact that I never added that other picture to some specific photo album, that I only have 20 business cards in my wallet so those should get printed, that I should really practice drums, that I never did update the proposal form, that I’m running low on something, that I really should write 3-4 GLR posts to front load the week, that I’m hungry, or a multitude of other distractions which will ensure I look at the clock at 3:00 and utter the words ‘wow, can’t believe the day is almost over and I’ve done nothing’.

As is plain to see, I also never got out to visit any Interior Designers, Contractors, Architects, Real Estate Agents, Decorators or other industry pros in this scenario either. So instead of even going to make a paycheck from my decorative work as at least a lucrative distraction, I sit here, doing nothing.

Sure I know it isn’t really “nothing” per se. All those things do indeed get done, but I know deep down that my need to have Perfection in my life has taken over again and that bitch is costing me dearly.

I need to figure out how to trick Perfection to get onto the box, then while I distract it with discussing the cost of the beautiful decorative treatment on the walls (ceiling, floor, furniture pieces…) that they will be paying me for I can liberate my characters from being held hostage by Perfection (for what feels like it has been forever). Use Perfection to provide the financing for Ripple the Twine.

Does that seem like an unreachable goal? Honestly, sometimes it does to me. But others likely just see it as good common sense.

So what am I going to do today? That is of course the real question begging to be answered.

March 4, 2010

Without A Doubt

My family has definitely been afflicted with various levels of hoarding and my grandparent’s house is the pinnacle of where it began. In my last post I mentioned that my aunt, mom and I took an entire day to clean out one of the rooms in the family house. While completing this task we made two piles -- one for recycling, the other for Goodwill. Since the start (long before last week), it has been a slow and steady process.

We found countless piles of newspapers, magazines, maps from their trips across the country (a future post will give details on the journals we found from their trips that I plan to transcribe and then Matt and I intend to visit every place they traveled), chotchkies, pictures, broken things, you name it and you were likely to find it in my grandparent’s house. In addition to the vast number of items that are boxed up and ready for charity, a few things have made their way out of the house and into our own homes. I have taken a few functional furniture pieces -- the table I mentioned last time plus 2 cabinets for my painting stuff, books, knick knacks, clothing and a few very, very random items.

While in my great Aunt’s bedroom we discovered that not only was she a very religious woman (which most of us already knew) but she also had a thing for astrology, fortune telling, horoscopes and the like. When I came across this little gem it totally blew me away. I turned it upside down, over and sideways trying to figure it out and next thing I knew I was asking ‘what is this, some kind of secret fortune telling device or something?’ only to discover the glass on the bottom fill up with a triangular shaped piece of something with just one word written on it ‘Yes’. It was the original Magic 8 Ball! Cool!

The fortune teller was discovered upon one of the first visits when I also acquired some of my grandmother and grandfather’s hats. My grampa was a fedora man and there were two gorgeous ones -- a grey and dark brown. I only pull them out occasionally but every time I wear any of their hats I feel like a million bucks!

Which is exactly the reason we’ve been sorting through everything before just getting rid of it; there could be cash stashed just about anywhere. Both grandparents suffered from symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and especially with my gram, as she got older and less mentally functional she hid things. With the number of things in the house that means things could be anywhere, especially in books. It’s a nightmare.

While sorting through some of the books in the reading nook on the third floor I came across this one which my mom convinced me I should at least read before donating seeing as though I’m the Green blogger in the family. This upcoming week I have some time and fully intend to do just that. Of course I have my pick of many.

There were some books as old as the early 1800’s found in the house including some that I should have read years ago but never made the time for, even though some of which I was technically supposed to read for school. A Tale of Two Cities, The House of Seven Gables, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Three Musketeers, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, you get the picture. Well they all came home plus the complete ten volume set of the World’s 1000 Best Poems, as published in 1929.

In the den I pulled this out of a basket or a bag or randomly off the floor and just started laughing, I mean when she bought it the name was probably very futuristic sounding. Like back in the 1980’s. In fact this tube of goo might have been one of the only things we found in that house that represented that particular decade. Well that and the jelly belt that was sticky from melting. Oh yeah.

Earlier decades were thoroughly represented as we discovered by the mounds of 1960’s and 1970’s poly print fabrics. This one was in a paper bag with the thread, pattern and zipper, just waiting to be created. Not to mention the receipt for how much all of it cost; just over $10. My mom and I are going to work on this together; Mom rocks, so does the dress on the far right.

This year for Christmas Matt got me a laptop tray. Mine has a lifting, tilting top, a lip to stop the computer from sliding forward and legs that fold underneath for easy storage. Looks familiar… Of course this one is a little beat up and wood not plastic. No one needs it and I immediately thought of my Mother in law. I know she reads so this could be a perfect little giftie for her. I’m going to clean it up, paint and faux it then send it on down just because. But shhh, it’s a surprise so don’t tell!

Overall it may seem like a lot of stuff has come into my home and I’m just perpetuating the cycle of collecting and perhaps that is partially true but for the most part I am only taking what I know will be created, gifted, read, worn or used as a functional item…

In fact I asked the Syco Slate if I should throw away the Stain Master 2000 after taking the picture for this post and it responded not surprisingly: