Hurray for blogging! I’ve been on my feet all day, and if it weren’t for my wanting to continue the discipline of daily blogging, I’d be on my feet still.
I’ve been sorting and packing, which I’m sure seems as ludicrously long a task to you as it does to me since I’ve been working at getting packed for more than four months now. I don’t even have much personal stuff, maybe two dozen boxes of household goods, office supplies, and personal items, and that’s it. Well, three dozen if I include Jeff’s video collection and his VCRs, which I’m keeping for now. I have no furniture, no massive shoe collection, no clothes dating back to my youth, no vast number of books (no shelves to put them on, you see).
But when you’ve done a little of lot things for decades, you end up with a little of a lot of things. And that’s what I am having to deal with — a little of a lot of things and a lot of little things.
Today I sorted through a few boxes of flowers and flower-making supplies and condensed it all down to two boxes. Took me all day. I can see the frown on your face. Why would that take so long, you’re wondering. Well, the flowers are very, very small. To show you how small, I took a photo of this pot of roses sitting on a quarter. Each petal of each rose was individually made, and if you look closely, you can probably see my fingerprints.
I don’t know if I will ever make any more flowers or flower arrangements, but I’m not about to toss out or give away the thousands of hours of work I have stored in those two boxes. And that’s just one of the many things I have had to sort through during these past months.
For most of my life, I made crafty things for a living (a sparse living, but what the heck. I never starved), and I got good at creating unique items. Because of this, I can do anything within a very narrow range. (Successful marketing, unfortunately, is outside that range.) My two or three remaining wholesale customers for miniature cloth dolls (1-1/2” tall, fully clothed) want me to keep making the dolls. My few fans and my publisher want me to go back to writing. The people who have seen my jewelry, think I should go back to plying my pliers. Those who have seen my various scale miniatures think I should go back to trying to make a living at it. (Strangely, though thousands have seen the only piece of art I ever did — a one-inch-tall oil painting — no one has ever suggested I go back to painting. Do you recognize the painting? I tweaked it and used it for the cover of More Deaths Than One, which some people have called the ugliest cover of all time.)
The problem is I don’t want to go back to anything. I want to go forward to . . . I don’t know what. I keep hoping that someday my fingers will fill in the “I want” so I can look at it in amazement and say, “Aha! Why didn’t I think of that?” (My dance teacher wants me to keep dancing, as do I, but we both know there is no career in dancing in my future. Dancing is one of those things that if you start in your teens, you’re already too old.)
Meantime, I am sorting, clearing out what I know I will never use (and of course, those discards could be the very things I will need, but I’m okay with that), and packing the rest until I can figure out what to do with the stuff — or even better, until I can figure out what to do with me.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.