Hi from the coffee shop!

I decided to take my writing adventures out of my attic and try my hand at working amidst the dark roasted aromas and white noise of the local café. Ideally this writing thing would one day be lucrative enough to afford me a spacious sun drenched studio equipped with a small colony of six toes cats.  But for the moment this  café is perfectly adequate.

Working at home can be awesome in terms of the intensive levels of pajama-wearing it permits.  But it can also be so endlessly distracting with the abyss of chores and frequent friendly visitors that pull me away from my work.  For a few months I have been toying with the idea of investing in some sort of off-premises work studio. I think it would be a great luxury to separate Home Me from Work Me.


Barn Sweet Barn

At first I thought about rebuilding our barn.  It is leaning over at a steep angle, awaiting the final puff of wind to put its out of its adorable, shabby chic misery. It is easy to look at the old barn and imagine a sturdy replacement.  And then I think about it a little more and say, why stop at sturdy?  We can bump out the walls a little bit and make the ceiling higher.

Then it starts: Hmm, maybe we should increase the footprint, and why not a second floor?  Oh, and obviously giant windows on all sides.  Maybe even some stained glass windows.  Oh, wouldn’t it be cool it we made it look like a church?  I have always wanted a church!  And it should have an orphanage upstairs where our friends can come stay. With a fireman pole.  And a slide. Would a hot tub be inappropriate? Maybe I should have the property rezoned to accommodate the towers… And so on and so forth.   Effectively I go from “Maybe we should try to keep it from tipping over” to building a half million dollar pleasure resort (with turrets! And a draw bridge!) in about 20 seconds. I think I better wait to rebuild the barn until after that elusive windfall of cash avalanches upon me.  I would not want to compromise after all.  Because if there is not a floor-to-ceiling saltwater aquarium, I can hardly even see the point. We need seahorses, dammit!

This leaves me to explore other options.  There is a lot of property for sale around where we live. I am thinking maybe I should take some of my sweater winnings and reinvest it into some real estate. Make my money work for me!   I have had my eye out. Me being me, I keep looking at wildly impractical Victorian houses (I loves me some gingerbread! Queen Ann Windows! Yes!).  As it turns out, all the potentially cute houses in my price range are currently inhabited by hoarders and ravaged by carpenter ants. I am still looking though.

Two days ago I came across an intriguing property. It is in a neighborhood of Kingston that I adore. Kingston is such a great city.  I pretty much think that everyone who is still paying a king’s ransom to live in the furthest reaches of Brooklyn ought to come up to Kingston for a reality check.  Shit is cheap here! I am not talking about renting, I mean to BUY.

Like this brick warehouse I found.  It is 3200 square feet!  Giant, light streaming windows on all 4 walls. A ceiling high enough to hang a trapeze from.  And from the outside it looks like the Alamo! Plus, it seems very affordable. pine

Online real estate shopping is fun because you don’t have to be the least bit realistic.  You are fully permitted to just have an imagination affair with a property – round it up to its platonic ideal and paint it with the best case scenarios. Thus, for the past few days me and this warehouse have been getting on like gangbusters. We are high fiving each other like mad.

This place is big enough to park both of my schoolbusses in! Can you imagine? I could cartwheel around it! I could get a trampoline!   I asked myself, Do I even NEED that much space? Facebook overheard me and replied “Of course you do!” Then, with precise comedic timing, my  Facebook feed coughed up this photograph:


I know, right??

  I was unaware that I needed a Cat Sofa, but suddenly it seems clearly to be my destiny. In fact, now that I think about it, how is it actually possible that I have come this far without a Cat Sofa?  And do I really want to be so reckless as to test the boundries of a Cat Sofa-less existence much longer?   I am glad you agree with me. I need that warehouse, right? To put the sofa in? Suddenly the idea of writing in a sun drenched studio surrounded by cats feels within my grasp!

Then I found out that the next door neighbors to the warehouse are famous musicians.  That would make me Cool By Proxy.  I know that I have practically maxed out my coolness-by-proxy points with the fact that David Bowie lives two streets away from me. Or so I am told and I don’t have the heart to verify, because I would be sad if it turned out not to be true. There are numerous confirmed reports of his wife Iman at our grocery store though.
By now you are wondering who the warehouse neighbors are…Medeski Martin and Wood. Do I know a single song by them?  Of course not (do you?). That has no bearing on coolness-by-proxy points though. And if you are like “Who is medeskimartin and who?” then I am laughing at your pathetic inablility to be impressed by my namedroppiness. I pity you. Ok fine, I admit, they could be sitting at the next table over from me playing soft jams and I wouldn’t know them either, but so what.  They are famous. I would still be cooler if they were my next door neighbors. I’m not the one who is making the rules up here, folks. That is just how coolness works. Duh.

    Today my realtor and I looked at the warehouse.
Ok, so it needs a new roof and it is freezing cold and impossible to heat.  I never said this was a practical dream. It would take a considerablerenovation to reach the appropriate levels of awesomeness I envisioned.
THEN I got the bad news that the warehouse went into contract this week. After being on the market for years, someone made an offer on Sunday. Ug!  If I want the warehouse now I would have to jump in right away and battle it out in a bidding war. Those of you who know me can vouch for the fact that I am the last stubborn bitch in the world you want to get in a bidding war against (that is whole other story that I still need to tell you guys about!! Gosh, so much going on!!)  But  in the case of the warehouse, my heart just heaved a sigh and accepted defeat. I am not feeling quite ready to pounce on it.  (Oh, my sweet sweet future Cat Sofa, fear not!  There is a place for us!)
After I said goodbye to my realtor I walked over to the bank to talk to the Money Lady.  I just want to have my financial ducks in order should the sun drenched Cat Sofa Palace of my dreams suddenly manifest.
There was a moment before I left the house this morning when I briefly entertained the idea of taking off my pajamas, but then regained my senses and just put a huge pair of overalls on top them.  The overalls still have floury handprints on them from Thanksgiving pie making.  I wrangled my dreadlocks into maniacal pigtails and slipped on my giant rainbow moonboots.  This is my version of business casual.  It is dressed like this that I go to meet with the business loan officer at the bank to convince her to give me a massive line of credit. mb-rainbow-002-1
I would like to take a moment here to thank ALL OF YOU for helping to give me the confidence to stroll into a bank dressed like a combination homeless person/Rainbow Brite and tell them I deserve a large sum of money. I think a few years ago I would have though it necessary to hide that part of me.  But thanks to all the momentum you guys have added to my business, I just feel so much more confident about the fact that my individuality is my greatest asset.  Now I can pretty much go anywhere now and be completely unapologetic about my quirks. It is really one of the best feelings ever. Instead of trying to airbrush over all the things about my life that are unconventional, I can just burst through the door and say “This is me! Come with me, or get out of the way!”  So, THANK YOU all for that gift! If I can give it back to you in any way, please take take take it!! Get yourself some rainbow moon boots!
I had a nice talk with the bank people. It looks like I have options.  I guess that the upshot of being a frugal, workaholic hermit all these years is that it ends up looking good on my tax returns.  Or at least it looked great on my 2012 tax returns.  2013 has been a different story.
This year I lost my focus a bit.  I went on a spontaneous Himalayan walkabout, and took weeks off work to build stone walls to nowhere in my garden.  Also, the prices of everything went up, so my business profit took quite a nosedive compared to last year.  I am not complaining – I still feel like just about the most blessed craftlady in the business, with more than my share of good fortune. (Thanks again to YOU GUYS!!!)  However, my 2013 earnings apparently leave me a few thousand dollars shy of qualifying for a certain kind of business loan. Ack. Why didn’t anyone tell me that BEFORE I decided to binge watch six seasons of Mad Men?  I should have been sewing more.  Gah.
Now I am looking at the calendar….I have 26 days left of this year.  That means twenty-six days to power down and make enough money to look good enough on paper to get the loan required for me and my beloved Cat Sofa to take the next leap forward. Wow, that is a complicated sentence. Let me rephrase: THE CAT SOFA NEEDS OUR HELP!
What should I do?
My plan WAS to spend December leisurely selling arm warmers and pecking at the keyboard until magical novels did or did not spring forth.  This is still an option. If I do this, I wont make enough money to qualify for a business loan next year.  I am just not sure that I have it in my soul to break the poor Cat Sofa’s heart like that.
OR….I could take a deep breath, say goodbye to my social life, and make a couple hundred extra armwarmers .  Then I could stagger over the finish line with just enough income to hold up my tax return to the bank lady and wheeze, “See?  I did it!” before collapsing.   I am precisely this sort of masochist.  I can do this. The upswing to this plan is that you guys would get more arm warmers. Hooray!

I am an arm warmer making force!!!

I am an arm warmer making force!!!

ORRRRRRRR I could opt for the harebrained option #3, which is to park myself at the computer with far too much coffee and say a Hail Mary that I can just bust out a book…..
Yeah.  A book….in….like, a week. It would be have to be done soon.  I need to give myself time to sell enough copies before the end of the year.  It would have to be an ebook, cuz there is no time to print it.  Is this a crazy idea?

I have about three books fighting to claw their way out of my brain right now.  They keep stepping on each other.  Maybe if I just grabbed one of these unborn books by the scruff of the neck and gave it a yank, I could come up with something magical. If I sold 500 copies for $10 each, that would be enough for me to put me over the line.   Or 1000 copies for $5 each. It feels crazy, but I think it makes the Cat Sofa purr.
Hold on a second.
Can I just acknowledge that it feels VERY OBNOXIOUS of me to talk about money like this? I know that not everyone is so lucky as to be able to manifest money so easily.  I know because for a long time I was another poor artist and I would have never been able to imagine such a reality. I ate nothing but Ramen noodles for years.   I hesitate to write about this money stuff because it sounds so out of touch with the way most artists live, especially in this economy.
But on the other hand, the only reason I have this ability to make money like this is because of YOU. Y’all are the ones who have lifted me up here. Wouldn’t it be sort of a waste of my incredible good luck to act like I am still poor?  Isn’t grabbing for the stars a better way to honor my good fortune? I am pretty sure that the best way to give thanks for this tremendous luck is to spin it into even better luck, and then share that in every way possible.
For example, I have a really elaborate book in my brain called “How to be Yourself for a Living”. That book is gonna be the jam when I finally write it.  It is an advice book for people who want to live off their art. Or something like that. I am so excited about it.  You guys are gonna LOVE that book!!!  I sort of spin around in circles when I think about it.  “How to Be Yourself for a Living” becomes not unlike my falling down barn – It goes from being a simple ebook, to a Choose Your Own Adventure, to a rainbowy pop-up book that shoots holographs and speaks with the voice of William Shatner and includes a collection of Scratch and Sniff stickers.  I need a little time to get it just right. Phew.magicbook
In the meantime, I am thinking that I might write a book about some of my travels.  The stories are mostly already written, and would just need some polishing to get the proper shine on them. I think I might be able to pull that all together in a week’s time if I act crazy.
Maybe this is the fire under my butt that I need.
Maybe I should just make arm warmers.
Maybe I should just forget it.
No, I should write a book, right?
Would five hundred of you buy it? Or, if I make it half the price, will 1000 of you buy it?
That would be amazing!!
Then you can come visit me in Kingston and we can roller skate around my sundrenched (still imaginary) warehouse until we can collapse into fits of laughter in the (not technically even for sale) Cat Sofa. I don’t know how to roller skate, but for you I will learn. I will even order pizza. Oh, and I will invite Medeski, Martin and Wood over! Wait, hold on. Why stop there?  Let’s invite frikkin DAVID BOWIE over! I will mention it to Iman next time I see her at the market. YES! We will ALL be Cool By Proxy!!!

Are you in?

I would love to hear your thoughts…but these blog comments are overrun with SPAM.  Kindly comment HERE on my Facebook page!

Wanna learn more about the cat sofa?  go HERE

High Six!

High Six!



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