Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Today we sign the papers to sell our home in the woods and to buy our home in the small town suburbs. Granted, small town suburbs are way different from big, bigger, and biggest city suburbs. But I still feel obligated to consider what I am wearing in case someone comes to the door. Where I live now, no one comes to the door unless they were invited three weeks ago or they have perhaps been wandering lost in the woods for several days and are desperate for a hot shower, a real meal, and a telephone. (Before they learned to drive, my teenaged children used to say they would need an emergency survival kit to sneak out at night.) The upshot of my forest location is that I wear whatever strikes my mood in which to sit at home and write (what I do for a living). I can wear my really comfy sweaters with all the holes in them, my house socks (my son Akili asked me if I killed Grover-the-muppet for his pelt), my pink Hawaiian flower mini-dress that looked terrific on me when I was 20 lbs. thinner, my black flannel vest that pilled up with white puffballs years ago, or I can even walk around in my yard in my nightie. My new house is far too elegant for me to wear these clothes. I will have to wear my grandmother’s pearls to work at my desk. In fact, I think I will have to buy an entirely new wardrobe to match my new home, including sweaters without holes. I might have to start wearing heels, even to vacuum the carpets. And nylons. I need a frilly 1950s apron to cook in my stylish new kitchen. I better straighten my hair and have it turned in a pageboy. When will I find time to write between cleaning my oven and washing my ceilings? Oh Betty Friedan, Oh Gloria Steinem, help me; what have I gotten myself into?
Monday, May 12, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
When our house was inspected for the buyers, the inspector discovered that our hot water heater had a dangerous gas leak that could not be repaired. Rather than blow ourselves up, we had the hot water heater replaced. The same week, the inspector at the house we’re buying informed us that the hot water heater is shot and needs to be replaced. So we are going to buy another hot water heater (we should have bought stock in Roto-Rooter). Ron is overjoyed about this development because he wants an excuse to buy an on-demand tankless hot water heater. I know nothing about these beasts. I asked Ron how many gallons the tank can hold and he peered at me over his glasses and said, “Amy, it’s a tankless hot water heater.”
The stove in the new house is a built-in electric located below windows. I can’t cook on an electric. I have to cook over fire. Turns out that there is no way to vent a gas stove in that spot because of the windows. So we have to buy a special stove with a downdraft vent. This type of stove costs twice what I had budgeted for a new stove. Oh well, I thought, we’ll be OK since the sellers of our new house offered to leave their refrigerator for us. Not. We did not specify in the contract that we wanted it because I had planned to buy a new fridge. At the last minute their son decided he wants it. But wait, my refrigerator money is going into the downdraft stove.
Our buyer wants our dryer. So we also have to buy a new dryer.
Looks like all new appliances. But my washer goes with me. You don’t separate a woman from her Fisher Paykel washer.At this point, I’m considering giving up home-ownership altogether and simply renting a cottage on Maui. Aloha. Have a great Mother’s Day.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
This month I am working with several extremely talented and dedicated artists to produce the audio book of The Call to Shakabaz. They keep telling me I can do this or that using the profits from the book sales. I finally found myself sending them an email about the realities of independent publishing. And I decided to put the gist of the email into a blog entry. Here it is.
I love to dream big, I believe that I must vision success to manifest success. But the reality of indie publishing is that one does it for love, not money. I have spent at least $40,000 to date producing, publishing, and marketing my book. Marketing has been the greatest expense. That figure does not include my time. I have sold about 1,200 books (gave away a lot). Only 7% of books printed in the U.S. sell more than 1,000 copies in their lifetime, so I’m very proud of that figure. To date I have received about $7,000 in income from books sold and If I were to sell all the books I have left from the first printing (as opposed to giving any of them away) I would make about $5,000 (once I subtract the cost of printing the books). And I would have to pay to ship most of them because Baker & Taylor (primary distributor) does not pay for shipping. Profit? There is none.
I have learned so much in my first effort at publication that next time around (and there will be a next time in 2009, I promise you), I will be able to produce and market a book at a much lower cost. I started Woza and published The Call to Shakabaz with insurance money left to me when Mom passed. My efforts are a tribute to her and the faith she always had in my talent. But every penny I spend on Woza now is hard-earned. The truth is that it is all a labor of love. I doubt I will ever make money as a publisher or author. The question will probably always be “how much can I afford to sink into this project?” The answer will always be “my heart and soul.”
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Ron’s Dream: We are living in a new house. He is walking through the house. It’s looking good. It’s night. He opens the back door and discovers that the entire back yard is a swamp of nothing but mud and shit. For some reason he must cross the yard to get something or somewhere. He is wading up to his knees in swamp shit. That’s our yard. He wonders if he will get a foot infection from walking through the swamp.
Transparent dream for someone buying a new house. When Ron told me this dream, it put me over the edge. I could not breathe for laughing. I could see it as a metaphor for the past five months, looking at houses too small, too dark, no yard whatsoever, big yard full of poison oak, no bathtub, bathtub in the garage, toilet on the roof, refrigerator in the tool shed, fence in the living room, chickens in the fireplace, geese in the washer. Oh yes, we can make this work, we can make do with this. We’ll just scrape the cottage cheese texturing off the ceiling. This pantry would be perfect as a library. We’ll steam the wallpaper off the toilet. We’ll remodel, knock out a wall or two, build an upstairs. They ripped out all the trees to improve the view? No problem. We’ll replant trees. This was once a methamphetamine lab? No big deal, we’ll repaint. The swimming pool is shot? Okey-dokey, we’ll make it into a skate park. Two acres of dead grape vines? Fine, we’ll start a vine cemetery. We’re imaginative, we’re flexible. Swamp full of shit in the back yard? We’ll start a salamander farm, put in a hot tub, plant bamboo, hang up a wind chime. Have a margarita, grab a floatie, and have a soak in our new mud bath. Will I ever go home again? Yes. Home is where the heart is and even though I say my heart is at the Ranch, I know that my heart is with Ron. Wherever he lives is home for me.