Status Reports & Other Ramblings / tikkun olam

Status update

First of all: THANK YOU. I can't tell you how many times this week I had to fight back tears because of all the kind notes, orders, and overwhelming support coming at me from all directions. I asked, and the universe answered resoundingly loudly. Thank you. I will do absolutely everything I can to live up to your faith in me in the coming days and years.

Second: my lawyer was paid in full Thursday morning. He was worth every single penny, not just for helping me negotiate a settlement that was fair to everyone and kept Miles's best interests at heart, but for being a genuinely kind and compassionate human being who cares profoundly about the emotional wellbeing of his clients. Being able to promptly pay him for his work was at the very top of my priority list, because he was one of the people who made a horrible situation easier. 

Third: Depending on what I hear from my accountant on Monday regarding the money I owe the IRS, I will either be able to pay the back property taxes in full this week or pay off enough that I will easily be able to cover the rest before the May 15th deadline to avoid having a lien imposed. 

Fourth: Orders that didn't involve neckvines or mindfulness pendants have all shipped; orders that involved neckvines have been processed and will be dropped at the post office first thing Monday morning, and orders that involve mindfulness pendants will go out Tuesday or Wednesday.

Fifth: Thank you and welcome to all the new Earring Club subscribers! I'm in the process of making sure I have preference profiles for all of you and getting you set up in the database where I track your preferences and shipment history, and tomorrow I will be buying the beads for the special exclusive bonus earrings. Your first shipment should go out next week, hopefully no later than Friday. Subsequent months will usually ship more promptly.

Sixth: Website update of as-of-yet-undetermined size tomorrow night! Some of it will be the items that accompany the poem in Unwritten Stories #2; I also just got a bag of inventory back from a local store that went out of business last month and whatever is in there is going into the clearance section tomorrow. The 25% coupon code will still work.

Seventh: Instant Gratification on Tuesday! Did you miss out on something when the website sold out? I can probably make you something similar! Go sign up now! (The coupon code does not apply to these items, sorry -  but it is a "name your price" session which means you get to set a budget anywhere between $5 and $50 and I'll work with you to figure out a way to make what you want at a price you can afford.)

Eighth: I am so tired and you have no idea how much I want to be asleep right now, but I have shinies to make and two more episodes of Agents of S.H.E.I.D. to watch, so it's not bedtime yet.

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Writing news

I have a... word-thing forthcoming in Angels of The Meanwhilea benefit anthology to help offset the medical costs of a marvelous woman and writer who I met entirely by chance a few years ago. Other contributors include SJ Tucker, Catherynne Valente, Saira Ali, and Rose Lemberg, and really... you want a copy of this. (Especially since it's a pay-what-you-can sort of thing.)

My contribution is an odd little wisp of a prose poem/flash fiction piece called "this is the place where lost things go" and I think there may be a necklace in it. We'll have to see.

So! Go! Give a few dollars to someone who makes a difference in the world! Get an ebook full of gorgeous words! Make the magic happen, y'all.

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Opting Out of Black Friday

I have decided that Wyrding Studios will not actively be participating in Black Friday this year. Instead, for the rest of the year, I will be focusing on offering a wider range of affordable items in the store, with occasional flash sales, coupon codes, and special offers via social media.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about this over the past few weeks, and this is not a decision I’ve made lightly. The short explanation is that Black Friday has become something that conflicts strongly with my personal values, as well negatively affecting my creativity and putting undue stress on my physical and mental health.

The longer explanation is significantly more complex.

Like most retail business owners, I usually see a substantial increase in orders between October and December. (The origin of the phrase Black Friday is sometimes attributed to it being the time of year when retail businesses tip over from running in the red to making a profit.) However, over the past decade, I’ve watched Black Friday creep earlier and earlier every year, put more and more strain on retail workers and business owners, and become more and more violent and mindless.

As a one-woman business, I have a great deal of flexibility about when and how much I work; I have to maintain a consistent level of inventory and keep up with website orders, subscriptions, commissions, and wholesale orders… but when I do that work is mostly up to me. If I want to start working at 2am on a holiday I don’t celebrate, it’s my choice to do so and no one else is significantly impacted by my actions.

But if I continue to participate in Black Friday, I’m tacitly involving myself in something that I’m finding more and more at odds with my personal ethics every year. As many of you know, 2014 has been a very difficult year for me. It has also been profoundly transformative. Some of you have probably heard me talk about my belief that tikkun olam - literally, “heal the world” - is part of the responsibility of being an artist. Part of that work is making the conscious decision to live as mindfully and compassionately as I can.

As Black Friday loomed every closer on my calendar, I found myself more and more uncomfortable with both the prospect of trying to take on the additional workload and the implications of continuing to participate in something that becomes more materialistic, violent, and disruptive every year. When I decided yesterday that I needed to opt out of it, it felt like a giant weight had dropped off my shoulders. For the first time in entirely too long, I truly looked forward to going into the studio today.

That alone tells me I’m making the right choice for myself. Whether or not it will be the right choice as a business owner remains to be seen, but I think it’s the only choice I can make in good conscience.
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