Yikes, I forgot something when I put up the link to The Soul Drinker - what I actually forgot was to put a link to Raven Dance on the page with it! Arrgh!
But I have just been clever and sensible with it.
In the blog entry window, the codes for "insert a link" are included and visible. I just put them again - and copied the URLs with the insert codes around them again into the file I had the codes saved. That means I can add the Raven Dance link to my LiveJournal easily and I can add it to the bottom of the page the story's on.
This shows you where marketing is in my consciousness. I can do it, I do sort of understand it, but ultimately whether people like my writing is up to them and some of them will. The ones who like to read what I like to read will, pretty much.
On a personal front, I got an email with the news that the chap from the housing agency who was so shocked at how expensive and lousy my little apartment on the top of the unclimbable hill is, has found me another one that's a lot better for just about the same money. Technically this one costs $950 for a one room studio about the size of the interior of a bus. Maybe a bit wider than the bus and shorter but that's about the square footage. It has cheezy carpet, electric heat and stove that don't work very well, some plumbing problems and other serious problems including especially the hill itself. The hill is cumulatively destroying my back. Errands that I'd have been able to do without getting back trouble are made worse by the climb, to the point that a normal grocery trip was too much last time.
I haven't seen it and it's in a town I've never been.
I haven't seen it will change, since he's taking me out there to see it real soon.
It's in a town I've never been is in its own way a Big Plus, because, for all that I'm physically sessile I've got a raging wanderlust and I go nuts without the sight of places I've never been. The first time I read his email, I cringed. Keep in mind that I was semiparalyzed and ringing with pain to the point that if I had a headache I wouldn't have felt it and that was when the leg cramps were making it jump by itself and my right ankle was swollen to twice the size of the left.
The thought of going out, for anything, was ... ick, if the house was burning down I'd have trouble getting down that hill. Like, might not be able to move fast enough. Terrifying when the back problem gets that bad, but in a life emergency adrenalin would probably anesthetize me.
Then it started sinking in. They do allow cats - the biggest fear in a move wiped out. The agency will be doing the the security deposit - the thing that always limited me before. I'm afraid of the phone installation cost, because I got my phone cut off last Christmas over the past due charges from a month, one month, of using AOL constantly on a nonlocal number that had my area code and I thought it was local. Gee. This new place might be on the side of the line that has more access numbers for ISP's!! Yikes!
And that debt is chopped down to where all that's hanging over my head now are the two excessive installations - and if my case manager from the other program is on vacation, she did leave her supervisor's number for emergencies. I've got a plan, there is something I can do. I've pestered Verizon repeatedly to send me a Lifeline application - this is a program for indigent customers to provide basic service at a much reduced rate, $10 for installation and about a dollar a month for the basic bill. I need to be on Lifeline. I need to have a fire lit under them to get that going before the actual move and installation.
But a supervisor's going to have a little more weight and be a little more persuasive, so she might be able to take care of getting me on that, which would mean a net lowering of phone bill entirely. To something that's actually within my income, when it's that vital to my daily life. That would be a vast improvement.
So would having a bedroom that's not my office. The place might have gas stove and gas heat if I'm lucky, or oil heat, something cheaper than electric heat that doesn't work. And let's face it, anyone who's ever been poor does know you can use the oven to lower your heating costs. Gas stove would do it.
As for the logistics of packing and unpacking, which is what killed my back last time - I'm looking at what's packed and not packed now. I've got a couple of boxes I haven't unpacked from the last move. One of them is in the bathroom because the bathroom had insufficient cabinets for bathroom stuff and I just root through it when I need bathroom stuff.
I do not have the physical energy to get up and do any organizing. But I can plan. Most of the books and things are in milk crates, those can just be carried by those stronger than I am. I do need more storage tubs in general. I have a closet full of stuff most of it packaged in ways it can be moved, and some clothes in there. I've got one, just one box of unsorted general stuff that I won't bother unpacking now. I'll deal with that one when I get there.
I've got food. It's not packed, what will need a lot of packing is the kitchen. The last time they sent a helper with the housing agency lady (since quit and replaced by mr. energetic who can't viscerally grasp how weak I get in crisis) they paid a lot of attention to how food, dishes and glasses and that were packed and pretty much ignored how the books got packed and didn't think of those as important.
Strategy - tell the other agency that fills in little gaps that I really need more storage containers.
The plastic tubs are cheap, those were three for ten bucks at K Mart the last batch I got. That's on a par with the little outings to McDonald's or a pizza place that they pop for as a morale thing - so I could just tell my case manager's supervisor that I need another K Mart trip for storage supplies - and look for something, anything that would function as bookcases if the budget allows, because I desperately do need at least one other bookcase if I want to shelve all the books I own. The milk crates are triple stacked as if they were packed for moving, not for browsing. I'd rather do better than milk crates, but they sell those too and if I use them for packing containers they can upend and stack for additional shelving. There's also, cheaper than bookcases if budget doesn't allow those, just shelves and brackets. I bought the tools, I could put up shelves and brackets once in the new place.
If I do mention that to the supervisor - now - maybe I can get it organized in a way that the unpacking is minimal and consists of telling the movers where to put stuff. Permanent containers on things like crafts materials or clothing that's out of season or whatever means a lot of it won't need to be unpacked if the containers are stacked in the right order so that what I need immediately is on top. That I got some things into containers and homemade containment before helped a lot in the last move. I haven't unpacked any of the fabric because I haven't booted the sewing machine yet in this apartment. There wasn't a good place to put it. With a living room, there might be a place for a table to put the sewing machine on.
I dealt with fabric storage at the shelter, because what I had was a lot of trash bags and pillowcases I stuffed with it. I used to use the stuffed pillowcases for extra pillows. It dawned on me that a couple of days with the sewing machine and ripping the zippers out of some recycled clothing could turn some large chunks of upholstery weight fabric into giant zippered floor pillows. About a month after I got the idea, I had the time to execute it and did.
I haven't had fabric chunks clogging my life since I got that done, and that was even after the quilting workshop at the shelter where I wound up with a good chunk of the leftovers and some abandoned projects from some other residents. I've even got a drawstring giant sack to store the unused quilt batts.
I'm not anywhere near as good at quilting as Shiela Viehl - another, far greater writer who abuses fabric between writing large numbers of incredibly good novels. But I like the hobby and one of the things I really like about it is the way something very large in my home isn't something standard or manufactured. The bed covering will completely dominate a bedroom. If it's something handmade and artistically grabby, it will overcome anything and the bedroom won't be bland.
The two good quilts I've got done and currently own are the Homeless Quilt, a simple nine patch design executed with very big squares in recycled old blue jeans and recycled old plaid flannel shirts, then tufted with cheap bright colored embroidery floss with a batting of an old kid's blanket from a donation room that was stained, faded and full of cigarette burns plus four ragged old stained and ripped towels I was saving to use in some project or other. I'm proud of it because it's made entirely out of recycled trash except the backing, which was a length of plain black broadcloth I'd intended to make yet another hooded black robe costume with. I could have backed it with a used sheet. I had one, but I decided on a whim that the black backing was cooler. It looks as if Tim Taylor made it. The combination of plaid flannel and blue jeans makes it very traditionally masculine and the big blocks with a bright red flannel border are kinda neat.
The other one is my artistically (pronounce "Autistically") gothic 'goes with creepy medieval stuff by theme' Cathedral Window quilt. Cathedral Window is a weird quilt design, that takes no batting. You cut up large squares of the background material, in most Cathedral Window quilts this is old sheets and they come out with a white background, or unbleached muslin, because you need about 30 or 35 yards of background fabric. You fold that up like origami and stitch a couple of easy seams and put the points together, then fold back the edges on a curve to insert a colored pane that can be a tiny scrap of any fabric.
I did mine oversize with about thirty inch wide background squares that folded down to a bit under a quarter of that, with a bolt of black polyester that I got at an SCA event for a Dollar a Bolt loss leader at a fabric merchant's stall. Yep, the Dollar Bolts were going like hotcakes and that dealer sold a lot of other cool fabric, including three yards of cool silver upholstery satin that's going to become Court garb when I get a car and can go to Society for Creative Anachronism events again.
I hauled that around for a year or so and wound up in the shelter and a year later did the project - and used panes that were eight inch squares of royal blue brocade, turquoise damask, green satin, purple taffeta, any fancy fabrics I had chunks of in jewel tones except velvet. It came out incredibly cool. Spread on a bed, it's not authentic but it gives an impression of Renaissance luxury. Mostly because if they'd seen it in the Renaissance, someone would have adored it right next to the Bargello upholstered carved wooden chairs, old oil paintings and so on. Not authentic but atmospheric as it gets.
My dad's mother, that grandmother was a serious quilter and showed me a Cathedral Window quilt of hers done with unbleached muslin. "See, it's like a stained glass window!"
I looked at it and asked "How come you didn't do the background in black like a real stained glass window?"
"It takes so much fabric you have to use something inexpensive like muslin or old sheets."
No. You don't have to. You can wait and look for a bargain on an entire bolt of black fabric knowing that you want one that will satisfy that little kid it DOES look like a stained glass window. I really wanted to do one with fancier fabrics, and someday when I'm rich enough to sink about $300 into fabric for a quilt, I will do another black background Cathedral Window - this time doing black velveteen bought on sale at approx. $10 a yard (very nice wide fabric usually, 60") and possibly much smaller squares with of course, jewel toned really fancy fabrics as the panes.
The one with the really big pieces took me one month of sustained effort to finish, a lot more than the week's work that went into the Homeless Quilt. That was pretty much full time and a hiatus from writing. A novel's worth of work in that. I suspect doing it with little tiny pieces would stretch that to a lot closer to a year, so, if I do little pieces on the fancier one I'll buy all the fabric for it (the bolt of background fabric on sale as cheap as I can get it - and I would go for upholstery satin if I get a shot at a bolt of black and drop budget precipitously since that would probably run lots cheaper - just want it to be a luxurious texture fabric) - and then work on it in little bits and let it grow as it does and get it done when it's done.
I like having one or two really difficult, masterful crafts projects that are Supreme Expert for difficulty, complete stunners if done and get goshwows from Laurels at SCA events. Currently in progress, I've got a second Elizabethan crewel interpreted in floss design marked up on a chunk of forest green velvet for another Elizabethan pillow. This time there's a deer and a wolf at the bottom under the big tree beside a stylized little creek. The stag's antlers are already satin stitched in gold thread and very striking. I might pull out his body since I was blending shades of brown and gray in teeny tiny long and short stitches that are taking too long, and he might be bolder if I just shaded him in brown dark to light at the belly and did him in split stitch with all six strands for a very solid look instead of trying naturalistically for an agouti deerhide pelt - he'd be more authentically medieval in that treatment too.
I'd get back to that if I got past the deer and went back to doing impossible leaves, flowers and fruit in fun bright colors. I should do up all the brown stuff on it so that all I have left is the fun stuff.
Hmm. I think I'm thinking about working on crafts because when my back is this bad, the comfy chair, television and crafts projects beckon. That stuff is all organized. Over the years my fascination with tackle boxes, containers and organization has paid off - that stuff is all very transportable and always packed in a way that I can get to it easily just by plopping in the comfy chair.
It's the thought of a new place that's making me think about it too - and that the hospital program director was shocked I didn't even have Basic Cable.
I have certain habits. If I am listening to music at all - whether it's this afternoon's Tannheuser broadcast or rock, then I'm writing. If I'm watching TV and someone else's plot is getting piped in, then I can work on completely nonverbal things like painting, drawing, mapping some of these worlds and of course, the crafts. I think if they put cable in at the new place, my off time will be vastly improved and I might actually have omething like Sheila's schedule - where I give myself a couple of hours a day to relax doing Something Else that's not in front of the computer.
That would be an incredible improvement, a serious move up in lifestyle even before I have a lot of spending money for more books. So would shelving of any kind, so that my books aren't in miserable "student is getting ready to move again" stacks.
I've been doing without, getting by and doing what I could with what I had all my life. I got up here and I'm beginning to realize that I've made some tangible cumulative improvements to my personal lifestyle - and yes, it does matter to me to make the place I live, whatever its substrate, that livable and that visually lush. I can understand now why I care so much about what my residence looks like. Even back when I did have a car, I didn't go out much. I stayed home a lot. The things I enjoy are all things that I can do either on good back days - the events themselves, with serious resting-up doing up all the new costumes, new crafts and camp gear before going - or things that literally give me a tangible reward for sitting still resting up and restoring my stamina.
They're just very boring to do without a) other people around or b) a television going.
A laptop would let me lurk in the chat room while crafting too, and the chat room severely competes with television even when I'm just slobbing off and relaxing.
I thought about my priorities and why I really want the laptop so badly, even if my desktop array is approaching 'have everything I need for the basics' - it's that 'prepare for the worst' mentality that would give me a real sense of security. If the worst happened and I wound up homeless in the worst kind of shelter, a laptop means flipping the bird to being put on hold for months without even being able to work. It would back up everything I've ever done, not just the immediate working volumes for rewrites. It's not that much more than the Visor - but the Visor is more portable for short outings and for camping trips. I actually do need both - even if it's sometimes a little hard to justify both.
The crafts stuff and art materials always paid for themselves. Writing hasn't done that yet. I have got to believe in it and recognize that I've got the basic skills to make a go of this. But despite all its difficulties, moving to New York did pull me out of the dead end that New Orleans and all the other colorful places I've lived had me in - where I was trying to make one marginal artistic career the day job for another that hadn't paid yet and could not give the dayjob one (whatever it was) the energy and passion to make a go of it - because I really wanted to be writing.
Up here in New York, there actually are social services even if they sometimes get rough and screw up on things and worst of all, sometimes wind up with my paying for other people's mistakes.
Up here, I am not fighting constantly with dysfunctional roommates driven round the bend by their love lives and their economic problems. Up here, while I'm moving again now, I don't have the four or five times a year going round the bend to get an apartment or roommate situation, get into it, try to keep it stable while trying to make something marginal pay. I am slowly, steadily crawling toward a situation that will actually be stable in the troughs between the peaks, even if I haven't actually had financial peaks yet.
There are times when progress is hard to measure and hard to see.
The all time high of 14 story submissions and a novel still out on submission is real progress toward actually making a living on this full time workaholic writing schedule.
Dealing used books dovetails nicely since I do know the convention stuff and now know what I'd need to do to set up my dealer's table in a way it doesn't either kill all my time or kill all my time after the con in convalescence from back trouble. It's actually in one sense a lot steadier than selling any handmade items at cons, though I can support other artisans by taking their stuff on consignment and devoting a little time to keeping their profit envelopes separate. I always did that anyway no matter what I was selling.
That takes a car, I'm not ready for it financially. Without a major windfall, since I not only have to get the Beetle but have to get insurance for it for a significant period of time - six months to a year in a lump before that becomes a bill - and pay for a driver's license and the required driver's education course. When a good new laptop is running $1000 for current name brand current model low end but new, and the cheapest new on Pricewatch is under $400 - the laptop is actually cheaper than the car and that's a matter of "if there's a worst case that sucker and its back pack do NOT leave my hands."
That would leave me the option of returning to my old life in worst case. The "crash on someone's couch in a different state" if DSS cut me off and I didn't have SSI yet and I got cut off from all these places.
That is why it's that high a priority. So I'll accept that and put it higher than the car on the 'needed infrastructure' list - but only just ahead of the car, the car is just a big ticket item that would take a novel sale to pull off and a novel sale that I could get help from my good lawyer, my Goddess blessed wonderful gift to the poor glorious lawyer, to protect.
The car is "kick DSS in the teeth permanently" though - because if I had about a year to get it going, the used book thing *could* become a day-job with a workable schedule. The car was the difference in overhead between plane fares to conventions and essentially, pay for the cost of travel by taking passengers who pitch in. I've got a car, you've got gas money, we both want to make it to the con, welcome to my Bug. Hope you're short.
And it dovetails because any "good con" windfall can go to publishers to order copies of my book wholesale for resale, signed by author at table, and yep, I expect to make some peripheral income on my high selling superpro friends too by stocking copies of their books wholesale, since I know they'll sell. Any self published friends, at least haul copies of theirs around on consignment, which means they can sign them when they buy them. And just budget enough cash that if the immediate young strong-backed volunteers who don't have enough spending money for the convention want cash instead of trade, I can give them a $20 for the haul or pop for their dinner. There's always someone strong and broke at a con.
It's a plan. I have plans to deal with the move itself, the contingencies and opportunities the move brings and the long term plans for how to manage to stay online and keep pounding keys and keep my career moving forward. And having plans, I don't feel as if I'm being swept away by the decisions of other people who are, after all, just at work and dealing with my needs as an hour or two out of a hectic stressful job where someone else's emergency could interrupt at any time. I'm the one who has to be aware of what those needs are, what those goals are and what I can do to move forward.
Robert and Ari >^..^< (Our needs. Don't forget the fuzzy cat. Budget Science Diet!)