So yesterday I felt like shit. I was in bed before 10:30, only got up to pee just once, and slept through until about 5:15 or so. That’s pretty good, considering my recent weeks of hyphenated sleeps with long wakings in the middle of the night.
I do feel better than I did yesterday, so I suspect I simply did too much in the day or two before, and needed a time-out.
I’ve been reading the posts of others, many of whom are both scared of the virus and fearful for the future and what our fiber arts industry will look like when so many people are being laid off. Much of what we do is targeted to those with discretionary income. I know that the yarns I sell are more expensive than even the nicer commercial wools and fancy fibers, and much more more expensive than the acrylic hobbyist yarns. Many people will not be able to afford what I can produce. And, at some point, there’s a possibility that my supply chain will break so I can’t even get yarns for dyeing.
It’s perhaps even worse for those who derive an income from teaching in the fiber arts, or writing patterns and books. Currently, all the fiber festivals have shut down for the virus, but will they be able to start back up if people don’t have money to attend? Will people be buying books or patterns when they can barely afford to eat, much less cover their other expenses? Who knows?
In my years, I have done things to earn money — in Seattle I spray-painted house-numbers on curbs. I’d drive through posting offers on people’s doors and go back the next day to see who wanted a number painted. When I first landed in New Orleans I had no clue and even less money, so I managed to earn rent money (barely) by reading Tarot on Jackson Square. It wasn’t much, but it lasted until I could get a temporary job through one of the temp services, and that led to someone liking my work and getting me hired in a Louisiana civil service position.
Most of the time I just sort of lucked out by doing what was in front of me to do at the time. I’ve known lean times and good times, and what I know is that it never lasts, nothing is permanent, everything changes.
What bothers me most, I think, is that I hear rumblings of sadness to the point of giving up. I won’t name names, of course, but there are some brilliant fiber artists who see their current income as their identity, and when the money stops they will see no way forward. That’s a shame. Certainly everyone needs an income, but not everyone needs a salary or hourly wage. And what you do for money is not the sum total of who you are. If the darkest forecasts are true, there will be loads of people who have lost their incomes and don’t know how to recalibrate their path to find a new income. It might even get as bad as the Great Depression.
But during the Great Depression there were still people working and finding an income. There will always be people needing essentials for survival, and there will be opportunities for finding or even creating new income streams. The Great Depression eventually gave way for the growth of the middle class. So, perhaps I am being naive, but whatever dark days may lie ahead, I do believe that what comes after will be better. I’m not smart or clever with economic forecasts, and I can’t put my finger on why or how I think most of us will survive, except to look at the past and realize we have always survived before. Individually that might not be so, but as a society we have.
So, my task, is not necessarily about figuring out how to make people buy my yarns at a time when they really cannot afford it. My task is to identify what I am good (all my years of experience, talents, and skills) to see whatever else I might be able to offer to those who want or need it.
And, I need to remember that a fast nickel is better than a slow dime.