When Michael and I were younger we decided to go on the road.
By on the road, I mean we put our stuff in storage, bought a motor home, packed up a then two year old Katlyn and went on the road.
How did we make a living?
No, we were not in a rock band. We decided, before we bought the motor home, that we could make a living traveling around the country and participating in these huge craft show, market place things. Michael made jewelry from African trade beads and I fancied myself a photographer. I took black and white photographs and developed them…in the motor home. That’s nuts. I look back on this time in our life and I truly wonder what the hell we were thinking.
To make a very long and often side hurting funny story short, I was in charge of picking the first few shows. Michael handled budgeting our savings, driving the motorhome, etc. I was in charge of making sure Katlyn sat down while we were moving, that The Lion King was playing while I tried to develop my “masterpieces”, and that the first few shows were researched and booked.
As often happens with Michael and I, we planned and left in a flurry of activity. Off to our first show…in Beaumont, Texas. As if that wasn’t bad enough, it was called the Southern Ladies Show.
A note of caution to all young crazies out there thinking of taking off to sell their wares…Do not, and I mean don’t even think about selling African trade beads and black and white photographs in or around or anywhere near Beaumont, Texas. You will return home after less than six months, and your husband will forever say, “Why would we start in Texas?”
Needless to say, we were not successful. We weren’t even close to being successful. It was sort of an epic – savings gone, about ready to kill each other, the only person that had a blast was Katlyn – fail.
Why did I think about this tonight?
We were fearless. I mean, I was fearless while we were planning and putting together our booth. I was convinced my photographs were wonderful and it was artistic that they were overdeveloped. Michael was the greatest bead guy in the world. We were going to kick ass, people were going to eat this stuff up. I just knew it, until…we had our first show and I had to stand in the booth.
Holy Hell, I’m certain it was a panic attack.
Suddenly people were looking at me and my work and judging, I convinced myself they were judging. I made excuses, any excuse, to leave poor Michael alone in the booth. After that day, he never saw me unless I peaked around the corner to see if he’d sold anything.
In the privacy of our minds, our offices, our studios, wherever we create, we are free. It’s the whole going to market business that’s tough, but I suppose on some level it’s necessary. It makes us work for it, fight. We have to decide if what we play around with is really something we want to stand by and make a reality.
I figured out that, while I do take above average vacation photographs, I am not a photographer. Michael is wonderful, but there’s only so much a grown man can do with beads. We went out to market and we were humbled, we learned, so I guess that’s important.
Although Michael will still say we could have done it if we hadn’t started in Texas. The eternal optimist.
My thoughts from the laundry room. Bunk Beds.