Yesterday, I went to Union Square, set up a small area on a spot in the sun and made streamers to sell – which didn’t sell. To be honest, I did have two sales – one for $3 and one for $2. There were lots of children who wanted them and it was really hard not to just give them one when their parents didn’t want to buy them. It is something about creating that I want it to be used and enjoyed. It was one of the hardest things that I’ve ever done to not give those children one of the streamers that I was making and let them go dance around and play with it. I’m not going to do that one again.
It is impossible for me to understand whether it was the price or the product, but despite the wonderful interest in the streamers and people wanting them – it seems strange that neither $3 each, nor $2 each would be right for them. I was sitting there making them and at least people did talk with me this time. On some of my trips into town lately, despite creating, painting, sculpting or making my wire atomics sculptures in person – people didn’t speak to me and neither did they ask about them nor have any interest in buying any of it.
The book on my experience with head injury has been finished for awhile – it is about 130 pages for a small paperback book – but daughter hasn’t edited it as she said she would. It will probably also be my job to do the editing. I’ve written a book some years ago called the “Field Guide to Independent Living” which was a little over 100 pages, but it was set up with larger pages and had a workbook of about that to go with it. That is sitting in storage somewhere too, although at least it was edited by a friend of mine just after the writing was finished. This book may not ever get online at this rate and it was much harder to write because of the level of honesty about my own experiences in it. That was much harder than simply writing something to outline those elements that must be done for successfully living independently in the community whatever the disability as in the other book.
It has taken a number of efforts running into the city to learn how to do it and to use the spaces available so I can keep my focus from being completely distorted by all the lights and sounds found there. I would guess I’ve made trips with my daughter’s help over the past few months of twenty or more times and then over the last couple weeks, I’ve made about eight trips more or less – but on my own. In these trips, my goals were to successfully get to the spaces taking my art materials along that I would need and then to paint, sculpt, craft or create in the environment where there are lots of people moving, lights, sounds, crowds, and two hours of travel each way. That isn’t as easy as it sounds, since I’ve spent years and years away from anything where crowds would gather including malls, ballgames, events, conferences and conventions, city spaces – whatever. At one point I had even gotten a dog to be trained as a helping animal so I could go into those very busy places but when it was discovered that he had hip dysplasia, he couldn’t be trained for that – so I just didn’t go those places.
Anyway, our bills are way in the hole and to keep doing any of my things to create and sustain my business efforts cost money – from internet service to internet hosting fees – among other things and I would like to eat occasionally – so I thought that taking my art efforts out into areas where there are many people to see it and maybe buy it – would be a good idea. But, no – not one effort has done anything except cost more money to do it – from train fare on the subway and buses to having to buy some materials to use for it – wire and streamer materials. And, all for nothing. On location, I can’t even remember to give somebody a business card most of the time and nearly can’t process the things being said to me until minutes after they have been said (but at least it is not two days later like it used to be.)
A few days ago, I sat in the Hudson River Park working on watercolors at one of the benches near the NYMEX entrance where I could see the river – but few people walked by there. It worked just about the best – but then, it defeats the purpose if there are no people nearby or walking by or that would ever see it as it is being done. Oh well. It hasn’t been all that successful for people to see any of it anyway – but I did need to try. And, to be honest – I did go to these places alone with my supplies and sit down and do something despite the lights and noise and crowds and motion – AND managed to return home without getting lost or mentally lost forgetting even my own name and what the hell I was doing there. Not to say that couldn’t still happen at some point trying this – yet, I did make these trips into a very, very busy city spaces including Times’ Square without my brain ending up like a computer with a very bad trojan horse or software bug spewing out garbled junk. That is amazing.
The skateboard companies I contacted online through email weren’t interested in even considering my designs for licensing either.That has happened in the last couple weeks in my efforts to round up some much needed money before the internet service is gone – and before the bank account was hit by my internet service fees for my website – which is too late now because it did and will now cost me an extra $70 or more since there was no money there. I think failure is probably the word for that.
Occasionally, I get one of these great ideas around Earth Day – like last year, I designed a bunch of tshirts on Zazzle that had the theme of Going Green and one year, I made a number of designs about Save the Seas – Plant a Green Thing which were nifty. This year, I had intended a couple days ago to make a visual timeline of what is happening to our animals – mass casualty events and whale / dolphin strandings and stuff like that. In gathering the information, I posted some of it on my blog and then made a document using it along with more that I found on the internet, sorted it into years and dates – then realized the information was92 pages on the document. And, it wasn’t even all of it. The events are so scattered around the globe and covers so many different animals, birds, marine life, reptiles, insects and regions – that I can’t even imagine a visual way to convey the information effectively. So, instead of having a one page timeline to visually convey the strange deaths of all these animals around the world – which I could have taken to Union Square with me and given out – I have a 92 page document and no visual timeline of it, nor map, nor anything besides the one post standing without context a couple days ago.
That may not have been an effective way to raise money either, but it would’ve been nice to add it to people’s information about what is going on that supports our need for earth day events and efforts to continue overcoming the devastating affects of many modern activities. And, then in the middle of these things I have been doing, the Boston Marathon bombing happened, the West Texas fertilizer plant explosion happened and the large devastation from earthquakes in Iran/Pakistan and especially, in China happened. In a way, each of those things offer small glimpses into massive problems which have not been solved – from building methods that aren’t made for these events – to safety of people not being taken into consideration in the placement of fertilizer plants and other chemical plants which sit too near residential areas – to keeping people safe when they are in large numbers attending public events. All of these indicate small parts of much bigger problems yet to be solved. And, at one time I was working on them for lack of anything better to do – with a number of solutions which never got to the places where they may have been of some help to others also trying to solve them.
And, here in New York – in Staten Island – it seems obvious that the worth of a poor person like me is not considered to be of any real substance – whether it is me or anybody. Maybe the whole world feels that way – maybe they are right from the standpoint of what they have been taught – and I can’t speak for all people who are poor, nor all people who have brain injury, nor for all those like me who are creatives, either for that matter. I’ve listened and read to discussions about amateurs versus professionals from the Harvard bunch lately – especially after the Boston Marathon suspects chase had so many people that were non-journalists, non-police, non-doctors, and non-professionals involved in many aspects of helping throughout the event and then relaying information during the police efforts to catch the suspects. I’ve read and heard the disdain for those who have not worked in something as professionals being involved in any event – and – I’ve thought a lot about it as well, especially as I’ve been making efforts to go into public spaces and actually do my art there rather than alone in my studio (which I don’t have anymore) or at home or on my computer standing by myself.
In some respects, I can understand why these young men and others – from the Aurora and Newtown horrors to the Boston Marathon bombing among many other isolated horrific murders and stupid crap – are being done by people. They are facing the same kinds of things that I’ve been dealing with for years as an outsider in society, met with disdain and derision – cast aside, kept out, excluded with brusqueness and contempt, starved, impoverished, treated like an enemy without cause – and they lost their minds over it. And, who wouldn’t – it has to be important what is done with that information and those experiences. They will drive anyone over the edge of reason – because it is so unreasonable to live with that constant input despite whatever good efforts and decency may be demonstrated by the person. I’ve had it happen to me for so long that I don’t even know what to do when anything else is the response people around me offer – but I am working on it. And, I know that many, many people like me who can be substantial resources of great good in the community are treated as if they are the worst thing to have ever showed up in those communities where they find themselves. That is the way it is for many years now – but what I or anyone else does with that is up to each of us to decide. If my life experiences day in and day out say that I am worthless to the community – it is up to me whether I forgive that community, excuse its behavior and choices, try to understand it better or decide that we are enemies rather than friends. And, then what I do with that choice is also up to me and how I choose to act or not act upon that information. But not everybody is that patient – nor willing to go that far for communities who continue to heap disdain on them and to exclude them from participating in economic and social opportunities.
To anyone reading this – sorry about that – I just had to say it. There are moments when I can’t think of one good reason to do even one good thing for any place or anyone who has treated me that way. Today, I can’t think of one reason to create anything for them to even try to sell here – or to try to find ways after thirty years of this – to continue trying to help myself do better – because it seems like I will always be considered their enemy and the one worthless apple in the lot by those around me. It doesn’t matter what I can do or what I’ve offered to a greater world – it is only whether I have money or not in the estimation of most people I meet or, like the Borough President – will never get to meet. It doesn’t matter what good I can bring to the community, what I know or what I can offer in resources or efforts or innovation or invention or creative problem solving or knowledge or a damn thing, in fact. While I was being treated miserably though bringing wondrous things to the communities where I’ve lived – people in my country were courting, feigning over and even giving hundreds of millions of dollars to Mubarak and Hussein and Ben Ali and others just like them that were horrible, horrible evil individuals. That is who gets their attention and love and resources and admiration and respect – Gaddafi and those like him – for years and years and years. And, in every community – Madoff and those like him were feted and loved and fawned over and given respect and admiration – not me. Why shouldn’t I say – “go get solutions from them, you gave all the money and resources to them – you respected them – go get them to help innovate and create and invent and make things better in the world – you don’t want me to do it because I don’t have money and power and prestige, but you gave all the money to these monsters – let them fix your stupid problems that are impossible – why should I have a hand in any of it. In your estimation I’m not worth anything and nothing I create is of any value to you obviously, go get Snooki to fix it or Kim Kardashian or the Real Housewives of wherever or any of those world leaders and bankers that you’ve already given all our nation’s money. Let them fix it.”
I can honestly say however – there is not one of those people that I would trust to get me safely from one side of the street to the other without getting both of us maimed, killed or hurt, though. And, most people know that about them too. What a shame. But they are “professionals” of something.