I have been selling Grandmother Dreams at the local Farm and Craft Market on Saturday mornings. By Saturday afternoon I am barely able to stand up, totally brain dead. I go home and fall into bed. It makes me realize how crazy it would be to try to go to a j-o-b and function five days in a row.
I am very excited to see my book moving—100 have gone out into the world this summer! Of course, this has not been a money-making venture. I make about $1 an hour sitting at the book booth. That does not even take into account the 7 years I spent writing or the thousands of dollars it cost to publish. I was sitting at my booth, thinking about that, and realized that I have been on a downward financial trend for a long time.
My highest income was right out of nursing school, 25 years ago. I took a pay cut when i moved here to become a Public Health Nurse. I took another pay cut to be a Licensed School Nurse. Then divorce erased any savings I had, and I started moonlighting as a waitress again to make ends meet. I took yet another pay cut to be a Maternal-Child Health (MCH) Nurse. Currently, my disability check is just 60% of my MCH pay. I am still more than a decade away from retirement age. This is not going in the right direction! Don’t get me wrong. I loved every one of those jobs, and I consciously made the choice to accept less pay in order to do work that I was passionate about.
Cancer has gifted me by removing a lot of unneeded debris from my life—emotional, psychological, spiritual. Maybe this is simplifying my material life as well. I was talking to an artist from the cities this weekend, and asked her if she had any tips for those of us just starting out. She thought for a minute and said, “get used to living on as little as possible, so you can spend your time and energy doing what feeds you”. All of my work so far has fed me, but in a way that also involves endless giving. Writing and connecting with others spiritually is feeding me in a more mutual way. I have less investment in maintaining a ‘professional presence’, and can more freely be myself. This is a healthy choice.