On Prices

So, at the Writers' Retreat, where I tried to convert the angry-old-lady energy into something creative, I started writing very short memoir/essay-ish bits. I thought I might as well turn the anger into therapy; Julia Cameron says I can, so it must be true. And to some extent, it worked; once I started to write, I was trying to remember specific incidents, places and people that I became absorbed in the act of writing, though the writing itself was crap because I was there were a lot of years and ages and otherwise important-only-to-me numbers. Of course better writers picked up on that during the critique; I delete cumbersome bits like in my fiction writing, and the numbers felt like stones in my shoe, too.

Another thing I discovered on the weekend had to do with Julia Cameron, too. In one of the weekly tasks, she had me write down 50 things I'm angry about. I hesitated, because I thought I'd remember a whole lot of things and get madder and madder, but anything The Artist's Way has made me do, at worst they weren't effective, but many were fun and sometimes even therapeutic, so I did. Woudlnt' you know, even the shortest-tempered-oft-hopping-mad person like I cannot easily come up with 50 things to be angry about. At around 29 I started to giggle, and about 37 onwards, it was a struggle to finish. The last two or three were very lame, or thing I've long gotten over, but I had to come up with 50, so I did.

The next morning, while I was trying to write my Morning Pages, (more on Julia Cameron/The Artist's Way vocab in another post soon-ish, I promise,) Ben turned the TV on and settled on the TV One news. We don't have a TV in our bedroom at home, and we don't watch the news in the morning, we listen to National Radio, and if that's not enough, the host of the morning news show on TV One is a most irritating man. So I waited for Ben to flip the channel, and he didn't, and it was loud, and I was getting more and more irritated, so I stop the stream-of-consciousness writing and started a list of 50 things I hate about Ben, and you know what, it worked! By Item 17 I was making excuses for him, and by Item 33, I was saying out loud, "Yeah, but it was a that one time," or "But he hasn't done this in a while," or "OK, this is the same as Item 7". I was laughing so hard and had to repeat a few things to finish all 50.

If you have a temper half as hot as mine, I do recommend this.

Oh, the prices. Well, I had four inquiries for scarves from fellow writers. They wanted a price list or a catalogue, which I don't have, so I promised everybody I'd email. To be honest, I feet embarrassed about discussing prices in person, (except my one-off big shawls; I got used to that.) And I can put in more details and possible alternatives in an email.

I've come to terms with not undercutting gallery prices, and I don't feel apologetic about the prices she put on my work. Jay Farnsworth is a gallery-owner in an old-fashioned way; she is a mentor to her artists and will give advice even with work not intended for the Red. I feel loyal to her and to our relationship. But I still have a hard time, sometimes, talking about them, face to face.

Some of what the writers wanted, however, were relatively simple and I panicked a little because ethically, as a person and as an ex-Catholic school girl, I should tell them, "That's really not my kind of weaving, and you should go to so-and-so who can probably do it for less." On the left shoulder, however, is Evil Meg giggling, "Oh, goodie, a 4-shaft twill; easy money."

I emailed each writer yesterday, describing my plans for each piece, stating two options (fiber contents) and prices, and asked to reply to me if they were happy with the prices. And so far I heard back from one, to go ahead.

It's not attractive talking about money, I know, but I don't know if this is something I'll ever come to terms with. How do you put a price on my handwoven scarf? I think I need an agent.


Dr. Crystal Grimes said...

Yes, Meg! I know what you mean... Prices are a necessary evil if there ever was one. Good luck, and all I can say is what I was told a zillion times as a concert performer... Don't under charge, as that's much more likely than over charging. Or so say those who've been there, done that... And I still have trouble with it... :o Good luck!

Meg said...

You know, Crystal, I am actually starting to appreciate swaps more and more, but the trouble is, thus far Air New Zealand hasn't offered to fly me to Italy for a few dozen scarves, or not even a trip home to see my parents. Hummm....