Each time I sit down to post to Pretending to Farm, I do it with the intention that I am now back to a regular schedule of Three F conversation, Farming, Family, and Fiber. But then, I get pulled away by those very things in addition to my other writing gig at Open Salon, a social networking and blogging internet venue that is still in its beta stage but now open to anyone wanting to join and give it a try.
I began writing on my own “All We Are Saying: Give Fleece a Chance” blog page in the hopes of crossing over to the other Salon, a liberal-leaning news and opinion site that I have followed since its inception. I wanted to be paid for writing short essays and researched pieces whilst continuing with The Great American Novel. Since I had been invited to be one of the initial beta testers of approximately 200-300 people, I thought the chance of that was a good one, set my expectations high, too high, and wrote, wrote, wrote. I wrote my heart out. I wrote of topics too controversial to post here and too personal to be laid out for those who knew me (after all, these people were strangers to me and I to them; my real name was not on display). Occasionally, I would voice my frustration and sorrow over not being a financially successful writer despite all the positive feedback I received from both the editors and fellow bloggers on Open Salon. That frustration was and is real and my expectations have been lowered, both by me and by the Overlords as we call the editors and professional staff there. In the almost six months I have participated there, I have earned a whopping $1 in the form of a tip from another poster.
Admittedly, I have received other awards, arguably more valuable than filthy lucre, friends, lots and lots of friends, some of whom share my ideals, some who make me laugh, some who challenge my mind and make me think in ways I have not before. When I traveled through Colorado in June, I met one of these friends in person and had a wonderful time. A group of these people including one of the editors is heading our way for Spring Training in March and we’re planning a fun get-together at the notorious but always entertaining Greasewood Flat. One of the members is going to drag me to something called Estrella War and introduce me to The Society of Creative Anachronism (SCA or dress up in Renaissance garb and pretend to live in another time period). Some of these friends I feel will be life-long even if I never meet them in person. Others will drop by the wayside as some friends do but I will still have had the gift of knowing them if only briefly.
So what have I learned? Becoming a freelance writer and maintaining a steady stream of assignments is very difficult and, besides a golden few, does not typically afford a comfortable living. I have met the professional writers that I wanted (want) to be through Open Salon, multiply published writers, only some of them were hovering around the poverty line, some were forced to subsist with the help of government programs, and some were humiliated into taking their families to soup kitchens because they could not pay rent and utilities and afford groceries as well. It is not a glamorous career but is one of an artist, one with which I am all too familiar, long hours and little pay with a crap shoot to the big time.
And what have I decided? I’m going back to writing for fun, but writing what I feel without the worry of hurting someone’s sensibilities because I have expressed my strong and sometimes unique opinion. If you can handle that, baby I’m back with a vengeance. If you cannot, plenty of sites are floating around that speak only of knitting or fiber with a dash of family, some with farms as well. If by a strange happenstance someone wants to pay me for something I’ve written, great; if not, that’s okay, too, just not as good at paying the power bill.
Shall we go back to the Three F’s? I have lots to catch you up on but I’ll do that over time. This post has gotten long enough as it is. For now, I’ll extol the continued wonder that is the Pint-Sized Farmer despite the fact that he is railing at me as I write. Horror of horrors, I folded his train instruction paper and put it in a drawer. Apparently, I ruined it. I am a terrible grandmother.
I’ll let you know that all the rams are now neutered and some will be offered for sale as fiber wethers, though the thought of it puts a hitch in my voice and a lump in my throat. Hay has gone up at least 30% and because of the damned publishing industry’s rejection of me; we cannot continue to foot the bill for feeding our babies.
Also, since we (I) procrastinated too long in the spring and never got around to calling Papa Ernie to give the ruminants their haircuts, shearing is just around the bend and with a dozen Shetlands plus the three Angoras (we’re holding off on the alpaca and llama), it will be a challenge but should provide some decent blog fodder.
Teenager-wise, the twins have begun high school which once again makes me officially old but that’s okay. I have the mind of a child. I’ll be sharing that mind with you at least a few times a week and hopefully more in the months and years to come, God willing. Maybe, just maybe, someone will think I’m all-that and pay me for this dribble but, for now, this girl just wants to have fun.