Monday, September 17, 2007

Risk-Taking in The Age of Wisdom

I confess -- I have reached The Age of Wisdom. That's the age when little critters with jelly-smeared lips call you Grandma, the government deposits a monthly check in your bank account, and you get discount prices at the cinema & some restaurants. (Let me note that discounts only feel good if I ask for them, not if some kid with pimples offers!)

Last night our dear friend of 30+ years, who only recently reached the Age of Wisdom, came to dinner. In just 10 days he'll fly to Kathmandu, Nepal to join with 4 other Seattle strangers & 9 Sherpas to hike/trek through the Himalayas. (Photo by Alfred Molon,
That's 27 days without a bath, 27 days pushing the bounds of physical & emotional endurance, and 27 days eating Dal & rice cakes while praying his bouts of kidney stones pick another time to attempt
an escape. I'm a little worried for him, though he had been a mountaineer and in preparation for this trip had spent all last month hiking seriously. He joked that he'd want the group to leave him by the trail rather than ruin the trek for them. In the next breath he added he hoped others were in good enough shape not to ruin his trip either. Right! Everyone is sharing a group risk in a very real sense, when they're roped together at freezing altitudes & exhausted. I'm in awe & continue to wonder at our friend's motivation to test himself in this trip of a lifetime at the age of 60.

What am I willing to risk, having attained the Age of Wisdom? No way does the trip to Nepal appeal to me! 27 days without a bath is cruel & unusual punishment. I have never been a risk taker. When our daughter was old enough for me to go back to school for a career change from Latin teacher to programmer, I took a programmer's aptitude test for a job-placement agency. I had answered every question correctly on the test, BUT I had only answered 2/3 of the questions. That's me! Whenever my ego was on the line, I always worked hard enough to be successful ... whatever time & effort was required. If that test had no time limit, I'd have answered all the questions, even if it took all year :)

But at the Age of Wisdom, I discover a strange brain cell with a yen for making jewelry -- an aberrant brain cell operating 180 degrees from the world of technical academics where the answer was either right or wrong. In my new world, personal taste judges the result right or wrong; the rules are nebulous, baffling, & subjective. I can't predict what my buyer will like. Yet this pushy brain cell wants me to create -- a very personal act! -- then come out of happy retirement to put my creations out there -- PUBLICLY, hoping for someone's favorable judgement & money. Like our friend on his big trek, I could fall flat on my face, because new businesses fail all the time.

Yet here I am taking this big risk with my ego on the line because of that 1 strange brain cell. It's not exactly a life-threatening trek, but the rest of my brain thinks I'm as nutty as my trekking friend! In fact the rest of my brain doesn't recognize this new Cheryl at all...???

Friday, September 7, 2007

Inspired by Sleep & a Friendly Nudge

On Labor Day, my internal clock began ticking with the alarm set. I must now find a way to put aside peripheral tasks & focus again on the jewelry creation process. AND I must complete the process soon, so I have ample time to photograph & market the 2007 Fall-Winter Collection! With a feeling somewhere between exhilaration & panic, I went to bed on Sept. 3, having officially set my internal alarm clock for the jewelry-making deadline.

It's unusual that I fell asleep with my mind so full of panic, but I did. Sometime during the night I began dreaming about jewelry designs -- a wonderful dream, full of clear mental pictures of a new product line my friend Joyce had been nudging me toward for many weeks without results... until tonight. But the more I dreamed, the more excited I felt, & the closer I came to consciousness. I didn't want the dream to end. Still buried in the pillow, I remember fearing that what seemed brilliant in sleep was total nonsense in reality. I've had many such brainstorms fizzle like that through the years. But as I re-examined that night's dream, I was still excited. So I got out of bed, checked the clock (5 am -- Good Grief! I Am Crazy...), walked into my work room, found my Brainstorm Book, & drew out 4 designs for the new product line. I had even dreamed up the name of the new line!

I've had fun since that dream, turning brainstorms into reality. (Notice the absence of blog entries :) These creations are a total departure for me. The new branch in my collection will include clasps for silk scarves & pins for knits, though I've have never been a knitter. The name I literally dreamed up for the new line is KnitKnacks. Tonight I learned that unfortunately it's already a registered domain name. Can you believe that?! But I will call my new product line KnitKnacks anyway.
Here's a sneak peek at my knit pins. I envision them adding pizazz to knit mufflers, purses, belts, hats, & dresses or coats -- any item with a looser weave.
I plan to make 3-4 scarf clasps as well, then re-focus on the remaining collection -- fun designs for necklaces, bracelets, & earrings.

So, from top to bottom, let me introduce you to "Mother," "Playfully Yours," "The 4th Dimension," and "Your Lucky Horseshoe." Joyce already claimed The 4th Dimension pin :)

I'll begin adding items from the new collection to my 2 website stores during October. Finally the hardcore MAKING of jewelry. That's so exciting! Can't wait to get up in the mornings & can't make myself go to bed at night :)