Castles in the Air

One of my favorite Thoreau quotes is: “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them.”   

My castle in the air has always been my writing ambitions. Although I’ve done a lot of writing, quite often I replaced working for success with dreaming of it. In my dreams I have been terrifically successful: best-sellers, TV interviews, movie adaptations. 

My reality has been much humbler: a handful of publication credits, 0 TV interviews or movie deals.  

That is until recently. Publishing Tao of Thoreau through Amazon finally attached a tower of my castle to some foundation stones. Still a humble accomplishment, but at least a tangible one. And last month, September 1, 2020 to today, October 1st, I sold 32 books. I don’t know who is buying them; I’m pretty sure all the friends and family bought theirs earlier in the year, so I can only assume that these are people hearing about my book and purchasing it. 

After hardly selling books for months, suddenly Tao of Thoreau took off.

This is after an August where I barely sold any. So maybe something is happening out there. Maybe my book is catching on. 

Strangers. Reading my work. A dream coming true. 

This website is another part of this supporting structure. Again, the numbers are not world-shattering, but I love seeing my statistics. Even one visitor eyeing my work is wonderful. And I’m having fun challenging myself to beat the previous weeks stats.  

My biggest takeaway is this: writing and publishing is making me feel joy. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but now the joy of this process is spreading to all areas of my life. I feel incredibly fortunate to be where I am in my writing journey, and I am so glad that you are reading this right now. Thank you! 

Milestones

Tao of Thoreau sales

It’s wonderful to have the word ‘royalties’ to finally be part of my life. I first saw self-publishing to be a kind of defeat, a huge compromise to my dream of being accepted by a publisher.

Instead, it has become incredibly affirming. Not because money, which is nice. Because people are actually reading my words. The reality of self-publishing is infinitely better than the dream of being published.

Mulch

This spring I spread mulch with painterly strokes 
Or smeared hurriedly, abstraction in brown 

My canvas: 
Rooty humps around tree bowls 
Beneath blooming bush branches 
Along Flowering paths  

My palette:  
Earth, all the shades  
From mahogany to ebony. 

My motif:  
Circles and curves 
And deep loamy earth 
The contrast of browns and greens 
That beautifies the beautiful. 

 

Patio Publishing

The hole is dug and filled in with gravel. As I begin to lay the pavers, I have a feeling of expertise. With that comes trepidation: no matter how skilled I become, there will be challenges, and something may still go wrong.

My confidence grows as I lay more pavers. The only challenge is that they are heavy, and it’s hot!

Finally done. Cutting pavers with a wet saw was a huge challenge, and I can’t say I showed expertise. I had it rented for a day and cut for nine hours. At one point my thumb was cramping.

But it’s done. It has performed remarkably well in rain storms, draining just as I had hoped. Over Labor Day we had people over, and they were universally complementary of my work. Some pointed out the flaws with a grin on the face, but what project doesn’t have flaws? Just like with writing, sometimes you have to stop working on it, let go, and publish.

DIY was my first publishing

I wrote yesterday about the link between Work in Progress Writing and Work in Progress Projects. I was thinking about it just now, and it hit me that completing my indoor and outdoor projects was a type of publishing. After all, publishing is bringing a creative work to the public.

There is no choice but to “publish” a project. When a bathroom is done, people are going to use it. But with my writing, I’m guilty of holding on to it, endlessly tweaking, not working hard on trying to get it out to readers.

I wonder if making a kitchen, a bathroom, a patio is somehow linked to my decision to self-publish Tao of Thoreau? That having people walk on and through these places made me want to have my words in front of people, no matter how few or many.

Just think – reading bozbozeman is a little like using my bathroom. Except you can’t flush the toilet.

DIY WIP

Wether it’s a project or writing, it’s always a bit strange when the idea from the brain starts to take shape. Imagination to reality is an incredible transition, but reality always requires flexibility from the original conception.

Over-Compartmentalization 

I’m very good at compartmentalizing my life. I generally keep the stresses of work life at work. I can focus on my chores and DIY work at home without thinking about it elsewhere. Thus, I can enjoy my time with family or playing Ultimate Frisbee without stressing about other parts of my life. 

This has been very helpful for me since I can get pretty overwhelmed at times when I have a lot on my plate. In the past, if I couldn’t block out these burdens, I would tend to shut down and get nothing done.  

Yet I’m starting to think I overdo it.

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Learn Success part 1: DIY

I’m holding a huge piece of plywood. I’m trying to cut it with a teeny-tiny saw. Plywood wobbles, and I’m not a physicist, but I know it’s not good for the thing you’re trying to cut to be wobbling when you’re trying to cut it. 

I’m 30 years old. It’s the summer of 2000. I’m trying to redo the downstairs bathroom. 

I have no skills. Crap tools. And practically zero knowledge of carpentry, plumbing, and tiling. I hate painting.  

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