I’ve been wracking my brain trying to come up with a topic for today. I know there’s no one holding a gun to my head, forcing me to post every day, and it’s really okay if I take a day off now and then, but there is something inside me that’s urging me on–somehow, this is important to me, to my life, and so here I am. Most of my posts are seat-of-the-pants kinds of things anyway and I have no idea what’s going to come out of my fingertips until I start fiddling around on the keyboard. Let’s see what’s on their tips today. It’ll be fun.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I want to do versus what I need to do in terms of making some money. I’m a simple girl with simple needs so I don’t need or even want piles of money–though, of course, if someone offered, I’d say “thank you very much” and take it and run. But truthfully, in my mind, more money means more stuff and more stuff is not what I need. I have plenty and could do with less. A lot less. I don’t want the kind of custodial relationship that comes with more stuff. I want to be free of much of it, with just enough to meet my modest needs, enough to keep me engaged, and a little more than enough to share. You know what they say–money’s like fertilizer. It’s no good unless you spread it around.
Here’s the thing: I’m not cut out for traditional work. I’ve gone that route and it’s not a happy experience for anyone. The thought of being trapped in a cube farm or working retail or being micro-managed makes me feel kind of sick. Actually, it makes me a lot sick. Yes, I have to work, but I’d like it to be on my own terms. Is that too much to ask?
I’ve been reading One Man’s Wilderness:An Alaskan Odyssey, a compilation of Dick Pronneke’s journal entries detailing his life in Alaska. Pronneke moved to Alaska in 1968 to live out his dream of making a life and home in the wilderness, and he started living out that dream at age 51. Just a year younger than I am now. That kind of hits me between the eyes when I start thinking along the lines that I’m too old to do anything with my life, or to work toward making my own modest dream come true. It’s only truly too late when you believe it is.
What impresses me most about Pronneke is his careful planning and workmanship. He was a great proponent of taking one’s time and getting it right. I’m sure he felt, at times, the urgency of time slipping away, as I do now, yet he had the discipline to slow it down, work it out, and produce end results that lasted. The small cabin he built in 1968–just 11′ by 15′, the same size as my bedroom–was his home for the next 30 years and it still stands, a testament to his skill as a craftsman.
Imagine making a happy and largely self-sufficient life like that, maybe not in an Alaskan wilderness, but somewhere congenial and of your own choosing. Sounds like paradise, doesn’t it? It does to me, and to be in control of what I do day to day, to be independent and to live and work by my own lights–it gives me chills to think about it.
Some dreams never die, and I’ve dreamed most of my life of an independent life and of making a living by writing. I know I have the necessary skills, and, having read a lot of what’s out there, I know I have the ability to string words together in a coherent manner better than some. No brag, just fact. There are a load of writers out there who are making a living out of it and whose popularity frankly befuddles me. Mean and consistently snarky isn’t funny or cute or endearing, and stupid is–well, just stupid–and crap writing is just crap. There ought to be room for a not-so-crap writer or two.
So I wonder–can I start building something now that will shelter and provide for me for years to come?