18 November 2009

The Mid-Life Crisis. Clubbing Men into Submission.

  When I became a writer, many people told me I was having a mid-life crisis. They said the same thing when I bought a cabin on a remote hill and wrote "Running To The Mountain." And when I bought Bedlam Farm.
  In a way, they were right. I was having a crisis, on several levels. But that change saved my life, as a man and as a writer.
  When people want to club men into conformity, or out of change, they the term "mid-life crisis," and it usually works. It's not a compliment – ever.
  Few men, unhappy though they may be, really dare to change their lives. They feel – are – too responsible, too bound, too obligated to their duty, too trapped by the many burdens of our complicated and increasingly expensive culture. I respect that, although this attitude is in sharp contrast to the way society views women who, when they change their lives, are properly admired as being brave and adventurous. Some years ago, there was a rumor of a men's movement, but it was always a myth. I don't know any men who wanted to chant and run out into the woods and beat drums.
  Now, there isn't even a myth about a men's movement. There isn't any, and men have never experienced the community,  focus and change that came for women with feminism.
  And men desperately need a movement. Many are suffering from insecure or lousy jobs, impossible obligations and disconnection from their families and their own emotional lives. I have experienced all of those things, and I wish men did have a movement. I doubt I will see one.
  I do think men need support for change, when they seek it. The idea of a "mid-life crisis" is a club, used mostly to beat men into submission, sometimes despair. Change is not always good, but it is not often bad, either. Sometimes it can save a life.

Farm update

Barns and dog

   The farm has been up for sale for several months now, and while there has been much interest, nothing concrete. I find the farm very appealing now, especially with the livestock gone. It is quiet, peaceful and quite manageable. I have wobbled quite a bit about selling it, but I still think it is a good idea as I don't need quite so much space or so many barns, and I still think it will be sold next Spring. Just a hunch. I can actually picture the family that buys it.
  I expect to have a new Bedlam Farm, as the name and the idea have become important, to me, and to some other people. My editors and I are figuring out my publishing future – novels, and if so, how many? Short stories, and if so, when? Long range planning has never been my forte, so it is being done finally. I like the idea of writing fiction and children's books, and taking photos, and doing all three until I drop.
  I am also figuring out how to do this photo show in January. Framing and printing is expensive, and I am not going to spend thousands of dollars framing photographs. Stubborn about it.

Posted in Farm Journal

Fascination. And Re-Entry

Lenore, Rose and Izzy investigate a smell on the path. What could be more fascinating?

  The worst thing about vacation is re-entry. Someone ought to invent a gradual re-entry process. I haven't figured it out. Spent five days in New York City, and was clobbered upon my return: interview requests, messages, bills, e-mail, dog issues, calls about events, readings, an interview with a TV producer interested in optioning one of my mysteries, and in between, a couple of photos and a start on my first short story. Also took my photos to Collin Badger of Mannix who is designing a new photo site, which will be right at the top of the Farm Journal page, and any photo I upload onto the website will go into the new site, and people can access it easily on this page. I got a lot done and nothing done, and barely remember the time in New York. Heading out for Sushi with Maria to try and retain some sense of a vacation.
  Tomorrow I'm doing a radio interview on the phone, having a conference call with the Hollywood people about the mystery (mostly, nothing comes of these things) and getting up very early to work on the short story, my first.
  Maria is holed up in her studio filling orders for potholders and making more. She is working hard, but enjoying getting her own business rolling. We miss New York.
  At noon on December 5, I'll be at the reopened and greatly expanded Battenkill Bookstore in Cambridge, N.Y. Noon.

Feel Different. Events

Poster, Tribecca, NYC

November 18, 2009 – Sunny, cool. I am swamped. Phone calls, e-mail, stuff I agreed to do. Got to consider what I do more carefully, even though most of it is good stuff. Sometimes, you just have to say no. I am grateful in a way that most of the animals are not here. I think the top of my head would blow off.

  Events: Sunday, November 22,  1 p.m. Union Village, Main St., Greenwich, N.Y. I'll be there with Izzy to sign books and ASA Calendars, and although Maria will be working, I'll be hustling some of her potholders too. They are still selling well for Christmas, and at $9, an artistic bargain. Mary Kellogg will be on hand, to read from her new book of poetry, "Whistling Woman," which we hope will be available for sale by Sunday.
 Saturday, November 28, 1 to 3 p.m., talk and signing for my books and the ASA Calendar, Gardenworks, Salem, N.Y. (518 854 3250). Izzy and/or Lenore will be on hand.
  January 9, 2010, my first photo show, at the Redux Art Gallery, Dorset, Vt., "Portraits of My Life," talk and display of photographs from my life. They will be for sale, ranging from around $200 and up.
 Next Spring, I am beginning the first of two story-telling workshops at the Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council (LARAC) in Glens Falks, N.Y. Stories are important, so I am going to help teach what I know about telling them. Attendance is limited.