Yesterday I spent a very enjoyable and productive day with a co-worker developing a performance piece for body-positivity month at one of the colleges where I teach.

Being an adjunct I am usually not asked to participate in many campus events, and this is both considerate (for a 3-credit class, I am paid 3 hours a week, and those 3 hours should be spent on my feet teaching, so any grading, tutoring, meetings with students are on my own/unpaid time), and also alienating as without that participation it’s hard to feel a true part of the organization.

My coworker is a full-time employee, so she has all the cachet an adjunct doesn’t, including knowing what resources are available, and who to ask to get them into place for the event. I’m going to do some of the writing of the performance piece, and try to both collect student writing that students will perform, and use my writing to link the disparate pieces together. It’s cool, and I’m excited about it.

And I came home, cooked dinner, fed people, and took my daughter to her drawing class. She did amazingly well there too, and it is a class for older kids that she is holding her own in. She is really a very talented artist, but not just talented, skilled too, and I feel lucky that I am her mom.

And then I got the newsletter in my email from the local writing association I belong to. And though they asked me for any updates from Devil’s Party Press, and I gave them many, they chose not to include anything from us in the association newsletter. And they hope I understand that they used logic to make this decision.

Oh I understand.


Women business owners, do you hear me? Do you feel me?

Yesterday was a day of me working on unpaid jobs.

Being a mom and a wife and cooking dinner for the family: unpaid jobs. I love my family; I’m happy to cook, for anyone honestly, and I don’t consider them a “job” in any way, and driving a kid to lessons, cooking, is work someone has to do, and it’s unpaid. So, unpaid jobs.

Working on a project for one of the colleges where I teach that will not be covered under my 3-credit hours, unpaid job.

Trying to get a small business off the ground, huge and unpaid job.

Being supported by associations in your field, when you are trying to get a small business going, is so important, and so helpful, and it makes you feel like you’re not a nutjob for considering this dumb idea to begin with.

And I have gotten wonderful and free support from IBPA and CLMP. And I have gotten invaluable amazing support from SCORE, but specifically the Chicago branch. I had to go to Chicago to find a publishing professional, but I found a great one, and she is mentoring the hell out of me.

And where support has been completely absent is through my state and my local writing association.

And here’s what I’m going to do about that:

I’m going to open my hands.

I am going to focus on my productive and enervating meeting with my co-worker who treated me like a full partner though I’m only a lowly.

I am going to focus on the fact that I made a tasty dinner in 15 minutes when I got home, and that everyone liked it and ate it and that I was able to get back out the door again with my daughter in time for her class.

I am going to focus on the fact that my daughter killed it at her class, in which she is the youngest kid, and the only girl. Grrrrrl power!

I am going to focus on the fact that as my business evolves I learn more and more every day about what I should be doing, and shouldn’t. And that my business model and practice improves almost weekly.

I am going to focus on one of my current summer students, a guy who has schizophrenia and is terrified of Zoom, who took my advice, and went to the school yesterday, and took the PDF of the article I gave him, and met with the wonderful woman who runs the tutoring center, and that she and a fellow tutor helped him figure out what he is doing without a camera being involved, and that he emailed me to say it went well, and that he is communicating with me, and that there may be one more successful college student who has survived the pandemic-learning shift.

I find that when I drop my arms down, and I open my hands, my head naturally lifts up, and my spine straightens.

All small companies face death a thousand times over. And there will always be people in your circle who don’t care when they should, or who simply would prefer you not succeed for reasons only they understand.

What really knocks my knees out from me is not those groups who actively work to not support me.

What knocks my knees out is me, when I give those groups too much of my focus.

No one can make you open a business, so why assume that anyone can make you close it?

And, yes, there will be people and etc. beyond your control who are not supportive, who want you to fail and close, who are bothered by your business existing.

And there are two ways to turn your back on something you don’t want to know about.

You can curl up in a ball and put your hands over your ears and basically fetal it.

Or you can drop your arms, straighten your spine, lift up your head, turn away from the noise, and open your hands and release all the poison. If someone gives you the gift of poison, do the logical thing, drop it.

Simply open your hands.

2 Replies to “OPEN YOUR HANDS”

  1. Robert F. I strive for balance between doing service for myself and others. As a volunteer, I pick by matching my values to the organization mission. Sometimes I pick the right one, sometimes not-oops. Balance still learning from trial and error.


    1. Plant your feet, stand tall, throw your head back, open your mouth, and hit that high D like Sutherland in Rigoletto. Make their jaws drop in amazement as they realize just how much they under-rated you. You’ve got this.


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