Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Twenty Questions: The Story

Last week I asked readers to supply me with 20 questions to answer in December (here). I received a wonderful variety. Today begins the revealing of those questions and my answers.

This question came from my friend, Tim Marshall. Considering how insanely artsy-busy I am this week (and have been for the past couple of months), I thought it was an excellent question to begin with. Here we go.

His question is: What is the story behind the creative inspiration for the first card you ever sold?

That's easy and I remember it well. I had been making cards for about half a year and had sent a couple to my dear friend Timothy. At the time he was working for a lighting company in Tennessee. He called one day and asked me if I could, if I would like to, design some "thank you" cards for him. He wanted to send out something unique to his business contacts and asked that the design include something lighting related.

Could I? Would I?! Oh, hell yes! I was thrilled, and it just so happened that I had a lightbulb stamp. Of course I did... I mean, who doesn't? So, I made the cards for him.

Timothy was thrilled with them. While there's a lot I would do differently now, I'm still mostly happy with the basic concept.

What's important here is that Timothy planted a seed, a tenacious, sprout-through-concrete-if-necessary weed of a seed. Because, the thing is, Timothy has a great sense of aesthetic value and he has excellent taste in all things artsy. So, when he ordered cards from me, and continued to order cards from me, I couldn't help but think, "Gee, maybe I'm on to something here... if Timothy likes my stuff, maybe other people will..."

Even so, my confidence in my skills wasn't quite what it is now. I still considered myself just dabbling in a fun hobby. One Monday, after a particularly art filled, card making weekend, I brought some cards to work with me - thought it would make for a fun sort of show n' tell during coffee break time. One of the gals I worked with looked them over. Then looked them over again. "These are really nice," she said. She turned away, then turned back, "Do you ever sell them? Because I really like this one." Feeling a little shocked, I said, "Sure, I'll sell it to you." She replied, "Oh good. Then I want this one, and this one, and that one too. And can you make me two more of this one?" During a 10 minute coffee break, I made $20.

It wasn't long before I was the designated card maker for company birthdays. As I carried the card around for each of my coworkers to sign for one such birthday, my friend Bill said, "You're really good at this, you know. You are. This is what you should be doing." I sighed and said, "Yeah... sure... I know." Bill leveled me with a look and said, "Really. Can you picture it? You design cards all day and hand off the design to someone else to make dozens... Can you see it?" I couldn't at the time, but I demurred anyway, just to get out from underneath Bill's stare.

Oh, but I can see it now. I've been so busy lately that I've caught myself thinking, "I wish I could just design these things and let someone else do all the cardstock cutting and folding and gluing!" And then I feel Bill's stare again... that piercing, screamin' at ya, blue stare. It's always fun when people know me better than I know myself, when they seem privy to the map that delineates my path.

At least I eventually catch up.

In the past two months, I've sold 400 cards... and I've been wishing I was even busier.


  1. That is a great story and I may have some interesting thoughts to run your way. One never knows why their path converges with another, but I'm grateful it has!

  2. Little did I know I'd be "tagged" as such an inspiration/visionary, but yes ... I knew you could do it, and I did indeed see it flickering on the horizon. I'm so happy things are finally coming to pass as I anticipated ... congratulations!!! Remember, too, that I offered my services if you ever needed any of my particular talents to use and abuse. I'm still relatively available if you have any openings I could fill ... er, positions available ... er ... a JOB OPPORTUNITY!!


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