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What does it mean to be a Freelancer?
And the relaunch of Intellectuallypromiscuous.com
Freelancing and the Gig Economy
Today’s gig economy means a lot of people are working piece work – picking up commissions and “gigs” as they can, rather than working traditional full-time jobs. It isn’t easy. There are no company-paid benefits like health insurance and paid time off, no life insurance, and certainly no job security. There are a lot of benefits, though.
You work when you want, and you are free to NOT work when you don’t want to or can’t work due to other commitments. You are also free to turn down jobs that don’t appeal to you. That is, if you can afford to turn down work.
That’s the kicker. As a freelancer, you have to have enough income coming in to be able to turn away work. Not many freelancers have that luxury. Most of us scrabble for every crumb of work, taking on jobs that we would otherwise pass. We live on COBRA or ACA health insurance and pray every day those don’t go away. It makes politics very personal.
Eventually we hope to have our work seen enough so that we can increase our rates, get more offers of jobs and get more money coming in – and thus increase our opportunities for growth. It happens in some cases. In others, we give up and try to find full time work again.
Unfortunately, traditional employers see periods of freelance work essentially as unemployment. While untrue, freelancing is not seen as “real work” in the business community. Through some trial and error, I’ve found that putting “Contract Writer for XYZ Company” on my resume gets a more positive response from traditional employers, rather than the more generic “Freelance Author and Artist.” Employers are more responsive when they have a name attached to the work, even though the list of “Contract writer for ___” includes six or seven companies at the same time.
What about Freelance Artist?
As a freelance artist at the same time, this is trickier. I cannot list every person for whom I have done a private commission or an SCA scroll as a customer. For this, I do list myself as “Artist” and describe the work I do.
I create custom artwork for private clients, including researching their requirements, historical basis for the artwork, creating historical pigments if necessary. I also include the fact that I teach methods of creating historically-based artwork to groups at local, regional, national and international workshops.
This is true, after all. I teach within my local Shire, the nearby Barony, throughout the Kingdom, and I recently taught at the Known World Herald and Scribe Symposium. I expect I will again, given the chance.
I’ve been creating pigments
I have also begun creating my own pigments over the last year and a half, starting with the least toxic ones – mostly blues, greens and earth tones such as the ochers. I would like to find ways to make reds, yellows and oranges, but those tend to involve cooking lead. That is inherently dangerous and I am not sure I’m ready for that. Yet. Greens like verdigris are almost TOO easy – dunk some copper wire from the hardware store into some vinegar, add a little salt and wait.
I even experimented with period Brasilwood recipes, using Purple heart wood sawdust. The two trees are of the same family, and I happened to have access to the purple heart sawdust. I got some nice reddish-brown pigment out of it, but not a true red. The experiments, based off the recipes in Ceninni, involved lye. Lye is also toxic, but it is a workable toxic, meaning use gloves and common sense.
I also got a very nice celadon green out of the purple heart when I used a mixture of the lye and some of the used vinegar from the verdigris experiments. After a number of uses, the verdigris vinegar turns blue from the copper dissolving a little in it. I poured some of this over the purple heart sawdust “mash” in addition to the lye. The result was eventually the celadon.
I’ll be publishing some of these pigment experiments here as part of the relaunch of Intellectually Promiscuous, as well as some more “Scroll Stuff,” and the sciency side of scribe stuff. I will also be focusing more on the freelancing aspect of life, whether writing or art.
There will still be the occasional jaunt into other rabbit holes. After all, I’m still “intellectually promiscuous.” Things catch my eye and they are interesting. They will get published – possibly as briefs with links to outside sources. Expect a stronger focus on the art and writing, though.
I have a guest blogger lined up, so look for a post soon from Sue Gordon, fellow artist and scribe!
I hope you enjoy the refocus and relaunch of Iamintellectuallypromiscuous.com
23 September 2015
Lights at the end of the tunnels
A lot has transpired since I last blogged.
I got aseptic meningitis in August, spent 4 days in the hospital with that, bought a house in under a month start to finish, and have been off work since then still battling the meningitis and the back pain from the disc issues. I passed a trial installation of a Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant, aka Borg Technology, that interrupts the pain signals between the injury site and the brain. As a result, I’m scheduled for permanent installation on 6 October.
A friend has labeled me the Cyborg Laurel as a result. I think I love him.
Currently, my FMLA allows me off work until 2 November from all of this, but I am totally without paid leave since the August illness. I’ve applied for Shared Leave but have no idea if it will be approved. I’ve had to mostly quit my freelance writing, because the meningitis has fried the nerves in my fingers. Writing by hand and typing is mostly erasing or, in the case of typing, back spacing and retyping. I also fall asleep a lot, as my endurance is nil.
Naturally, I took on more work with the SCA as RUSH (Royal University of Scir-Hafoc) Regent for Nebraska and Kansas. This position helps facilitate events and classes for arts, sciences, SCA culture, history, martial activities, etc. in a non-competitive atmosphere. In other words, lots more responsibility, travel, paperwork and so forth.
I am still in the process of moving out of the apartment and in to the new house. Thankfully, another friend has loaned me her godson and his friend. They are working for cheap, hauling heavy stuff and mowing the lawn at the house. I just have to pack things in boxes. This means hauling boxes up the stairs to the apartment and actually doing the work.
In short, I’m worn out. This does nothing to help heal the meningitis, which requires rest. I am my own worst enemy as usual.
I have developed a closer friendship with a dear friend of decades and I believe that may be all that is saving me right now.
That, and the fact that “the boys” – the godson and his friend – have moved the heavy furniture to the new house so I can at least live here without having to deal with steps on bad pain days.
Hooray for strong young men, dear friends and lights at the ends of tunnels.
Intellectually Promiscuous has been conspicuously absent for the better part of a year. Partially, it’s because things were going well. I had a job I liked, I moved to a town I liked better, and a relationship that was going well. My health was decent and things were going pretty well.
Things started happening right before I moved to Lawrence. I had to put Chani, Dog of the Desert, to her final rest. Devastating doesn’t begin to cover it. That was January 2014. I still tear up talking about it. During the period after that, my relationship with a dear friend I’ll call Bob (really NOT his real name) started…..
Naturally, every piece of shit in the world hit the fan……My world crashed around me…..as my world closed in around me in a bubble of hell – physical, mental and emotional pain beyond telling all at once and all beyond my control – I once again had no voice. The PTSD kicked in hard, I was in full blown panic mode almost all the time, and the depression turned the world into tear streaked black 24/7……….
After weeks of sharing my misery with my Facebook friends and being generally miserable, not getting any meaningful answers from Bob to try and put some meaning to this mess, and attending therapy every week, it occurred to me that I have a blog. A website. I can journal this mess. I can write about it, collect the articles or sayings or pictures HERE, on iamintellectuallypromiscuous.com rather than inflict it on people who might still care about me. If people WANT to read about it they can come here. Otherwise, they can be angst-free from me. Call it a public service…..
So, for today, with eyes still swollen shut from crying , I write this and hope for a change. I’ve sent a final missive to Bob, asking for private conversation – in writing or whatever – to answer those questions and tie up those loose ends. I explained the reasons why I don’t think every word between us needs to be shared with Mrs. Bob in their “new openness” and asked him to help me find the path I need to move on with my life. I pray the goddess lets him answer and even more to be supportive. I pray there are still positive feelings there.
In the meantime, I’m planning ahead. I’ve booked events ahead – even bought tickets to Toronto for the Scribes Symposium at the end of June. I bought my own pavilion for SCA camping events, although attending such events where I will see him and her terrifies me beyond the meaning of the word terror. I will have to find a way past that sooner or later. I have reached out to people, in spite of fear and grief, and let them know I am hurting and want to visit, to find safe havens.
I am trying to focus on projects instead of pain, since it seems at this point it is mostly picking at scabs to keep things raw and bleeding. I am not sure of anything or anyone, least of all myself…..Right now, as I write this, I feel again like I am out of happily ever afters. I feel forever unlovable and unwantable, although I don’t know if that is true. I feel as though I will be shunned and shamed if I show up anywhere….Today, I feel broken beyond repair. Even beyond the wabi-sabi concept.