From Scratch to Claw

Let’s get a few things clarified. The living situation requires immediate attention. I am not being forced out, nor pushed out for any other reason that the gentleman who owns the garage I’m staying in wants to use it as a shop for his collectibles. I was aware of this before, but had hoped I would have more time to raise capital and finally settle into something of my own. His reasoning is quite legitimate. Nearly 2 months should be more than enough time to secure another situation for Mario and I. (And maybe that’s my biggest gripe, not with him, but with life: I’m tired of situations. I want something constant and real and continual. I want a PERMANENT home. And I have until this weekend to find one). He has every right to pursue the plans that he has decided for himself. I understand that and plan to have coffee with him later. No ill will. I won’t step on his plans. (I don’t want that karma).

The job front. My sister posted a message on my facebook page saying how sad it was that I had not found a job yet. My uncle, more of an older brother to the proximity of our ages, when I last spoke with him, also asked after I mentioned the success I have been having with my knit teddy bears, “But, you still haven’t found a job?”  I would like to say quickly, and to all manner of human within readable distance and earshot that those teddy bears have afforded me slightly more than any of the minimum wage jobs I have applied for and been denied. But even more so, those teddy bears have done a wonderful job of showing me hope. My mindset has changed, my lifestyle has changed. Of all the things in life that I have tried to be a success at, the only thing that has worked for me is a pair of double pointed needles and some yarn worked up into a sad faced teddy bear. I didn’t intend for it to happen, but just there, just where I was done with by those around me, a simple knit teddy bear gave me hope. So, I have NO intention on giving up the ONE thing that has worked for me. I do intend to give up on those associates (friends and family) who think its cute, but silly and that I should find a job….Which always makes me laugh. Don’t you think that I’ve been looking? Don’t you think I have applied at multiple places without response? I have followed YOUR plans for 20 years now….and your plan sucks. Your desire for me to wear a suit and go to a corporate institution and follow the methods set forth in the 1980’s is NOT going to happen. I tried that, remember? I tried your plan….and it gobbled me up, chewed me to pieces and tossed me into a pile of others who are also in the same economic situation. And I? I grabbed a pair of knitting needles and got to work.

The more people tell me that what I’m doing shouldn’t be long term, the more I exclude them. “That’s just something to get by on.” ARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!

The more people tell me that whats best for me is to get a REASONABLE income with benefits, the more I shake my head and say, “You don’t think I would? You’re a fool…..” I have been fortunate that I have been able to feed myself, start a cottage industry from scratch, and dammit, I will CLAW my way over negativity when required. I will not be stopped. I could decide to sit here and knit a bear or two just to make enough to eat, or I can follow the greatest American concept: entrepreneurialship, and create something brilliant and wonderful out of some heartache. I can BE somebody now.

So, what do I require? Positive change. Praise me, afford me a few kudos that will inspire me to take these teddy bears to the next level, and give me FINALLY a freakin’ place of permanence, a home. And if you don’t? If you want to “guide” me back into the life that destroyed me, and profess the only thing that will make me a success is to follow YOUR plan? Then I promise you, that will be the LAST conversation you ever have with me.

Moral of the story? If your dream isn’t worth sacrificing for, then its hardly a dream at all….its simply a whim. So, are we gonna dream big or not?








  1. I completely agree. The trick is to be able to create some security by doing what you love, what is right for you. I know that when it all comes together, nothing is better.

    1. Absolutely. Should I end up as poor as a church mouse, then at least I’ve been able to say, “I did it. I did it.” Too many are falling to pieces, spending their hours in a sense of despair over unemployment,while in their hearts is a desire, a yearning to be creative, to smile and push forward into a better life on their own terms. They’re just being told too often that their validation is on an employer’s terms. Don’t you love the idea of not being able to love until you can love yourself? Can’t we take it pursue other moments of acceptance and rejection, like “you can’t be employed until you employ yourself????”

  2. You damn right! I get people asking me the same thing, “When are you coming back to the states to start your life? When will you get deeply in debt and married like all us ‘responsible adults’?” Nice people, but I wouldn’t live like them if you paid me. Why work a job you hate and get tied down with crushing debt to buy shit you don’t need?

    How’s about you start volunteering at an old folks home and put those old ladies to work making components of the bears?

    Or Shit man, Here in Indonesia, labor is crazy cheap. I have a maid that comes five days a week and she loves me because I pay so much ($40 per month) Come here, train up a few ladies to make components and a few to assemble and then spend your time creating new knitted characters and marketing those adorable lil, bastards!

    Seriously, I just rented a house for a YEAR for $1500. a THREE BEDROOM house. Any of a dozen schools will hire you as a teacher simply because you are a native English speaker….and they provide free housing. they are dying for native teachers here and don’t care if you’ve ever even seen a school before. All you would need is a passport and the airfare.

    Think about it…. We could make it happen… It certainly would be outside of the box…

    1. I had heard you were somewhere in the Far East teaching English. I was under the impression it was China. Mercy, who would have thought when we played Hannibel Lectre at Terror on Church Street that our lives would have moved this way? Funny, the sharp turns life takes so often. I romanticize about the idea of going abroad, but sadly, I think so much about Mario and I couldn’t even consider giving her up at this point. Wishing you my best…..
      Tell me more about your life in Indonesia. THAT actually sounds like one helluva book, man!

      1. I was in China for four years, Moscow for two after that, and now I’m in Indonesia. I’m teaching GCSE Literature and Drama and my current job pays REALLY well. I’ll stay here a while.

        It does feel far and long from TOCS…

        Life here is pretty good. For the first time in my life, I live like a rich guy. (which, by Indonesian standards, I am) On days off I can get out of the city to jungle villages where you can see wild orangutans or Lake Toba Which is the most beautiful place ever. (google it!)
        Most of my life is just going to school everyday and trying to make learning interesting and fun for my students, A fun job, but becomes that same ol’ same ol’ after a while, like anything else.

        I think it’s possible for cats to travel internationally…might be pricey though.

        Best of luck finding a place, man!

  3. Gregory, you are truly an inspiration! I am so sorry to hear about the accomadation side of things.. that seriously sucks. On the job side, I love and fully agree with your attitude! Don’t let others tell you how to go about making a living! There are MANY people making a damn fine living from creating things like teddy bears etc… so it can be done, and bollocks to those who believe otherwise! You inspire me to continue chasing my dream to make a living doing what I love.. crafts and photography, even when I too have many who don’t believe I can. *hugs*
    I sincerely hope something comes up in regards to new accomadation, and wish I could help. I don’t know if this will be of any use, but this is a blog I came across a few weeks back with a LOT of awesome advice and support for those setting up their own small businesses. So far, this has been the best resource I have ever come across for advice on starting up a small business… and Karen is on twitter too if you wanted to follow her. Just thought this could help:

    Take care… and good luck!

    Tezza (a.k.a: tzignztreasury on twitter)

  4. Fuck plan b. Plan b is for those who are scared to follow their dreams. You do what you want & how you want. Also, kudos to you for recognizing this & not being afraid. Fear is the only thing which constantly keeps us from happiness. Your hard work & determination will pay off. Also, if you have your teddy bears on a site, please send me address.

    1. Nicole! (Often I hear the ricochet in my head, “fuck plan b.”) I usually have my teddy bears on my Etsy site. Trying to get a few more under my belt before listing any. Of Course, I’m always doing custom work. (and thank you for the compliments, I really appreciate it).

  5. So since this morning I’ve been reading as many of your entries as time would allow and this one struck a chord with me for I hear the same tired advice over and over again. If people don’t understand you, it’s truly THEIR loss. There’s no way it could be YOUR loss because again, clearly they don’t understand you.

    I also read the comments and recently I checked into taking our dogs abroad if the opportunity presented itself and for Europe, it was completely allowable with proof of vaccination. And these are beefy 60lb dogs. I realize Indonesia is likely different in terms of regulations but based on what your friend above stated, it seems like an incredibly adventurous option that would allow you some fun AND pursuit of something you truly love. I say make it a goal and bring that sweet kitty along for the ride! You are not bound by the obligations many have created for themselves so by all means, enjoy that freedom.

    1. LOL! You must be referring to my friend Jason who said a move to Indonesia to teach English was an option. Yes, I did banter with the idea. Its not out of the question, just not firmly something I want to do yet. If I were to leave the US, I’d head north to Canada first. And possibley over to Scotland after that. I lived in Germany for 8 years total, so I could do that again, too. But, what I love about your post was reminding me of Jason. When we first met 15 years ago, we were actors in a live action horror attraction. I was often Hannibal Lector. And Jason was an impressive “barker.”

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