Boy howdy, I am starting off the season busy! Though there are tabling events all year, including three I signed up for and then missed, September is really the start for me. First the SF Zine Fest, then SFCB Roadworks, I start tabling just about every other week until, well, Christmas. I am not trying to get you all anxious about the holidays, and I still only have one holiday card design , but mid-November though late December becomes a blur of weekly events where crafty people and giant megastores alike, offer up their goods under the heading of holiday season. I don't participate in the big business gift frenzy, I usually make something for my family and friends. And I don't make anything especially holiday-like, (see that one card design above) but I do like making things and I like that people want to buy them. People are a little more into buying things in the fall and early winter. Last year I said yes to every tabling opportunity I was offered, and by the last show, I was tired, unable to see straight. I put away my stuff for a few months and focused on the postcard subscription and becoming a yoga teacher. In June, I thought I was ready for more. I wasn't. So this season I am being a little more choosy about which events I table, and am trying, like every year, to be a little more prepared. Andy G. is employed this season, which means more coffee and chocolates for me but more tabling by myself.
The thing is, I kind of like tabling. It is exhausting but also fun. You put all the stuff you love making on a table and see if the people are interested. It can be rough when it feels like no one is interested or it is loud or raining coal dust but I have been lucky that I still have another part-time job, that I am mostly going to events where I have been before, and I have good company.
That said, it is also a lot of work. No matter how I prepare, I always remember I need more labels last minute or I forgot to assemble zines or I bind just two more books. Or I have to print next month's postcard even though I won't be selling the cards. Because that is how it goes. I cleared off my work table two weeks ago only to be buried again before I left yesterday morning for SFCB Roadworks. I was leaving behind piles of zines and future books but I couldn't leave them on the floor since there seems to be some kind of superflea in our house feasting on my ankles and Andy kindly took care of it while I was out in the sun selling postcards.
We arrived fashionably on time, with time to get coffee and time to feel a little rushed as I had a new set-up thanks to a postcard rack I found on Market Street a few days ago. With a little spray paint and magnets,it changed my display but allowed me a little more room on my half table. I stacked, arranged, crowded, moved and was ready. I only reserve a half table and make do, which usually works out for me at this event. At eleven o'clock my table was craftily stacked, my coffee and donut were in my belly and I was almost forming full sentences without sounding crabby (my sleep schedule is changing which at the moment means Not Enough Sleep Ever. this is temporary. But unfun). The other half of my table remained empty.
11:30. Usually if one has not arrived 30 minutes after an event opens, it is acceptable to take over their space. However, the table was so blissfully bare, blonde pine shining in the sun. And I realized what is missing in my life.
So I kept my side stacked and organized, the cozy clutter I like in my life, my desk, my shelves of books and jars and photos and mementos and notes. It is not an unworkable aesthetic. But I kept the other half of the table clear, propped a chair behind it and opened my notebook. I took out three pens (three colors!) and without a plan, drew. It was as delicious as reading a book, something else I haven't done much of lately. I sat, and doodled, talked to strangers and postcard subscribers and a lady from Vermont who holds a grudge against New York State ( I am from NH and can relate a similar grudge against Massachusetts.) It was lovely. I drank more coffee, sold postcards and was home by five. I am not sure what I did until 9 but when I closed my eyes I slept and slept and slept. The piles are still on my desk this morning but I am ready.