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I Got Your Holiday Bonus Right HERE December 16, 2012

Posted by J. in Genius, Sticks and String.
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It’s been quite a year for me, business-wise. Last year at this time, I was pretty close to reaching my emotional rock-bottom. My Etsy shop had been languishing, though the nice thing about Etsy is that you can keep stuff there for very little cash forever if you feel like it. And that’s all it was really doing.

Then I got me some happy pills and things looked a lot brighter. And my creative mojo–among other things–came back. I was making cool stuff again and feeling good about it. I opened two more Etsy shops to show off my creations. I started writing again, more seriously and every day, and on a whim I self-published a few books, more as a vanity exercise than anything else. And more than one friend on more than one occasion asked me the same basic question: why aren’t you famous?

I deflected the question a lot, for awhile. But as so often happens with friends, I have this one friend who didn’t let it go. He really refused to accept any of my excuses as to why I wasn’t throwing my time and energy behind promoting myself. He saw money to be made and saw no reason for me to not go after it.

I had to be honest with myself, and when I figured it all out, tell him that I hate self-promotion. I mean I loathe it. With every fiber of my being, I cannot abide telling anyone how great I am. I mean, I know I got some mad skillz, yo, but talking about it for real makes me all cringe-y inside. And as so often happens with friends, he wouldn’t let me get away with that either. He may actually have said, “Suck it up, cupcake,” or something to that effect.

We also discovered together how deeply my mental block against tackling big projects goes. He started listing all the things I should be doing to promote myself: you need to have a Twitter account–make that two, one for the knitting and one for the writing. You need to have a Facebook fan page that combines all three shops. You need to be posting to Facebook every day. You need to promote something every day. You need to blog. You need to write. You need to create new things. You need to write up your patterns…

I couldn’t handle it. I cried. Twice. Made him feel bad, too. Pushy bastard.

And it got him to back off, but only a little. Only enough to regroup and come at me in a way that wouldn’t overwhelm me. He took the time and the mental energy to form a big picture of what needed to be done and then handed it to me in small bites. He never let me see the whole thing, just gave me a task to do and when it was done, praised me, and gave me another one. And he did this over and over until I was doing the things I needed to do as part of a daily routine.

It seems like a small thing when I say it that way, but make no mistake: it’s not. I’ve given up on so many things, or not even started them in the first place because I couldn’t break the big picture down into bits that I could handle. I never had anyone behind me pushing me when I didn’t want to keep going. He let me rest and whine and bitch about it when I needed to, and then he kicked my ass into gear so that I would keep going. And I’ve kept going all year long. And not once did he ever do it with anything other than good humor and calm resolve.

We started joking about his role and we kept referring to him as my PR advisor because with all the work he’s been doing to help me promote my self-image and brand myself he certainly deserved a title of some sort. But a couple of weeks ago as I was looking at my full page list of special orders that I have only because I’ve been promoting the hell out of myself at his constant and unrelenting urging, I promoted him to Vice President of Public Relations. It’s a heady title, and someday when I can afford to, I’m going to make sure Bill has a corner office and an unlimited expense account. And his holiday bonus is going to involve either the corporate jet staffed with sexually permissive and scantily clad beer wenches and  an offshore account in the Cayman Islands, or the corporate condo in Vegas full of hookers and blow. Maybe both.

So I was sitting here at my desk knitting away like a squirrel on crack working my way through my many orders, watching the Netflix on the computer. I was viewing my way through the entire series of Arrested Development when I noticed in one of the episodes that the character of Tobias Fünke had on a green sweater with a gray skull motif on it. And I wondered if such a sweater pattern existed. To the Google!

This is the cardigan in question. I'm still pretty sure I could make this, and don't think I won't.

This is the cardigan in question. I’m still pretty sure I could make this, and don’t you think I won’t, mister.

But while I was looking for that sweater, I found pictures of a plush Tobias doll that an Etsy artist made. It was glorious. I went to her shop looking for it, knowing Bill’s love of Arrested Development surpasses my own, and that his imitation of Tobias’ line “I just blue myself” is unrivaled. He needed that doll. It was going to be his Christmas bonus from me, the CEO and talent behind the Fiber Arts Empire. I could feel it. It was meant to be!

But it was not in her shop! Fuck a duck. I sat here and looked at the picture of that doll on my computer monitor and then something caught my eye. It looked something like this:

I call him Leering Bill. Long story.

I call him Leering Bill. Long story.

Leering Bill started as a plush toy.

You know where this is going, don’t you? I dove into my stash looking for some blue yarn and I set to building up those single crochets. I took a break only long enough to order a recordable voice box from Amazon–the kind you put in a teddy bear. It got here and I recorded a short 10-second clip from Arrested Development of Tobias saying the immortal lines:

I crammed it up his ass, finished him off with blue cutoffs and little felt glasses, and I have to admit, I’m pretty pleased with how it came out.

Tobias Fünke, Analrapist, never-nude, and Blue Man Group understudy. Sort of. Lovingly rendered in wool and felt.

Tobias Fünke, Analrapist, never-nude, and Blue Man Group understudy (sort of). Lovingly rendered in wool and felt.

Now here’s hoping that as the Empire grows and expands that the rest of my new hires will be as content as Bill with a bit of crocheted fuckery as a holiday bonus. At least until I can afford the hot tub full of Cristal and the cabana boys with low morals and mercenary motivations.

Merry Christmas, Bill. And thanks for all your help this year. I honestly couldn’t have done it without you. You’re a gem.