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Ten Thousand Flowers and the Gremlin in the Head

Yesterday I went to the office supply store and bought a pack of unlined 3-by-5 cards.  I started using the fine point Sharpies that I’d obtained and found still too blunt to do my word art work with and drew flowers on them.

The first ten of ten thousand flowers.

Ten Flowers

The first five were drawn yesterday, the next five today.  I have decided I want to draw and give away ten thousand flowers to anybody who asks for them.

(If you’d like one, go here for the details.)

The thing that struck me when the intention to do so finally locked itself into my brain was how ridiculously, delightfully right it felt and how, almost instantly, my inner gremlins were on the scene, trying to talk me out of it.

Everybody who creates has to deal with the gremlins.  There are all kinds of names for them–Resistance, the Lizard Brain, the Inner Critic and even the Inner Mean Girl–but whatever you call them, you know what they are.  They’re the voices in your head, the parts of your multitudinous self that try to stop you when you try to do something new and strange.  There are lots of different ways to deal with them, but one thing that I realized when I was working my way past them for this particular project is that they can sometimes be quite useful.

This is a rough approximation of the objections the thing raised when I settled on the ten thousand number and how I responded to them.

This is so stupid.  Who’s going to want one of those ugly scribbly flowers, let alone ten thousand of them?

Well, out of a billion people on the Internet, surely I can find ten thousand who will find a scribbly flower something worth obtaining, as something kind of fun and goofy to make them smile.

How are you going to pay for all the 3 x 5 cards and the postage and the envelopes?  You’re still too broke to eat out at a restaurant!

This was actually a valid concern.  This is a way that gremlins can be helpful.  I brainstormed a bit and then smacked myself on the forehead and realized that I didn’t have to spring for postage or envelopes–I could just ask people to send a SASE to my box.  Problem solved.  Sure, ten thousand 3 x 5 cards are still going to cost, but I can take care of that a few bucks at a time.  My first five hundred should last me a while and I can scrape together the money for the next batch of five hundred in the meantime.

What if nobody asks for one?  What if nobody cares at all?

Then I’ll have a lot less work to do, won’t I?  And I’ll get to keep the flowers!

You’re just going to flake out on this.  I’ve seen you go off on these crazy ideas and then fall down on the follow-up.

This is, again, a valid concern.  But I figure if I keep it simple enough I shouldn’t get too overwhelmed.  It’s not like I’m going to get ten thousand requests overnight or anything.  If I keep steadily making flowers and keeping the supply ahead of the number of requests, I should be fine.  Plus, I tend to flake out more with things that only I know about.  Once I’ve told the world, I tend to be a little better about sticking to it.

What happens if people start coming to your blog and trolling you and making fun of you?

I delete the comments and spare a moment of pity for people who are so dead inside that they feel a need to be cruel to somebody for the crime of making scribbly little drawings to give away to people for fun.

Why are you even doing this?  What’s the point?

There are a lot of points to it, really.  One is because it sounds like a pretty nifty thing to do.  Another is because I’ve felt so pinched and deprived that I really wanted a simple way to give the world something from a place of generosity, that fits with who I am and how I function.  I’m too painfully shy for most volunteer work, I’m too broke to donate much in the way of money, but this is a way I can try to make ten thousand people just a little bit happier and hopefully make myself feel a little bit happier as well.

At this point, the gremlin’s down to the usual “nobody’s going to care about this, you know” mantra, to which my response is “that’s nice, I’m going to finish this blog post anyway.”  So there you are.

Again, the page for instructions on obtaining one of my ten thousand flowers is here.  I check my mailbox about once a week, though that may change if I get enough requests.  Thanks for checking this out!

7 comments to Ten Thousand Flowers and the Gremlin in the Head

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