Sometimes it takes a thing ending to spark renewed efforts to find new beginnings.
One of our little shops in town closed its doors abruptly this weekend. The owner has tried to make a successful business of it, but that’s a hard thing to do in a town with a population of only 500 or so. She did quite well, but the income stream was seasonal and not dependable. When she received an offer for a good job in the next nearest town, she couldn’t say no to that opportunity.
Tina’s Place on the Square (and the Artroom Gallery in the back) was a wonderful retail outlet for lots of the local crafters and artists, myself included. My books sold fairly well in there, and our syrup did too. I’d come to rely on that little paycheck, mostly because it offered “proof” my work hasn’t been completely in vain. A paycheck is a symbol of success, ha, no matter how small it is.
This closure marks a new beginning for Tina at a full-time job with benefits. In this day and economical climate, the importance of a regular paycheck and health insurance can’t be ignored. I’m still holding out on that (since we do have insurance and some income), hoping Wild Ozark makes a run for the money soon.
Her run with The Place on the Square spanned at least four years, selling vintage and antiques, and local arts and crafts.
Hopeful for New Beginnings
So now I have been motivated to find more outlets for my work and Rob’s syrup. Today I applied to be a vendor at the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market. I’ve heard it’s quite tough to get in there, but my fingers are crossed and my prayers have been whispered into the ears of the trees. Hopefully, the Universe will hear and respond in a way that makes me smile.
I’ve also recently applied to be a vendor at the Arkansas Made-Arkansas Proud Festival in Little Rock in April, and to the Sharps Show at the War Eagle Festival, too.
If I’m able to get into those three venues, it should be enough to keep me busy year-round making and selling products. It should bring enough income to keep plugging away at these things I love to do.
What are the products? What do I do?
I’m glad you asked 🙂
- Forest Folk
- Fairy Gardens
- Nature Drawings
- Note Cards
- Content for my blogs
- Articles for publications
- Fiction books
- Nonfiction books
- on Ginseng Habitat
- on Nature Journaling
- on making Nature Art
- herb walks
- American Ginseng
- companion plants
- demonstration garden
- the bark is used in Burnt Kettle’s Shagbark Hickory Syrup
- after making the syrup, I re-use it
- smoking chips
- added to Forest Folk crafts
- garden mulch
The list above pretty much sums up Wild Ozark. Here’s to new beginnings! January is a good month to start making a renewed effort toward my business sustainability, wouldn’t you say?
One of the first people to help me with my writing technique died the other day. His name was Dusty Richards. He and his wife both died from injuries received in a car accident. I haven’t been to meet with the Ridgewriter’s in a few years now, but I’ll always be grateful to Dusty, along with Velda Brotherton. She and Dusty started the group I used to attend, and I think it is she who runs the event mentioned below.
I’m going to make a point to become active again in my writer’s groups. Socializing with other writers always did help me stay motivated to keep writing. Although I’m still writing – on this blog, articles for NANPS, and slowly, slowly on my Bounty Hunter trilogy (which I’ve renamed, by the way), mingling will spur me to write more words more often.
Annual Free Writer’s Conference
On March 10 I’ll be at the Annual Free Writer’s Conference in Fayetteville. I’ll have a table there with my books. If you’re in the area and are interested in writing, or want to meet some of the local writers, come by. Registration is required, but it’s a free event.
Saturday, March 10 – 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Ozarks Electric 3641 North Wedington Dr., Fayetteville, Arkansas
To register please email Velda at [email protected] They would like to get a head count and will have to cut off registrations at 70 because of the size of the room so register early. Watch Facebook for any forthcoming announcements.
Ozark Writers League Conference
The Ozark Writers League holds a conference for local writers four times a year in Branson, MO. I used to go often to these, but haven’t in quite a while. I’m not sure I’ll be able to make the February meeting, but if you’re a writer in search of a flock, this is a good one to join, too.
The conference is Feb 16-17 and you can find out more by clicking this sentence. It’s linked to the website.
Predator and Prey, or the hunter and the hunted is a common theme throughout my fiction writing. No Qualms, one of my short stories (free at most retailers) is about about a predator/prey relationship. Symbiosis, my first finished novel, not published yet, deals with predator/prey relationships and the balance of energy among life on earth, sometimes symbolic and often outright. Many of my flash fiction stories (I have twitterfiction and 100-word flash stories) are also dealing with this same dynamic. This is a strong theme that runs through most of my fiction and is strongly influenced by life in the wild Ozarks where we live. My first published novel, First Hunt, also has a predator and prey theme to it. I guess it's just part of my nature.
Wild Ozark is 160 acres of beautiful wild Ozark mountains. I call what I do "nature farming" because the land produces, all by itself, the shagbark hickory trees, ferns, moss, ground-fall botanicals, and the perfect habitats for growing and stewarding American ginseng. I'm co-creating with Nature - all of the things I use to make the Fairy Gardens and Forest Folk, the bark we harvest for Burnt Kettle's shagbark hickory syrup, are produced by nature without my input. This land is my muse for inspiration when it comes to my writing, drawing, and photography. It's truly a Nature Farm.
About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods
I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.