When Now and Play Disappear

A variety of teachers recommend you write or draw every day – Robert Bly, Seth Godin, Betty Edwards. After my recent struggles, which felt like the death of my retail business, I realize how a discipline of just saying what’s on top can help prevent such an extended diversion from my intended path.

When Amazon dropped the seller rating for my mostly-internet retail shop to “fair” on the basis of one “product not as described” comment (based on the description of the item Amazon forces us to use!), our sales slowed to a trickle. Despite still having a 4.9 rating, they removed us from being an easily-found, named seller, even of items only we sell. Meanwhile, Amazon’s direct sales of some of the items we sell went up. It is so unfair. Yet it is the new rule of retail. It is the thorny problem that sparks the creative solution. And as long as I let my primal brain keep me in fear, I can only rail on about my struggle.

Creative solutions are only possible once I can accept all the intricacies of the situation. Then I can see nuances invisible before. In anger I only see myself as victim. In acceptance, I see infinite choices. What shall I choose? Is that an invitation to play coming over the horizon?


Blaise Kielar received Honorable Mention in the 2022 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize for an excerpt from his memoir in progress, "Be Heard: The Quiet Kid Who Started the World’s Loudest Violin Shop." He opened Chapel Hill’s first violin shop in 1978 and retired from a music retail career by transitioning Electric Violin Shop into the first worker-owned co-op music store in the United States. He plays jazz violin and clarinet in several bands and leads the Bulltown Strutters, Durham’s community New Orleans brass band.