A 57-year-Old Lady, trying to crack the publishing nut.

Notes from Alexis: I have to laugh at the gnashing of teeth over printer problems. Today we truly live in an easier world.

Dear Lex,

Don’t go into the publishing game – it takes nerves of steel. There is nothing but trouble, problems every day, and most problems come from left field.

This is another printer story. I know, I know, I said there would be no more, but there’s nothing good on TV, so here goes. But first….

Periodically (usually at tax time) I go through the old song and dance, should I continue or pack it in? Let’s face it, I’m not making any money and in fact, I have to invest a lot of money, time and effort into this business. You have played this game yourself, so you know what I mean.

So, following my long standing SOP. I told the “Guides that Be,” “Give me a clue guys, a sign, an indication. I need to know how to proceed.” I’ll give them credit for one thing – they work fast.

The next morning I began having printer problems. As you know, I have been refilling the ink cartridges with ink. I have gotten ten refills from No. 1, seven from No. 2. That translates into a saving of $340, figured at twenty bucks a cartridge.
So when No. 2 ran dry I gaily filled it again, and it promptly stopped printing at all. I was not alarmed because I had No. 3 waiting in the wings. I put it in and went on working, when it went dry I filled it, and it stopped printing – nada, nothing, a blank sheet of paper.

I tried everything but nothing worked, and I developed low – grade hysteria. Low -grade means I fretted and fumed, but didn’t scream. I also managed to flood the printer and had to wait the required 12 hours for it to cure itself; this meant for me, that I was up two or three times in the wee hours of the night, just to see if I had killed the printer, or just the cartridge.

Finally, I told Dad. From the Olympian heights where he operates (not involved heart and soul with the Solo Press) he said it was the ink. It was acting just like when I tried to use permanent ink. I went in and looked at the new bottle and compared it with the old – same thing, but still?

Meanwhile, I ordered a new cartridge and began calling around for black washable ink. No luck. They now make permanent ink, and I have two black fingers to prove it. Murderous thoughts welled up in my feverish brain.

So I bought a couple of bottles. At this point, I have enough ink of various kinds to start my own shop. My new cartridge should come today or tomorrow, and my palms are damp from worrying about it.

So, back to the sign from the “Guides.” When all this came down, I had a perfect out for quitting Solo Press. I could have said, “Okay, now’s my chance to get out from under it all, and save face. I cannot afford the cartridge fees, much less all the hassle.” Instead, I went into a tailspin. You never heard such weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth in your life.

Obviously I’m not interested in quitting. As for the money – I have always seen Solo Press as potential money. I need to build up a catalog of books. I figure by 10-12 titles I will have a good working inventory.

Isn’t it refreshing to hear about all these trivial (in the world scheme of things) problems? I enjoy all this problem-solving. I had to laugh because, in all my other pursuits, I had a manual. You know, book in hand. There is no manual for the Solo Press. I have to write it as I go. The thing is I need about three lifetimes to learn it. There is something ludicrous about a 56 going on 57-year-Old Lady, trying to crack the publishing nut, but enough about all this.

The bread baking has been going on apace. I have almond, peanut butter, orange and oat – prune (my favorite breakfast bread) not to mention two loaves of French, so I’ll hold off for a few days. The Hawaiian is elegant but costs about fifty cents a slice. But hey, when you’re rich, you’re rich, Right? I’ll cut corners somewhere else.

Well, got to stop. Will print this out on the good old daisy wheel. (One of the knobs broke so Dad, and I repaired it with black electrical tape). Between us, we manage pretty well. Of course, I hate it that he’s always right. Can’t wait to get to the post office and see what new problems will come up. Anything Lord, to keep me from going nuts sitting around with the old folks, and the dog.

All our love,