Tag Archives: nature’s goemetry: succulents

Fighting depression

After a lifetime of working and volunteering, I find myself really depressed after retiring on December 31, 2016. Since I was self-employed for 90% of my working life, I had to become an expert in many areas related to business: marketing & advertising (they are different), accounting, actual work, taxes, customer service, and negotiating, just to name a few.

I am endeavoring to do a few things that I have always wanted to do, such as publishing a book. I finished my first book, Nature’s Geometry: Succulents, in October 2019.

Cover of "Nature's Geometry: Succulents" by Russel Ray

I worked on it 12-18 hours a day from mid-June to October. It kept me busy and out of trouble.

Spiny Succulents, by Jeff MoorePrior to that, I did the final editing and design layout for Jeff Moore’s fourth book on succulents, comprising 350 pages and about 1500 pictures.

I started that on January 28, 2019, and finished in mid-June. I think I worked on it for 18-24 hours a day because I did pull a couple of all-nighters. It was like I was back in college albeit without the keg parties.

United States SSS mapJanuary 28 through October was the only time since retirement that I have not be depressed on a daily basis. Those months caused me to realize just how much I love reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic, not to mention photography. Late last year I hit upon the idea of writing another book, to be titled SSS: Southwest Succulent Staycation. I would explore finding succulents in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah. Those four states pretty much take in the southwest United States.

The problem I immediately ran into is that they are four big states. It’s not like the northeast where you could go to eight or nine states all in a week or less. To explore these four big states and get appropriate material for my book would take a year or two. Just finding the places that I need to visit already has taken all of January, and I’m nowhere near finished.

When I have a significant problem to work on, I take a nap. These are not your normal naps, though, because I don’t fall asleep. The problem weighs on my mind. It’s kind of like daydreaming.

A couple of days ago I took a nap in order to work on this problem and came up with what I think is a brilliant idea.

There’s no doubt that a book covering succulents in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah is going to be a pretty big book, taking a pretty long time to complete, and costing a pretty penny.

My nap showed me that I could make four books, and instead of huge 8½x8½ books or larger, I could make “pocket books” (4.25″ x 6.75″) which would be better for actually using them during your staycation. The pocket books would cost less money and provide me with something to do immediately since I can easily create California’s book starting today.

My Nature’s Geometry: Succulents book has landed me on the cactus & succulent club speaking circuit, and publishing four more books instead of one book would keep me on the circuit. Second and third editions could keep me going for many years, and having five books to sell instead of one or two keeps clubs happy. They like variety, having choices.

I also can work on four books simultaneously since I do have enough pictures from all four states to give me a good start. Working on four books, traveling on the speaking circuit, and traveling to get pictures of places I have not been definitely could keep the depression at bay.

Of course, I would miss my husband and Little Queen Olivia while I was traveling. The lazy ass cat will never know I’m gone….

Little Queen Olivia