enjoy the rain

28 Dec

Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, at the worst possible time and in the worst possible way. ~ Murphy’s Law


Moments after receiving my very first really big illustration assignment — a semi-rush job — the phone rang again. This time, it was the supervisor of my (despised) day job calling to tell me to pack my bags, I was being flown to Baltimore for the weekend. The spread I’d just been assigned was due on Monday. But now, rather than happily spending the weekend in my cozy studio painting my first big splashy professional spread, I was going to be sitting in coach en route to Baltimore, where I had to work a silly trade show. Why, Universe? Why, why, why, why, WHY?!!!

My brain spontaneously combusted on the spot.

I packed my paint pots and my sour attitude and hit the road, completing the assignment in the wee hours at the Baltimore Hampton Inn. Did I make the deadline? Yes. Did the art look great? Well… yes! Did I enjoy the experience?

What kind of question is that? Of course I did not enjoy the experience. I should have been able to enjoy it, but Fate stepped in to make sure that I would be miserable instead. I was stressed beyond belief, and exhausted. If memory serves, I caught a really nasty cold on the plane coming home, so I had an irritating two-week reminder of the whole awful experience. Thanks a lot, Universe.

That was seventeen years ago.

Since then, Universe has not stopped trying to thwart my efforts to make my deadlines. All manner of interferences have cropped up. Exploding hard drives. Feverish children. Hurricanes. (Did you know, when you live on an island, you and everyone else on yours and all surrounding islands — and all residents of the state of Florida, to your south — are forced, at the mere threat of a hurricane, to evacuate, all at the same time, on the same highway? Even when you are racing against an impossible deadline, making art for a 32-page picture book out of cut tissue paper. Oh, yes.)


Last summer, while I was in the middle of a pressing four-book deadline, my family decided to move! On Life’s List of Traumatic Experiences, moving is number two, just below death of a spouse. It’s a big deal.

Did I make the deadline? Yes. Did the art look great? Youbethcha.

Here’s the million dollar question: Did I enjoy the experience?

Quite a bit, actually. It was tumultuous, but fun.

It’s taken almost two decades, Class, but I have finally accepted the fact that the world will never be a perfect place. Trouble waits around every corner. Here’s the trick: refuse to let it bother you.

It’s not sunny all of the time, so buy an umbrella that’s so cute you can’t wait to use it, and some adorable water-proof boots. Either that, or learn to enjoy getting wet.

One handful of peaceful response is better than two fistfuls of worried work.  Ecclesiastes 4:6, The Message (Eugene Peterson)

2 Responses to “enjoy the rain”

  1. rebeccabradley January 15, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

    Next time you’re in Baltimore- TELL ME !! xx

  2. violetlemay January 15, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

    Rebecca, I had no idea that you were in Baltimore! It’s funny because in recent years, many (most?) of my clients happen to be from Baltimore. But I’ve never been there, except for the one awful weekend mentioned above.


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