I'm just back from a glorious vacation with Beloved. I have stories to tell you, but they'll have to wait. For now, enjoy re-reading the story of my friend, Annie. She's an artist.
One of Annie's projects happened once a year, sort of like Christmas or your birthday. Annie had worked on this project for a few years and she was noticing that it was less fulfilling every year. But Annie stuck with it because she thought she could make the project work. Annie was that kind of girl.
Annie The Artist
Illustrations by Cynthia Heininger
Once upon a time, there was an Artist named Annie.
Annie worked on lots of nifty arts projects. Sometimes she sang, sometimes she danced,sometimes she taught other people how to sing and dance. Annie truly loved her work, no matter what kind of project she was working on. Sure, some projects were better than others, but Annie always made the best of the situation. She was that kind of girl.
One day, Annie became so frustrated, she yelled at the people working on the project with her. Annie doesn't like to yell. That felt yucky. Annie went home and drank a bottle of wine. That felt better. But Annie knew that wasn't the best solution. Annie was that kind of girl.
When the project ended that year, Annie knew she had to find a gracious way to let go of it. She couldn't think of a good way out, so she decided to think about it later. That was smart of Annie. She had time on her side. But, Annie forgot to remember how yucky the project felt. Oh, Annie's Gut was trying to tell her, but Annie didn't listen to her Gut. So when the time to start the project again, Annie had forgotten both of those things and she decided to do the project for one more year. Annie's gut screamed, “NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!!!!” Annie The Artist told her gut to shut up. Annie made mistakes some times. She was that kind of girl.
The time came for Annie The Artist to start working on the Once-A-Year-Not-So-Fulfilling Project (Annie thought giving the project a funny name would help her get through it. Right). Every once in a while, Annie would get that feeling in her Gut, but she ignored it. Then one day, Annie got some bad news about the project. Annie stood in the middle of her studio and did a silent scream. Then she called Mr. Producer of the Once-A-Year-Not-So-Fulfilling Project and said, “Out! I want out!” Okay, Annie's too nice to talk like that. Annie said, “I don't think I can do this project this year. There are too many difficulties. I'm sorry to tell you at such a late date. I am sure Arthur The Artist will be glad to do it for you.” Mr. Producer said, “Annie, this is bad timing. Why didn't you tell me about this sooner? We don't want Arthur The Artist, we want YOU.” Annie felt conflicted. She was that kind of girl.
Annie also felt terrible from her head to her tippy toes. She had made every mistake she could possibly make, including the worst mistake of them all – IGNORING HER GUT. But feeling terrible helped Annie put her smarts back on. Once Annie made a mistake, she could usually figure a successful way out. She was that kind of girl.
She told Mr. Producer she would think have to think about all of this and that she would get back to him. Instead of obsessing about the project, Annie decided to take a vacation from the project. She sang, she danced and she did her best to forget about it for the rest of the day. Finally! Annie was getting her act together. She was that kind of girl.
The next morning, after a good night's rest, Annie The Artist woke up, ate breakfast and went to her computer. She wrote a sensible, professional email to Mr. Producer, laying out the difficulties of the project, acknowledging her failures and laying out the circumstances she needed to go forward. She read the email once, twice, three times and then she walked away. She swept the floor and then she returned to her computer and sent the email. Annie immediately felt better. In fact, she felt so good, she went to the grocery store and she left her smartphone at home! She was that kind of girl.
By the time Annie came back, Mr. Producer had written a response. After a few more emails, Annie and he were able to find a way forward that works for everybody. But that's not the end of the story.
Annie The Artist will work on the project again this year, with better conditions. She'll let go of her mistakes and focus on creating the best project possible. If Mr. Producer calls again next year, she'll graciously say no and tell him all about her wonderful colleague Arthur The Artist.
Annie The Artist also received a gift from this um, situation. The gift? The revelation that every creative project she takes on has to have two of the following three qualities – artistic fulfillment, personal connection and a good paycheck. Annie had received this gift before, but not wrapped up like this one. Even though she had to go through some yucky stuff to receive this gift, Annie is very grateful. She is that kind of girl.
AND, Annie The Artist was reminded, once again, to listen to her Gut.
THAT'S the end of the story.