I'm closing a door on January today. I always look forward to it's promise of new starts. This year however, it was a tough month, as I worked through a book deadline, had to get a tooth crowned and also succumbed to some respiratory nastiness. As a freelancer, you would think it's an easy decision to languish in bed and nurse a cold. No boss to check in with, right? I'm the boss! True enough, but it is also true that I am solely responsible for work completed. When I’m sick, the work still has to get done. It is more common to find me down in the studio, stooped over the keyboard, coughing and sneezing, with a mug of Throat-Coat in hand, rather than snuggled under the covers! Being sick is no fun at all, but the show must go on.
One of my favorite Beatrix Potter titles, “The Tailor of Gloucester”, published in 1902, takes a fantasy of many a freelancer, and runs with it. It's the story of a poor tailor who eeks a humble living, then finally receives a grand commission- a fancy waistcoat for the wedding of the Mayor of Gloucester. Soon after the commission, the tailor falls ill and becomes bed-ridden. He is too sick to sew. It looks like the coat will not be finished for the mayor. But, all is not lost in Beatrix Potter's world of animal friends around every corner. The mice that live in the tailor's studio take pity on him, and while the tailor lies sick in bed, they take it upon themselves to finish the waistcoat. A happy ending, as the tailor expects to be ruined by the unfinished work, but instead, upon returning to his shop after he recovers, discovers the coat, exquisitely completed.
Oh, how I wish I could train mice to finish up projects for me in times of illness! And I certainly know a few cats (and squirrels) that owe me, too!