Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Tale of January

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!

The tailor becomes ill...

The mice, who the tailor has been kind to, set about and finish the sick tailor's work

The mice do a splendid job and the tailor goes on to be successful ever after.

My drawing board, with its permanent kleenex fixture



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Judy said...

Hi. A few years ago I reviewed one of your books for my "Green Thumb" column in the Press-Citizen. The illustrations were all about what is beneath the soil, but to be honest, I can't remember the book. I believe I passed it on to my grandson, though somewhere in my things after several moves, I have a lovely card from you thanking me for writing about the book. For next weeks column I wanted to talk about soil. Rather dull but so important and thought if I could mention or describe your book it would give my column some life. My email is below and then I can head to the bookstore or the library.
Thank you.
Judy Terry

Claudia said...

Hi Judy,

Thanks for your note. Dang, I do remember you writing about one of my picture books, and sending you a card, but I don't have a book about soil! So that's a mystery. I wish I could help!

My best,

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