Friday, April 11, 2014
J is for Jaguar: Lessons from a Little Artist on Loving Your Work
When my toddler developed a passion for coloring, I was thrilled to find this product after several attempts to clean purple crayon off my window, which I assure you is not as easy as it sounds and also not as cute as the beloved childhood story Harold and the Purple Crayon would make it seem. Little Miss received a Dora the Explorer Color Wonder book for Christmas, complete with a set of Mommy's miracle markers, as I like to call them, and she has been hard at work coloring ever since.
There is one particular picture which features her all-time favorite Dora the Explorer character, Baby Jaguar. Today is not the day to do an in-depth character analysis on Baby Jaguar, but suffice it to say that he's all-around awesome in every way. Each day for months, my sweet girl has said, "Color Baby Jaguar," in a tone of voice that is teeming with focus and determination. She colors Baby Jaguar morning, noon, and night. Sometimes she'll even wake up in the middle of the night, stand up in her crib and declare that though it's 3:41 am, it is indeed time to, "Color Baby Jaguar."
Baby Jaguar has evolved significantly over these past months. He used to be a colorful hodgepodge of a thing, but now he has been colored so much that he is actually starting to disappear, sort of like a ghost. See?
Every day I'm sure this masterpiece must be finished. And every day, I'm proven wrong when my girl finds a way to improve upon her picture just a little more. I imagine that this will eventually become a sort of Sistine Chapel scenario, only perhaps even more amazing, because I'm pretty sure Michelangelo started when he was well out of diapers.
Kidding of course. I'm really not sure what's next for poor Baby Jaguar. A hole in the paper, maybe? The point is, it's inspiring to see how dedicated and enthusiastic my little artist is about her work. She has worked on this thing for hours, yet she can't wait to get back to it. She approaches this project with a seemingly endless supply of joy and diligence.
I've been thinking about Baby Jaguar a lot as I've been editing my manuscript for its January 2015 release. There are times when I feel like I've gotten an editing note just right. Then I'll walk away, think about it some more, and decide there's room for another tweak or two. The editing process has only just begun, and I know it's going to be a long haul. I just hope I can tackle my work daily with the same enthusiasm that I've seen go into the masterpiece that is Baby Jaguar. Perhaps it would serve us all well to take this approach today.