In anticipation of a bit of a hiatus from blogging (and everything else I usually do), there's one thing I've been wanting to write about. Well, actually two things. One is a new book called "Work/Life 3." And the other is an old book called "The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes."
"When the first edition of Work/Life was published back in 2008, UPPERCASE was a fledgling publishing house. In 2009, our eponymous quarterly magazine was born, growing into a celebrated publication with readers around the world. In 2011, the second edition of Work/Life was released and featured 100 international illustrators. It was met with much enthusiasm, not only from art and illustration buyers who appreciated the book's quality content and curated talent, but also from other illustrators and aspiring artists who were inspired by the stories shared within. [...] The Work/Life series has developed into something even greater than a promotional publication—these books are educational, inspirational and beautiful; books that have value beyond just a directory of talent."
And a few months later, I received Work/Life 3 - a very cool compilation showcasing 100 illustrators from around the world: not just samples of their work, but stories and images from their lives. (Take a look!)
But more on that later. For now, back to September 2013 and the aforementioned Country Bunny.
Already this reminds me of myself - not that I ever wanted to be an Easter Bunny, but of the way I used to have far-flung aspirations of greatness.
This panel from a comic strip I drew in about 2002 shows me being put in my place, not by a couple of jack rabbits, but by my own older, wiser (?) self.
Wait and see...
Anyway, it turns out that auditions are being held for the post of Easter Bunny (one of five - apparently there are actually five of them, since it's a pretty big job), and Mrs. Bunny heads out with her children to watch the contest (again - where's Mr. Bunny?!). She ends up impressing the "old, kind, wise, Grandfather Bunny" who is doing the choosing. He wonders if she could possibly be swift enough for the job, but she proves herself by sending her children hopping off in all directions...
But what really struck me was that it was a story of female empowerment. At a time when many women weren't even allowed to work - at least not in the careers of their choice - the Country Bunny takes her twenty-one children to the job interview and gets the job, without apparently even consulting her spouse, much less receiving his permission!
Yes, the absence of Mr. Bunny really surprises me. Either he's working up in Fort Mac, or he's out of the picture completely. But whatever the case, the Country Bunny doesn't seem to be suffering from it. She's completely independent. And she's complex: realistic, but still harbouring dreams.
You'd think that the story of a lady who puts aside her childhood dreams while raising her family, and then goes on to have a brilliant career after the kids are old enough to look after themselves, sounds like a story that would resonate with readers today. It is amazing this feminist-friendly book was written in 1939, and not only that, written by a man. DuBose Heyward (pictured here) was the startlingly ahead-of-his-time South Carolina writer who penned this little tale.
Would I have chosen to start a very fun and exciting new career in the same year I was having a baby, if I'd had a choice? No! But am I still loving every minute of this balancing act? Well, yes, although typing this with my left hand while nursing Henry at 1 AM is not exactly the ideal scenario for work or life. But since it is actually what I'm doing, I'm going to wrap this up and go off in hopes of getting some sleep. Happy Easter!