The other night I was going back through my blog feed and pulled up an article about Pete Carroll, the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks. While football isn’t a sport I have any overwhelming interest in, I was immediately intrigued by Carroll’s leadership philosophy: try hard, do your best, preparation, practice. Those are things that I try to incorporate into my life every day. But the thing that stood out to me the most was his optimism, particularly because that’s an area where I admittedly do not always excel. Carroll said that his mom told him to always believe that something good is about to happen, and that anecdote immediately went into my notebook. Because why not? Why not believe that something good is about to happen? Sometimes I try to temper my expectations thinking that it will somehow save me from disappointment. But I think Carroll’s outlook is clearly better, and I decided to try harder to embrace this philosophy in my own life.
Then yesterday morning, in one of my favorite recent coincidences, I woke up to find an email in my inbox from Janine Vangool at UPPERCASE magazine. She emailed to say that she was including my photograph and short watercolor essay in her weekly newsletter. Needless to say, I was honored and thrilled.
"Sometimes I wonder how I managed to fall in love with watercolours because they often feel untameable. Unmanageable. I have always been fairly risk-averse, yet it is a risk every time I drop a brush full of colour down into water. Each wash of colour can bring failure or success or a million variations in between. As the colours slowly – or far too quickly – creep and spread across the paper, I learn again and again, painting by painting, that I can't control everything. Overworking and meddling will bring nothing but dull, muddled washes and disappointment. But the combination of water, paper, and clear, bright colour can also lead to unexpected and, if I’m lucky, magical things. Yes, failure is possible. Risk is inherent. But I am learning that it is all worth it. Painting with watercolour brings no guarantees, but as Samuel Beckett famously wrote: No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
And so, I continue to try again."
So... I went to bed on Monday night believing that something good was about to happen, and then... something did. Coincidence? Ok, sure. But embracing a bit of optimism certainly isn't going to hurt anything. And as I stated in the essay, if not, I'll just try again.