Friday, June 17, 2016
MESSING UP HABITUALLY by Susan Harris
The maxim drummed in my ear, a refrain that was indefensible. Over and over it revved in my brain, Once is a mistake. Twice is a pattern. Three times is a habit. And over and over I wondered why I never thought of it it until this week.
Why didn’t I include Smokey’s picture in my picture farm books? The last sentence of the last page of each book reads, “She got the idea for this book while playing with her kitten, Smokey, who was also born on the farm.” And below the line is a picture of my other picture book, Little Copper Pennies for Kids. Not of Smokey.
In the English edition of Alphabet on The Farm, K is for Kitten. Instead of the orange kitten, I could have used Smokey’s picture. Twice.
Search Quotes (dot com) was relentless. “You can’t make the same mistake twice. The second time you make it, it’s no longer a mistake, it’s a choice. Deal with the consequences!”
That was in 2104. When the French edition, L'alphabet à la ferme, was released this year, the last sentence of the last page was the same, except in French.
In the French edition, the letter C first featured Chevre (goat) but I immediately thought that a kitten should be there and so “C comme Chaton” replaced the Chevre and the little orange kitten smiled out of the page.
Wretched me. Why wasn’t the chaton Smokey?
English Stack (dot com) further conspired against me, ably using the second language to underscore my faux pas. “In French, there is the expression "jamais deux sans trois" (literally: "never twice without a third [time]").”
Except I had eleven times to my credit if I considered the proofs. Oh la la! I did not possess the stop-before-the-habit-is-formed gene so now I had to face the consequences.
My feeble attempt to redeem my error to immortalize my cat in publishing is the fact that today, June 17, he is appearing on CTV at a local branch in Yorkton where I live. This video I intend to embed on YouTube. Another endeavor is a poster ordered from Vistaprint which I will hang on a prominent wall in our house. On June 21 he will attend the book launch of L'alphabet à la ferme at St. Henry’s Elementary School in Melville, a French Immersion school. He has been invited to Christian Club’s ladies meeting in August and I will take him.
Smokey loves our garage and is staying there (and not in the house due to my allergies) for his star appearances. A double car garage all to himself and who knows for how long. Meanwhile, my beloved CRV is parked in the open driveway, in thunderstorm and rain, at risk to hail. The lawn tractor had been ousted to the back yard, with the consolation of shelter of the cover of the barbecue grill that is too small for it. And the grill and tank gets wet and dry alternately.
Once is a mistake. Twice is a pattern. Three times is a habit. Eleven must be for redemption.
Susan Harris is the author of nine books. Stories about Smokey are featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul and in 10½ Sketches: Insights on Being Successful Right Where You Are . The story of how Smokey became a house pet and inspired Susan’s writings can be read in a free download of How Not to Kidnap a Cat at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RNV3P10
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