Mystery Ink: Keep Going Even After Failure

Drink Mixes & Miracle Grow on Watercolor Paper
Words: John F Kennedy

The prompt for our twenty-seventh week of our calligraphy challenge was to write with a liquid – a mystery ink – that we have never used before. I had fun trying lots of things – lighter fluid, gasoline, ramen noodle mix, pickle juice – all to no visible result. So I moved on to plan B, our pantry. I dug out our drink mixes – grape, fruit punch, orange, lemonade, even Hawaiian Punch Blueberry – then added Miracle Grow from our greenhouse. I had the original idea to use the drink mixes to make flowers; as you can see I went a completely different direction. I found this quote and thought it fit perfectly with the idea of using a non-traditional “ink”. The main letters were written with grape, the splotches were the other mixes, finally I sprinkled miracle grow wet and in crystal form on all the lettering. When knew you could create art with a drink mix.

This week I was reminded to keep going even when things fail. I was a bit discouraged when my first five or six attempts at a mystery liquid didn’t work, like at all. Nothing spectacular, nothing special, in a couple cases nothing to see once it dried. A huge bummer. So I paused and let myself regroup.

Several hours later I had the idea to check our pantry. I saw the drink mixes and knew they had not been utilized in months. I didn’t think, I didn’t let my past failures prevent me from being enthusiastic, I jumped in and got started. I tried to execute my original idea (flowers) and soon let that go as well. Once I allowed myself to be myself I was very pleased with the end result. Below you can see what my table looked like while I was working things out.

In the midst of change and disappointment it is natural to want to stop and rest. That’s reasonable and wise. The challenge is to not let your thoughts linger on what didn’t happen and instead focus on what can happen. Take a deep breath then get moving. Even if the next attempt isn’t exactly what you want, keep moving, keep trying and don’t stop until you get a result you can be proud to share. I learned that lesson from our leftover drink mixes. Who knows what our next challenge holds…I can’t wait.

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