Cookie Russo (left) and I met at Camp Chinqueka as young girls–eight and ten. We were drawn to each other back then and re-united when Cookie found me at Mount Holyoke College where she entered a year after me. Our friendship re-ignited living in the same dorm and choosing the same major–Studio Art. So, I’ve known Cookie longer and better than any other friend, which I cherish.

Not surprisingly, Cookie (or Marisabina as she’s known professionally) created a successful business out of her art background. She has become a very successful author/illustrator of children’s books. At lunch on Saturday she gifted me with a hot-off-the-press copy of A Very Big Bunny and told me how she got inspired for this most recent publication.

When donating her time for an unrelated community art project Cookie meticulously painted the first two sections of her entry. Then, noting the time, quickly finished it off with a flourish, but little concentration. That last piece, so fluidly done, was the bunny’s face. It caught the eye of an editor who fell in love with its simplicity and became completely captivated. A Very Big Bunny was born out of that gesture made without planning or expectation.

I love this story! How many times do we labor over an apostrophe or comma only to then dash off a paragraph that effortlessly captures our essence and communicates it to the world? I’m a huge believer in doing what you love and letting go of the results. Cookie couldn’t have planned this better than it came out. She was doing what she was born to do, worked really hard at contributing a piece of her talent, let go at the end and achieved a greater success than she could have dreamt up.

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