Our Life in The Arts

Questions, reality, and musings on a life of joy and wonder

Vol. 2, No. 9

September 9, 2022

Rainy Days

By Rich Holly

As a child, I recall not being fond of rainy days, since they meant that I couldn’t go outside to play (bringing mud in the house was a no-no). During the period of my career when I was playing 100+ gigs each year I never wanted it to rain on any of those days – driving in the rain, loading and unloading in the rain, finding parking and walking back to the venue…all were reasons I disliked the rain.

Here’s the great Karen Carpenter singing a now-classic song about rainy days:

And while I still don’t like having gigs on rainy days, overall, I’ve learned to truly appreciate a rainy day. And not just for the beauty it brings to plants, but more so for the mood it creates. I nearly always feel reflective and move at a slower pace on rainy days.

I believe we all hear people say (and have likely said ourselves) that a rainy day makes us feel like curling up on the couch with a good book. And while that’s rarely the case for how I spend time on rainy days, I do find myself – even on a full work-day – taking advantage of that kind of feeling. I’ll read more than I would otherwise, I’ll think (or dream, as I like to say) of what new actions I can take, and sometimes even start to plan toward that dream.

Let’s talk about reading for a moment. By now I’m sure you’ve heard or read reports on the importance of reading to children, to get children to be good (great) readers, and so on. Yet reading for adults is just as important. Here’s one of many, many sources that describe the numerous benefits of reading as an adult. I have a decades-long habit of reading at bedtime. I read novels mostly (spy and cop stories are my go-to genres) but also books about music and other arts. On rainy days I read things that are much more specific to my artistry – drumming articles, recording studio tips and insights, entrepreneurial studies for the arts, marketing recommendations, etc. When I then have my next opportunity to drum or work in my studio or promote an event, I start to explore what I’ve recently read to help me move forward in my artistic pursuits.

Rich at the incredible Manifold Recording Studios
(photo credit: Mina Girgis)

For me, dreaming is one of the most important things any human can do. And while I’m sure there are experts who could tell us all about the importance of dreams while we sleep, that’s not what I’m talking about. My kind of dreaming is taking the time to think about “what if…?” and “what would it look like if…?” The slower pace of a rainy day provides the perfect opportunity to take some time to dream about where I want my artistic endeavors to take me.

Just last week I read about a new (to me) phenomenon, which some are calling “quiet quitting.” If you search that phrase, you’ll find loads of news articles about it. In essence, it’s workers who no longer want work to be their central focus, who want to do the minimum necessary to get their job done, so their energies can go more toward family, friends, entertainment, fun, and the like. While that approach would be too drastic for me, I have realized that I need to try to make more days be like a rainy day, even when it’s super-hot and the sun is scorching. The slower pace and the time to read and dream really speak to me, and I am now making a concerted effort to have a rainy day every week, regardless of what Mother Nature delivers.

What do you do on rainy days? Do you slow down? Do you dream about moving your artistry forward, or perhaps in a new direction? What does a slower pace provide to you? What does time for reflection allow you? For me, oddly enough, the slower pace and time for reflection and thought often makes for one of my most productive days.

So take advantage of rainy days, even when there’s no precipitation in sight.

Rich Holly serves Arts NC State and the NC State University community as the Executive Director for the Arts.

All posts in the “Our Life in the Arts” series are available here.