Myth Conceptions – The Road Less Traveled
By Brant W. Fowler
I’ve been reevaluating things of late concerning a number of issues. Am I on the right path? Is this what I want to be doing? And if so, am I going about it the right way? I’ve been asking myself those kinds of questions.
Relating that to comics is very easy. I read on a friend’s blog recently as he attempted to reach out to another friend who is having doubts about his own comic related path and it got me to thinking. I’ve contemplated following my own dreams, or not following them many, many times over the years, and I’ve gone back and forth with them.
I won’t rehash the whole story as I’ve done it here before, but I stepped away from comics for several years following other paths, and I came back. Not because I couldn’t let go of what many consider a childish habit. But because I really do have a genuine love for the medium, and there is no other escape like it. Sure, I love movies and novels as well, and I enjoy hanging out with friends and family. But there’s just something in comics that connected with me early on, and through thick and thin it stuck with me.
For me, this not only applies to comics, but to other passions and dreams in my like as well. But this is a comics column on a comics website, so I’ll stick to the comics for now. But like any other dream, there will always be a battle between reality and the dream; the logical and the emotional. It’s not an easy battle, and not everyone survives the struggle, especially when loved ones are involved.
I wouldn’t recommend to anyone to put your dreams and goals above your friends and family per se. But I also wouldn’t recommend to anyone to lock your dreams away forevermore because of them. I have a lot of talented people in my family. Some are athletes, some are musicians or singers, others are artists, and so forth. Almost none of them are living their dreams, and while they do have some happiness, you can see that bit of emptiness left from unfulfilled dreams. It wasn’t always their choice not to pursue their dreams, but circumstances, fears perhaps, and yes, loved ones taking priority, which is all understandable.
As for me, I vowed early on not to be like that, and that was a bold declaration for one such as me. I was a quiet kid who kept to himself and didn’t socialize a whole lot. I won’t give you the sob story behind all that, but suffice it to say that I wasn’t inclined to open up too much, nor was I apt to show off my talents all too often. But I still set in my mind that I would never allow myself to fall prey to the same things my family did, regardless of whether their reasons for doing so were just or not.
But I did.
Other responsibilities, family, church and other things in my life began to take more and more precedence over my own dreams and goals as I grew. I convinced myself I could put them on hold for a while and come back to them, which is a dangerous trap that far too many people fall into. As time went on I had lost some of the passion I had for those dreams and had persuaded myself to follow the advice of others and take a different, more sensible path. The only problem is I was never happy doing so. And that led to problems.
Fast forward several years and I find myself getting older and opportunities passing, and dreams fading away. I began becoming more and more unhappy. I had some people through the years support my dreams and try to urge me to follow them, but the key people I was listening to in my life at the time were not so supportive, rather the opposite actually.
I then began clinging to little pieces of the dreams, but feeling like it was just a way to stay connected, yet never really fulfill my potential, or my dreams. That wasn’t satisfying enough. I then went through a period where I felt it was too late, as we all do when we’ve waited what we feel is too long.
But then it happened. A glimmer of hope. Just a tiny sliver of light that peaked through to let me know it was still possible. Just an opportunity that turned into two, then three, then kind of spread out from there. And I was on my way to at least approaching one of my many dreams: comics.
Am I where I want to be yet? Not even close. Am I enjoying where I’m at though? Immensely. I’m not making as much money as I have at my last three office jobs, nor do I have benefits or a fancy house or anything like that… yet. But I am far happier than I ever was following a path others set before me that I was never completely comfortable in.
I no longer feel like it’s too late, nor do I listen to the people who tell me to be realistic and that these are pipe dreams. Don’t get me wrong, I would do what I needed to do to support myself, I’m not stupid. But I’m one of the idiots who truly believes I can make a good, comfortable living doing what I love to do, using the talents that God gave me. And I don’t care about the statistics or the logic that says I’m wrong. I know great things can happen if you work hard and really have passion and determination to reach your goals. Without getting too preachy on this pedestal, the Bible says “dreams come through a multitude of business.” And I fully intend to keep reaching and keep applying my craft until my dreams materialize.
Bottom line, if you are truly passionate about working in comics, then you’ll find a way to make it work. Don’t neglect your other responsibilities, or your family. But don’t let that dream die. Because maybe not now, maybe not tomorrow, but someday you will look back on that dream and say “what if?” I’ve been there when I’ve missed certain opportunities, and I never want to experience that feeling again. Just to add to my quotes and clichés, “live life to the fullest”. And as my friend’s blog says, “There is no someday, and tomorrow never comes.”
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
“We are such stuff as dreams are made on…” ~ William Shakespeare, The Tempest