Call it a math coincidence — I don’t think it was. It was just TOO close, in my mind. As Jen said, it WAS amazing. It means something. The moment I hit the equals sign and saw that the dollar amount matched up, and the cents were just a dime and two pennies off (I had .12 remaining, for the record) I actually laughed. I should clarify, I wasn’t trying to match the amounts, I was just adding all of my random expenses since November, charges that came up here and there that I didn’t closely monitor beyond saving my receipts for one final tally. I figured I would just claim the amount that I could and the rest would come out of my own purse. But everything was perfectly covered.
I could very easily approach this post from a spiritual angle. This little episode occurred in the midst of some fairly stressful times. As I mentioned in yesterday’s comic, I’ve been looking for a job with no luck. I’ve had to put my graphic novel career on hold while I get all this figured out, and I’ve begun to question whether or not comics are even a viable pursuit any more. Much like the Bea in Picket Line, I have started feeling pretty lost. So, it was a blessing just to remember I had grant funds remaining, but then to find that all of my expenses had been covered, well, it reminded me that I’m being cared for. That someone is looking out for me. I really believe that.
I told Zech about the receipts and he said, “You should write a blog post called ‘My two cents.’” When Zech suggests I blog about something, it’s usually a good idea, so I’m doing it. My Twelve Cents. I thought about what that might mean, and when I realized how encouraging my receipt-experience had been, I had an idea. More encouragement! Twelve Cents. For each cent, a fact I would be wise to remember, as I feel like I am out to sea.
1. God provides. See the above paragraphs and comic. Skeptics will say that I am reaching for meaning here, and that’s fine. It’s a very personal feeling that I am bothering to share here. Of course I may still end up down and out, but it hasn’t happened yet.
2. I published a graphic novel. I took a chance, quit my job, and followed my dream. I had no reason to believe that my first sketches would turn into the finished product that I am now quite proud of, but I had no real reason to doubt it either. It was a huge amount of work, but I did it, and I will do it again.
3. I won a Xeric grant. This generous gift did more than fund production of my book, it was validation. It blew to smithereens my concerns that I was an amateur, my doubts that I had any real talent, my faith that anything good could come of something I enjoyed so much. In twenty years I don’t know how many submissions have passed through the Xeric foundation, but I do know that they saw something in mine.
4. I have more stories in me. Oaks is written, and a good amount of it is illustrated. I have another story outlined, and yet another taking form in my head. That’s to say nothing of the hundreds of other stories and characters that are floating around in my mind. I feel like I was born to write and draw stories.
5. I have amazing friends. This includes my friends in Portland, my friends in Wisconsin, my friends in Philly, my awesome roommate, the Friendship Club, my Downton Abbey girls, my Imago Arts and IPRC buds, and so many more. Helping to spread the word about my book, helping to set up for a reading, helping with nearly anything I could think to ask for help with. Not to mention so much incredible talent among them, I am constantly inspired. (Rather than overwhelming you with links here, look for some highlights in the weeks to come.)
6. I have amazing family. Everything in item 5, and then some. My family has seen the best of me, but also the worst of me, and they are always loving, always supporting, and always encouraging. And also phenomenally talented. (I will link here to my sister, my brother, and my brother-in-law.)
7. I have amazing fans. Your messages, comments, and tweets put a smile on my face every time. An actor needs an audience, a musician needs listeners, and a cartoonist needs readers. You guys help me to feel that what I do has meaning, that there is some value in all of these doodles.
8. I live in one of the raddest cities in the world. Portland, Oregon, when will I tire of you? You are beautiful, you are affordable, and you are overflowing with good food, good art, good music, and good people (and when I say “good” I obviously mean amazing but I don’t want to overuse the word.) You are just the right size, your neighborhoods are each so unique, and you let people be exactly who they are.
9. I have the best boyfriend in the world. I don’t want to gross you out, but it’s true. This month marks two years together. You might enjoy revisiting his first appearance in this comic, from one of the first times we hung out. You can also thank him for this post (or blame him!)
10. I got to do what I loved for 2 uninterrupted years. 2 full years! This was thanks to some crazy saving on my part, but also thanks to a gift from my Grandma Wieder, who passed away a few months before I started writing Picket Line. She was always so supportive of her grandkids, and I have no doubt she would have been so pleased to know that she helped me go after my dream. My book is dedicated to her.
11. I have my health. Yep.
12. I have a passion, and I know what it is. I don’t write all of the above to boast or brag, although I’m sure it might come across that way. It was a little bit of a self-pep-talk, but also an invitation for you to do the same. What are some things in your life that make it hard to deny you have a purpose? What are the things you loved to do when you were a kid? How have you beat the odds? What are you stubborn about? What makes you feel fully alive? When I was a little kid I loved comics. I guess nothing has changed =)