Last year, I faced the turning of my years from 36 to 37 with humour. How many of you recall the scene in Monty Python Quest for the Holy Grail where Arthur has a conversation with Dennis the peasant. “I’m not old, I’m 37” Dennis retorts after being called old by his King. Well. I’m now 38 and wish I could still reference that scene when confronting my age.
Awe, well time passes. I was reminded of this yesterday as I listened to Chris Oatley’s artcast where he spoke to Robert Simon’s https://chrisoatley.com/robert-simons/. One of the things that struck me was the age of these two very successful storytellers. I started to dwell on the fact that until about 7 years ago I started working more seriously at the craft side of illustrating. The fear that sprung up in my thinking is that I’ve missed so much time at the drawing board that I have missed a window in which to develop my potential as a visual creator. I think this is compounded by dwelling on the 10,000 hrs required to become masterful at something.
Age and time are against me it seems. I can’t fault myself for the choices I’ve made in where I’ve invested my time over the past 7 years. I’ve poured considerably into my children, my relationship with my wife and the other important relationships around me; to the best of my ability. Those hrs maybe matter more in the long run. They most certainly do if I consider them in relationship to my idea of what a successful life looks like. Nonetheless, the distance I feel from where I think I should be as a creator and where I am currently, stings.
Having Our 1984 closer to realization hasn’t seemed to lessen this sting any. The cold fact is that Our 1984 is one tiny piece in fulfilling the dream of one day being a full time storyteller. I need to qualify this, I do an awful lot of storytelling in my work at Pulp Studios Inc. and I’m grateful for that, but there is an unquenchable thirst to tell my own stories through children’s books, novels and graphic novels. This just won’t go away, and so, I have chosen to face it head on. Face it with the skill I currently possess, such as it is, and try to make a way to the other side of the fence one day.
In reflection and conversation with my wife and fellow creatives, I think it is highly possible that the stories I want to tell would possibly not have been feasible when I was younger. In spite of my belly aching about time, I have grown as a creator. Also, my maturity level has increased (for those who know me, you may laugh at that, I hear your mocking chuckles) and my understanding and distillation of what I want to say is far more clear.
I have resolved to just continue to push myself in spite of time, age and self doubt. Insert smart proverb about “Do or do not, there is no try.” or whatever. Bottom line, I won’t quit and I’ll continue to hold my dreams tight and water those suckers until they grow.