What Bill Watterson Said

Railroad Tracks

The wonderful thing about Twitter is that it exposes me to things that I might not normally make contact with. Sometimes that can be  a curse, but much of the time it’s a blessing.

Someone linked to a Slate article about this blog, particularly the Bill Watterson entry. Gavin Aung Than is a freelance cartoonist and for this blog, he takes inspirational quotes and turns them into cartoons. For the Bill Watterson quote, which was taken from a speech he did at Kenyon College in 1990, Mr. Than drew the cartoon in the style of Mr. Watterson (and did a pretty fabulous job, if you ask me, which no one did, but I’m saying it anyway).

Combining the essence of Calvin and Hobbes with a solid, meaningful quote is a great way to speak to me and this little bit did. It’s basically saying what I’ve been struggling with for the past six years in pursuing my life as a writer. I’m viewed as a failure because I’m not out to get that brass ring everyone’s heard tell about. I’m not doing it the way I’m supposed to.

I use my living situation, which most would cite as an example of failure, to my advantage so I can work my “not real” jobs to pay my bills while affording me the time I want to write. I did the same thing when I had a “real job” at Wal-Mart, only working part-time, refusing promotions and such so I could keep my writing time. When I took my last “real job”, the full-time deal in a cube, I really wasn’t feeling it, partially because my writing time was significantly cut down.

People thought I was terrible for quitting that last job. It was a “good” job. And it was a good job. But it wasn’t MY good job.

It’s my life and I want to do it my way and unfortunately, my way isn’t THE way, and I’d like people living THE way not to freak out about it so much. We all gotta run our own railroads.

Just like the comic. He quit the job that wasn’t fulfilling him to make model T-Rex’s and be a stay-at-home dad. That’s not MY life. Painting models and raising kids isn’t the train track I wanna be running on, but I totally get that sentiment.

And please, don’t bring up the whole “paying the bills” end of this scenario. “Not everyone can quick their jobs and ART!” (Seriously, every third comment on the Slate article I didn’t link to for just that reason was like this. Every second comment was bitching about how it was an insult to people who ARE ambitious and WANT that kind of life and, oh for fuck’s sake, go sit down somewhere because you’re insistence on missing the point is irritating). First of all, I PAY my bills and I’ve paid them since I was fifteen. And no matter what situation I’m in, bills getting paid comes first. Bills getting paid coming first is the important part of this scenario.

But I try to do it in such a way that was more fulfilling to me.

Kinda like I’m doing right now.

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