Interviewing the cartoonist Jules Feiffer on the Diane Rhems show–a ghost writer for the Spirit and a famous political cartoonist, among other things–he uttered a sentiment that I recognized immediately–"Everything that I did that I found that I loved doing and had meaning, I stumbled into."
Lord, ain’t that the truth!
I didn’t know I wanted to be an artist. I took an art class, at my mother’s urging, and fell desperately in love, despite everything.* I didn’t know I wanted to be a cartoonist. I definitely didn’t know I wanted to be a children’s book author. I got my agent on the flimsiest of chances, with no book, no nothing.
I have a vague feeling that I will be one of those people who, at age sixty, discover some great passion previously undreamt of, and I’ll end my days as an authority on javelina-keeping or whatever.
I have no real point to this post except to say that the only reason one should plan out one’s life is if one is looking for comic relief later.
*And I honestly think, had my drawing teacher been encouraging, I might not have continued. That she was contemptuous of my commercial ambitions and cliche subject matter while grudgingly appreciative of my talent made me work like a goddamn dog. Spite was always one of my great motivators. To this day, I wonder if she was a good enough teacher to recognize that, or if fate just threw together two grating personality types, and she was merely a good enough teacher to be grudgingly appreciative and reasonably good-humored about it.
She died some years ago–she was quite old, and had fought off cancer once already–and I regret that I never had an opportunity to send her one of my graphic novels, with a note somewhere between "HA!" and "Thank you." So, thank you, Gabrielle Ellertson. And, uh…HA!