“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?'”
–George Bernard Shaw

The smell of beer and party sweat still lingered in the air of that old dayroom. The chill morning air and the glimmer of sunrise danced through the open window–both passing by with barely an acknowledgment from me. Focused. Determined. I poured myself into my work. Well, “play” would actually be a better term for it, and therapy would be a close second. I pressed on and didn’t even notice when the Chief entered the room.

He settled his massive frame into a chair near the television and propped his head back against the wall. A sigh spilled forth from his huge lungs. I glanced up from my work as he rolled his eyes over in my direction. A few more weeks until he retired, and you could see the change creeping into his body…and drowning his spirit.

“Son, do you have a dream?”

A simple question. I had a small window of opportunity coming up soon–a second chance at one of my dreams. A few weeks from now would be a test of strength, speed and endurance that stood between me and the career I longed for. I peeked over at the crutches propped up against the wall beside me. Then I glanced to the swollen, blue-green tinted flesh that used to be a perfectly good ankle. I could feel how trampled my hopes were deep inside. I hung my head and just let the feelings overwhelm me for a moment.

But something grabbed hold of my hope and pulled it to safety. My work…my play…my therapy. On my lap sat a notebook filled with scribbles and blurbs of text. I flipped through it to see character descriptions, story ideas, sketches, poems, song lyrics, one-liners, memorable bits of dialogue I’d heard…and more. It was all right there, and it was something I’d always gone to for fun and to escape the stress of the day. I remembered telling campfire stories to my friends as a kid. I cherished a few memories of sitting with my friends and putting together our own comic book stories. I thought back about how eager I always was to do writing assignments in school. I recalled the day I was forced into making some kind of career decision and giving up on struggling down the path of writing. But I never really gave it up, did I?

I looked over to the Chief. “Yeah, I have a dream.”

“Good. Don’t ever let it die. See it through and don’t be one of those guys looking back on their lives and wondering what the hell happened to all their dreams.”


You’re a dreamer. You know it, and I know it. You have to be…it’s part of the job. Whether you dream up stories, envision the shapes and lines of exotic locales and people, walk through all the lights and shadows of a scene, or dance through color schemes in your mind, you bring to life dreams on a regular basis. You probably also dream of making a career out of this, but that can be a struggle most of the time.

Any number of obstacles can stand in your way, but you can reach your goal…as long as you don’t let your dream die. If you dream of creating entertaining stories, it needs to consume you and be the motivating factor to carry you through the troublesome times. But some people hold back on their dreams. Maybe they’re embarrassed by what they enjoy working on–afraid of what others might think. Maybe the fear turns another way, and they constantly wonder if they’re good enough. Maybe they can’t deal with rejection or criticism or all the work involved with promoting themselves and their work. Maybe…just maybe…they don’t really want it at all, and they’re doing it just because they think it would be neat or cool. Writers, do you sit there at a restaurant having dinner with family or friends and suddenly turn a misheard phrase into some crazy story about Viking fish? And do you immediately share it with the people around it or do you hide it? Artists, do you find yourself compelled to sketch all the time? Do you find yourself filling sketchbooks, book margins, napkins, old bill envelopes, walls, and anything that could pass for a writing surface with line after line whenever you don’t have to be working on something else?

Do you hold onto your dream to create comics because you love to create comics…or do you hold onto the dream thinking you’ll get a little prestige one day if you keep at it? Search deep down inside yourself and find out what you really want to do…and then do it! The only thing stopping you is…you. If the dream consumes you, you’ll practice and train and hone your abilities. You’ll keep at it day after day no matter what…because you love to do it. Find your dream…and don’t ever let it die.