The last two months my heart has ached for something that I could not describe. Unspoken pangs that have driven me to silence. All wants and desires quieted in hopes of finally deciphering this call. Today it all came crashing in. it hurts to finally see. Its’ broken me, in a way I’ve not felt in ages.
I had a dream once of being a comic book artist. Of telling great stories that people love. I’ve dreamed of telling stories since I was a little little kid. And I’ve obsessed about doing it for a living for all of my adult life. Its all I’ve ever thought about. But not always what I have done. In fact, I’m ashamed at how little I’ve done compared to how much I’ve thought about it. My own fault for making it more complicated than it was. I postpone it, thinking next will be a better time. Just this one or two more things to do, then I’ll get started. Its been 10 years of that.
Last night one of my greatest teachers, Mike Wieringo, passed away. I remember when I’d first heard of him, it was a steady stream of people comparing my art style to this ‘Ringo guy. It bothered me, until I read Tellos. He had drawn the kind of story that I longed to draw, only he’d done it better than I could have. And over the years as I came to know more about him, and see more of his work, and understand him as the king of generativity and humbleness he was – I found him to be the artist I most admired. If I could have been any artist in the industry, it was him. And I became humbled by the comparisons. He was not flashy, in fact his work was so subtle and understated that I often overlooked it, until I would try to even come close, then I’d realize the genius that he was.
I’d never spoken to him in person, but I took his every word and work to heart. And I always hoped to some day be his peer. Thats the thing that kills me… I never got to tell him my stories. The stuff that he helped inspire into existence, that I’d always told myself, someday I’ll finish this and march out there to meet him – just to say thanks – and give back to his life the way he’d done to mine. And now its too late.
Its too late.
This is the heartache I’ve been trying to understand these past months. There is no time to waste. My life could end at any moment. And I am terrified that I might die with my stories still in me. I dont’ fear death. Only the death of what I was sent here to do. And now as I strain to see through these tears and struggle just to breathe, I have a new resolve to do what I’ve longed to do. God only knows how long I have. I know I have no time to waste. I know what I have to do.
I have not been using my life to do what my heart desires. Its no wonder I’ve felt so divided. Mike used his life. He loved comics and he drew comics, it was as simple as that. Its a lesson I don’t ever want to forget.
I have to go… I have stories to tell.