A few weeks ago I was on my way to a nearby cafe to work on emails before an afternoon appointment. I was feeling stylish in my snazzy new glasses and least ratty outfit, on my way to get caught up on work so I could blog to my heart’s content.
But instead, the worst thing in the world happened that day.
Less than ten feet from my car, I walked over a patch of black ice and decided to try out a side lunge that would put an Olympic gymnast to shame. The Olympic gymnast might have known how to lunge without snapping anything. I’m not that adroit.
A good Samaritan was soon helping me crawl back to my car where I used my good foot to drive down to the ER, all the way screeching a pitch-perfect rendition of Marriage of Figaro (well, the high notes anyway). It would be afternoon before the Big Guy wheeled me out to the car bearing a snazzy new cast and equally snazzy crutches.
And the worst thing in the world was still waiting to happen.
About the time I crawled in the front door, I realized I was going to need help with a few things – hobbling, bathing, cooking a roast beef with Yorkshire pudding – over the next few days. The Big Guy was a true hero, helping me get to the recliner as he got dinner started – all in a single bound. Thing1 and Thing2 came home soon after, eager to wait on me hand and foot.
Being waited on was fun for about fifteen minutes.
At the end of the fifteen minutes, I started to feel guilty every time I had to ask someone else for help with things I never think about. A well-known squirmer, I could feel my butt developing hives as I watched the Big Guy and the boys do my jobs. I worried about burdening others with everyday duties like laundry – which, in an off-grid house, is a fine-tuned procedure in the winter. And that’s when the worst thing in the world happened.
See, once in a while I indulge in this fantasy about getting JK Rowling or SuperLotto Jackpot winner rich (you know you do it too). Usually the fantasy involves being thin enough to enjoy an orgy of shopping and the house getting clean without me cleaning it. As I watched my own family get dinner and pillows, however, I realized I wouldn’t ever have that fantasy again (except for the thin part of course).
Suddenly, there was the unpleasant recognition that on the few occasions my house is clean, it’s because I’ve been watching too many DIY shows and want the satisfaction of doing it myself. There was the inconveniet knowledge that while, I work to pay bills and keep the health insurance going, it doesn’t matter if I ever make a dime writing or drawing – my life work – as long as I get to do them.
And that was the absolute worst thing in the world – that realization that, even with a bum leg, an eye determined to deteriorate, work overload, and a list of upcoming chores a mile long, my reality was still way better than my best fantasy.
My Photoshop License did not follow me quietly into the good morning of migrating to a new MacBook. Faced with either a $700 purchase of new software or a $19.99/mo subscription to feed my cartooning habit, I made the obvious decision.
I cancelled that subscription to $18.95/mo Dieters Anonymous that was just collecting dust anyway and downloaded the free graphic design software. I’m not sure if it was a good thing that it was such an easy decision, but I’m pretty sure the logic was sound.
Moral: In crisis there is opportunity. And sometimes chocolate.
I’m spending the afternoon on working on a book of sketches that has been in the works for quite a few months.
When I read through the first draft as I formatted it last week and started really thinking about what those images really meant. At the time each of them was a cheap way to illustrate a blog, but as a collection, they represent so much more for me.
They represent a revolutionary change in my life. I’m not making a living as a writer or an artist because of them, but the drawing and the writing is not about making money. It’s about making a life. And that’s ultimately what the book – and the doodles – are about.