A few months back, I attended comic-con, which I’ve been doing for years. This year was interesting and difficult because 1) Lauren and I had to wrangle our daughter and 2) It was my first year attending as a professional. There was little chance for sleep, especially as -having Ellie was taken by grandma for the first time in months- I got a chance to party, and spend a couple days with Lauren.
I loved it.
The thing about comic-con is, it’s always been especially inspiring to me as a creator. Every year I’d go, looking at the professional creatives I’d think to myself I can do this. This is the first year I attended and thought I AM doing this.
My writing life has changed, and much for the better. I have a literary agent. I’ve got two successful kickstarters under my belt. I can’t keep track of all my publication credits. I’ve made more money at this than ever before. I regularly write to a personal audience in the tens of thousands. These are all great things, and these are all relatively new things. But all these external indicators don’t mean crap if I can’t get and keep my head right.
This year, I got to be with creators I admire without the pedestal I used to put them on getting in our way. Too often in my life, with working creatives and sometimes even with friends and loved ones I’ve imagined them to be the better version of me; not to be learned from but to be slavishly imitated in senseless hero worship. Too often, I’ve acted under the assumption that if I could just understand their life, their journey well enough I could extract the template and quick-start rules by which I might ‘succeed’ and escape my limitations or escape the things I haven’t always liked about myself.
I’d like to continue to learn from, to seek counsel in role models and mentors but only I can teach myself what it means to be John Michael Perkins. Even amidst those I love and admire there comes a point where I have to make up my own mind and keep my own counsel. There is no better version of me ‘out there’ that I need to find and emulate; if he exists anywhere he’s inside me, waiting to be expressed whenever I’m ready.
And the biggest take away from comic-con was; I’m ready.