I refer to my years at Novell as time spent in “Day-Job Land.” I haven’t had a similarly apt descriptor for the land where I get to be a cartoonist, working for myself, playing with my family.
A private conversation with David Malki of Wondermark shook loose the descriptor I want to use. “The Land of Make Believe.”
Yeah, it’s been trademarked and copyrighted and all that by somebody else. I think it’s an amusement park in Jersey. But the idea is bigger than that.
My Land of Make Believe is not just about pretending, it’s not “make-believe” in the child’s play sense. No, this is the Land where every day I get to Make the things that I Believe in. I build universes and draw pictures about them. I share my stories and pictures with others, and I Make them Believe too. I’ve said before that few things are as flattering as learning that I’ve captured the imagination of another human being. I can’t bring myself to think of “fans” without feeling both humbled and exalted by their very existence.
But my Land of Make Believe is not just about creating worlds and inviting others to experience them with me. It’s also about Believing that these worlds, this shared experience can somehow support me and my family, and then Making that happen.
And every so often it’s about looking a skeptic or a critic right in the eye and Making him or her Believe, too. It’s a land of proof in the pudding, and then second helpings of pudding.
And yes, sometimes it’s about pretending I know what I’m doing, and then getting on with my day.