Here’s the thing about adventures.

When you’re a kid you really want to have one. If you’re anything like me, you’re going to carry a fire-blackened machete into the woods and attack trees all day long. Or try to speak with spirits. Travel hill dale with your wolf dog, whome you’ll never forget. And see everything – everything – with a magical eye that on many counts never quite goes away. Because you’ve read LOTR a million times, your favorite book is The Sword of Calandra, and really you just really really want to be zapped to another world to be with Merry and Pippin. Please Gandalf, where are you??

The reality of it is that if you get hit with even a small adventure, you’re a kid. It’s not something you can walk away from unchanged. Either you’re devastated, or you grow up too fast. And if you’re strong enough to grow up it’s because you have to, in order to deal with things.  World War II orphans knew that.

Because the thing about an adventure is they’re sparked by catalysts. The most common catalyst is tragedy. Frodo had to destroy that ring, and on his way out everything burned down around his ears. King Arthur faced being hidden away else he’d be killed, and then he pulled this old sword stuck in a rock someplace and spent most of his life dealing with war. I’m too lazy to think of a third example, although the guidelines to writing suggest I should.

Somehow adults have adventures all of the time. They get kidnapped, go to war, undertake quests, and even make a difference whether they know it or not. They either survive the adventure or it kills them on some frozen Everest mountaintop due to poor planning or ignorant wanderings. They come back from the desert having lost a hundred pounds to be praised a prophet, or we hear the cannibalistic tragedy on the news. Adventures don’t always have happy endings.

But in order to have one you have to be willing to take the risk. That’s another thing about adventures you have to realize. You can try to stay a kid forever, dreaming away and playing video games where you pretend to save the world using a controller and someone else’s script, or you can grow up, step out your front door, and find something that moves your world.

This is because in order to have the kinds of adventures kids want, you have to have the mindset it takes not only to undertake them and see them through… but to survive them.

If you want to keep having dreams of flying, quests and magic stay a kid. Dream your dreams. Grow old inside your untouched shell.

Or. You can learn to fly. Take up a real quest and study magic. Live your dreams. Grow old not only understanding the magic you were awed by as a child, but living it.

The Mark of My Dedication

Even though chapter two of 10 Confessions & A Kiss is still way overdue and The Heavenly Bride is sometimes on a very slow production status, there is a mark of my dedication. It’s something you can’t deny, either. No matter how childishly mad you get about it. Or selfishly want to throw me away over it. Or ignorantly think it makes me a burden on society.

I’m sick, like, all of the time.

And it’s a sickness that can’t really be tracked, mostly because no one will listen to me on the matter. I know what it is – because I’m no dummy. It’s a serious chronic sinus infection coupled with developing allergies and a slight chance of rain. There might be more to it, considering MS runs in the family and wotnot. But the sinus infection I’m sure of. Because I’ve been dealing with it for years. When I was a kid I always had one of those disgusting runny noses people hate kids over. And when I was even younger I was just… always sick.

For the past two or three days – I can’t remember how long – I’ve had it worse than usual. I’ve literally been in bed wailing with tears rolling down the sides of my temples. Part of my frustration is from the pain. I mean, where once the infection would only make me feel like one sinus cavity was on fire now it’s like my whole head is on fire. The other part is from lack of medical care.

Don’t start spouting your Obamacare crap at me. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about how when I *do* go to the doctor in this idiot area, I  get told – and I’m going to quote – “Lose weight. Drink more water.”

And then I get bullied and yelled at because I won’t let them touch me for female medical exams. As if I want idiots touching my tender areas. No. Just. No.

I’m fortunate, though. My mother’s father, who grew up before the Great Depression and saw a change in America from dirt roads to paved roads and fast cars, believed in learning how to care for yourself. Where he came from, that’s what you did. You didn’t run to your doctor for everything as if he could somehow save your soul. You went when you had to. So I do a lot of home care, a lot of medical herbs, a lot of things on my own. And muddle through and am normally quite fit and healthy – except for this annoying chronic infection. Damn this chronic infection!

The mark of my dedication to being a storyteller is how I treat the world with this infection. I didn’t blame other people for my problem. I don’t go trying to sign up for welfare because I have a condition that has gotten me fired from more than one job. (Not that I qualify. Because I don’t and rarely have.) You know what I did?

I sat here at the computer with one hand holding a bag of ice to my head and the other flatting for my client.

I sat here at the computer setting up panels for Heavenly Bride. Then closing my eyes to rest. Then opening them and working more.

I moaned once on Facebook that being sick sucked and then formatted a document for a client.

I tweaked the script to Heavenly Bride and spent some time setting up uniforms for Akashik.

I watched some Avatar the Last Airbender.

And my husband, when he realized how much worse it has gotten, did some herbal research and found me a home remedy that helped the pain better than most things on the market I’ve tried. We were only able to get one half of the remedy because the other half isn’t available in my area. But man, what a relief to have that much at least.

Again, I’m lucky. If I were working at, say, Walmart I’d have been fired by now. When these painful migraines come, I can’t even think straight. Literally. I reverse facts, you name it. In fact I’m staring at the latest Heavenly Bride page wondering how I can easily fix this very glaring mistake in the last panel. But I don’t have to worry about that anymore, because I went and created my own job and my own business. What am I going to do if I get sick: fire myself?

But that’s luck of my OWN making. When I lost that bill collecting job all those years ago, I remember the look in my roommate’s eye when I told her. I remember her pointed silence when I sat down at this computer and decided it was time to make a different tract in life. But I didn’t complain. I kept at it. And here I am. I am a successful business woman – not because someone else promoted me. It’s because I found something and became dedicated.

So make no mistake. If you’re truly dedicated to your craft, to being what the best at what you want to be, you won’t make excuses. This includes “but I’m disabled” and “I have this diagnosed condition”. Life is about obstacles. If you want to succeed you’ll get off your butt and you’ll do it. And it will get done. If you have any integrity it will be done well.

So currently my dedication is causing a conflict. I want to be dedicated to my stories. They don’t bring enough money for me to do that 100%. It’s an obstacle. It’s such an obstacle that this entire website and all of the webcomics almost went down permanently last month. But. Again I’m lucky. Pestilence is willing to help me defeat this obstacle, and together I think we’ll win.

So let’s hope we can do it. For the sake of the story.

Now if only our commissioners and various leaders were as that dedicated to serving the people. We did hear back from the commissioner’s assistant, that we’d be contacted last Monday. It never happened.

Not that talking to them would lower our $400 light bill. Currently we’re considering just letting everything go. This is one obstacle we don’t prefer to deal with. But. One thing at a time.