Well, to get to the point of explaining the title of this journal, let me preface by saying that I've always had big, big ambitions, and these ambitions are not panning out. Some journal posts ago I wrote about my burn out of creating everything for my comics: anatomy practice, 3D sculptures of my creatures for reference, my constructed language, my writing scripts for the sequel comic, my world building, etc. I only shared my artistic ambitions: I have not shared my (recent) ambitions of learning French and/or Italian to fluency so I could go to graduate school in Europe, either for a PhD in a scientific field or go to medical school to be a surgeon (a long-time dream). I planned on doing all of this: comics, French, medical school; I was going places, I was going to be successful, I was going to win my family's approval. If you thought I was burned out with just comic stuff, I had much more I wanted to accomplish.
And then I lost my medical technologist job last winter, and I have been unemployed ever since. So much for paying off my school loans and saving money to go to school in Europe. I couldn't understand what was happening: wasn't God calling me to study medicine in Europe? If so, why was He frustrating my plans? I have been wallowing in depression as I've had multiple interviews and not one job offer. Then I thought of this famous C.S. Lewis quote:
God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains.
Well, I've had pain alright. And amazing how pain makes things more clear: like how perhaps I wasn't planning to go to Europe because He called me there, but because I wanted to go there. I wanted to accomplish my ambitions and be successful, and perhaps finally getting my family to acknowledge how amazing I am.
Another thing that became clear is that I love Japan. For those of you that read manga, you can see the influence in my early art, and its story-telling techniques prevail throughout the comic. I don't remember when my love affair began--sometime in childhood, I assume. In 2011 I went on a short missions trip to Osaka and the county outside of Hiroshima. I feel in love with the country; one question I had was "could I see myself living there?" And the answer was "yes". But the only opportunities seemed to be 1. become a missionary, 2. have a transferable profession and speak Japanese like a native, even though I was never be accepted as one. I considered the second option for a long time, but between nay-sayers in my life and my own realism, I abandoned it. I never seriously considered the first option: being a missionary isn't respectable, it isn't a real job, or so I thought.
On a less selfish level, I paid heed to what my family told me: that perhaps I loved Japanese culture, but didn't love the people themselves. I took this accusation to heart, and relinquished any hope of even returning to Japan. Surely I wasn't acting in God's best interest. I limited my interest in Japanese things to comics and cartoons and a little language study.
So I moved on to consider continuing my education in Europe. Moving there and being accepted as one of their own, even with an accent, was possible. All of the languages I could pick would be easier than a completely foreign language like Japanese. Medical school is much more affordable than in the U.S., and I could get a higher degree and get a respectable job. I pursue my dream of being a surgeon and satisfy my interests in medical sciences, be an admired member of the community, and even garner the respect of my family.
Enter 2018, with every attempt to make my "dream" come true is frustrated. I was confused and bitter, as I thought God was calling me to move to Europe...But during this time of pain, I realized I wasn't acting according to my faith, but according to my striving to win acceptance from my family members. I also feel the pressure from my American culture (I'm not sure how rampant it is in other cultures?) that if I don't accomplish my young adult dream, no matter how hard or easy it is, then I'm a failure. I'm a disappointment to everyone. How dare I give up on a dream and accept an easier route?
...On the other hand, the acceptance of the fact that I'm no less of a person if I change plans, if I follow a plan that doesn't include constantly struggling to be on top, if I have a choice to give up my "dream", has only given me relief. I can be free of a burden I don't know if I could handle.
So I am considering the Japanese missionary route. In contrast to the European route, where I struggled to find enthusiasm to learn French or Italian, my thirst for Japanese can't be sated. I had an interview with a missionary group via Skype last month: they want to focus on teaching ESL, and they want to branch out to teach (wait for it)
Well, if I'm not qualified to teach that, I don't know what I am. I am also finishing up my teaching ESL certificate, and currently have seven ESL students that I tutor, and they are all Japanese living in Boston. There is also promise of more students seeking tutoring. I will get my ESL practice before next year.
So you might be reading this and think "oh no! She's going to gear her comics towards a Christian audience." Fear not: the sequel comic will be as dark, if not darker, than CRG. The simple reason is that I don't like Christian entertainment: most of it is awful. Lord of the Rings and Narnia certainly have Christian aspects, but the writers were first and foremost concerned with telling a good story. Modern Christian writers aren't concerned about telling a good story: at best they are concerned about giving morals, and at worst they are concerned about exploiting an easy market. The only two modern Christian writers I could recommend are Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker, and the latter has veered towards the secular market.
The second reason is that...Well, I have a confession: I really like horror. Maybe that's not news to you, if you read CRG. And my favorite manga is Fullmetal Alchemist. And an anime in my top five is Another. No, if I become a missionary, the comics will be a side thing. I did offer to make comics that are family friendly, but only if someone else wrote the story: I am incapable of writing kid-friendly stories. Believe me, I tried, because there's also a huge need in the U.S. for comics for younger kids--but I got nothing. I mostly think of messed up stories.
Lastly, I am looking at ways to possibly make money from my art. I confess offering commissions scares me: I'm concerned about working on a piece and the buyer "just not liking it" and refusing to pay. And while I have improved my drawing skills, I'm not sure I'm good enough to offer commissions?
The other option is to give up the patron format of Patreon to a tip-based system like ko-fi.com. This site allows a person to pay a single amount one time, and that's it. It makes more sense to me: I'd rather make one payment to support someone than to hope I can pledge whatever amount every month. I also thought of a polling system where tippers of a certain amount can vote on what I work on next.
Well, I think that's long enough. Lend me your fingertips and tell me what you think.