When my friends had said “comic book store,” I was expecting a brightly-lit room with the white linoleum covered in shelves and shelves of colorful volumes, with superhero enthusiasts sifting through titles in either a concise search, or a relaxed exploration of something new.
The small comic book shop in downtown Portland, Oregon, the name of which escapes me now, didn’t fit that picture, but it was still wonderful with its tightly-occupied shelves and blue carpeting. Even as I stepped over the threshold, I felt the beginnings of warmth creeping into that place behind my ribs where all my hopes and aspirations reside. I gravitated toward the first set of shelves to my left and pulled off the first thing that looked interesting. I flipped through it. A short graphic novel. After a few moments and excited comments, I replaced it with something else.
I moved about the store with my friends with a growing sense of reverence, encountering comic books, manga, and a great deal of graphic novels/short stories.
This place was good. This aspiration was good.
Just three months ago, I had decided to officially forgo my original plans of physical therapy in order to pursue writing and illustration instead. Previously, I had always expected I would enter a field heavily involved in science–like a medical profession–and even as my resolution increased, I was usually a bit tentative about such a drastic decision.
However, standing there with my red and blue scarf slung around my neck, rapturously browsing a bookshelf of graphic novels, everything seemed to hold so much more potential. Someday, I could actually see my work on those shelves. And in that moment, I knew the decision I had made three months ago was a good one.
Because in that store, I felt at home. I looked around, and I knew I had something deeply in common with the authors whose work filled those shelves. Under the surface of the soft, sweet smelling pages of books, the dreams of writers and illustrators burn wild. They are dreams that require taking hold of the fabric from which we are spun and pulling it into the physical, tangible world to touch others.
It is at once exhilarating and terrifying, as confidence and vulnerability collide–but such is the nature of that which has been entrusted to me.
And I am grateful for it.
To explore, to cultivate, to glorify the One who creates everything so thoughtfully, it is mine.
And it is good.