D. J. Cools

2/16/20241 min read

Two days ago, I dug through the cupboards in my office and looked over some of the languishing creative work hiding in the shadows, largely forgotten. All of it unfinished. Much of many years old now.

I’m not sure what I was looking for. Inspiration? Hope? I have set aside personal work over and over again in favor of more pressing matters—kids’ sports events, time with friends, home repairs, moving across the county, looking for new jobs. Unlike the classic artist trope, I am not someone who has sacrificed all that much for the sake of my art. I’m not sorry about it. I know that for the most part I have valued the right things at the right times, especially family, and I’m glad I’ve had wise people in my life to help me see when and what to prioritize. But over the years I have developed a vague sense that my personal creative work, my writing, drawing, half-finished comics, picture book dummies, and all the rest are, well... not good. Not worthy somehow. The delusions of an amateur, silly, unrealistic dreamer.

What I experienced as I explored the dusty pages and retired sketchbooks in the cupboard was surprising. A lot of it was actually pretty good. Not complete, not polished or ready for public view, but... good. I found a number of ideas that still held a degree of power and mystery, concepts that might yet fuel a fresh endeavor or simply be worth seeing through based on their original vision. I didn’t know what I was looking for, but I am encouraged after all. I’m ready to get to work.

Right after I finish all these other pressing household chores and tasks...