It is good to be forgiving. I am good friends now with people who, thirty years ago, told me I’d never make it. What they said stung at the time, but I do not resent them. They gave me an honest opinion that I was free to ignore.

I’m a little less forgiving of people who were saying this sort of thing recently. I could be here all day telling tales of pros who were saying I was done and should just quit. This as recently as three years ago. Puzzling, because my career was on a notable upswing after years of being unable to work full time due to chronic illness. A blogger with whom I haven’t spoken since gave me a big old lecture about how I was done, stick a fork in me.

My work doesn’t get so much coverage on her website anymore I’m told. Sucks to be wrong, I guess.

Another former Big Two staffer who really hated my stuff and decided to explain all things publishing to me at a book fair a few years ago, looked me up and down with scorn, sneering at me, my appearance and my work. She has hated women in comics like me since day one, declaring us “Not Real Women Cartoonists”. Two years later she was practically jumping over my table at a show and begging me to work for her small press with a big smile I’d never seen her direct at me before and a warm handshake. I said I’d think about it and thanked her for asking.

When you’re doing well, people come out of the woodwork. When you’re doing poorly, they gloat. That’s the way it is. I don’t mistake either type for friends, and I know how the game is played. I try not to internalize this stuff too much and make it about me, because it’s really not. I don’t know most of these people very well, and never will. I’m here to do my job, not play petty politics.

I think some people just don’t want you or your work around, and they tell you with their fake sincerity and sympathy that you should pack it in for your own good in hopes you will take their poisonous advice and give them what they wanted.

Since being told to pack it in three years ago, I’ve had two more books on the New York Times Bestseller list. I’ve got more work than I can handle. I’ve got publishers asking me to bring them my new projects. All of my projects.

Some advice is better than others. And some advice was never meant to be good for you.

My advice: run as far away from these people as you can. Live your life. Be happy. Make Art. On Your Terms.

Have a great day.

I think that’s pretty good advice for everybody.

free-stuff