“As God is my witness, as God is my witness they’re not going to lick me. I’m going to live through this and when it’s all over, I’ll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.” Scarlet O-Hara, Gone with the Wind (1939)
I have a love/hate relationship with Arizona. In Arizona I starved. I worked for someone who was unable to fulfill their financial commitment to me and I spent the next year paying for it, struggling to stay afloat and doing my thing. Eventually the bottom barreled out and I was put into a tough situation.
Starving is a strange feeling. All those things you take for granted are now out of reach. You struggled to fill your belly with noodles and peanut butter and jelly. The fact that I had to hitchhike fifteen miles to make it to work on time made surviving a task and a half. The stomach is empty and still you have to press on. I was in the middle of nowhere, no one coming to save me. All the while, I’m still hungry and craving cheese, lamb and all the things I took for granted while I live at home.
There’s this famous scene in Gone With The Wind where Scarlet is on her last legs and got to bite into that loaf of bread and say to herself, I’ll never go hungry again. I even quoted it at the start of this. When you get to the bottom, you understand that feeling. There is nothing more pressing than to eat and survive. You think of nothing else but survival when you starve.
I never take any of that for granted again. I can go back to that moment in an instant. Like Scarlet, I never plan on growing hungry again. I will do absolutely everything in my power to prevent that. I appreciate what I can give myself, and I know what I’m capable of as a result. I hated going through it, but in hindsight I’m glad I did. I remember that feeling well. In those moments I do procrastinate, calling up that time gets me all fired up again.
I was reminded of this tonight when I had a conversation with one of my editors today. We were just catching up and seeing what was going on with her. She was talking about some of the frustrations and struggles going on in her life, and mentioned the concept of being lucky to be in her situation and that maybe it was wrong to feel the way she felt – that things weren’t moving quickly enough.
There is no shame in feeling frustrated with where we are at. In fact, that unsatisfaction is awesome. That need to change things, and that struggle is a reminder that there is more to strive for.
There is more than one kind of hunger.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t be grateful for what you have. Things always could be worse, no matter where you are in life. What you have is a blessing. But on that note, there is always more. Some of the most successful people in the world work like they are starving all the time. It took me until Arizona to understand what that hunger is.
If you understand that, you can find success in everything. The absolute worse thing to do is to forget your hunger and settle. The biggest piss off I get with anyone, and I mean anyone, is when I hear that people think they are lucky they have a job, or that they are lucky to be in the place they are. Unless you are exactly where you want to be, and are happy with what you are doing, you have no business feeling that way. It’s not what you want, and it’s not where you should settle. It’s not a real human mentality, but a machine’s. We are all better than that.
I’m still hungry even now. I’m not where I want to be and I want it. I think of little else. If I’m not thinking about it, I’m sleeping. When I write, when I try to draw, whatever I try to do in life, I give it my all, thinking of that hunger inside me. It’s why as I’m writing this, I”m working on this last line of script. I’m not happy with it and I’m going to crack it and then send it off to the letterer to finish up the comic.
Once that’s done, there’s the next thing.
And the next.
I’m always going to be hungry. It’s what drives me forward.
Find what you starve for, and always be hungry for it. Keep moving, keep being unsatisfied, keep moving forward. Be driven, be passionate, and relentless. Want for more.
Always be hungry.
If you like this, check out my book The Watcher at this link here. I’d appreciate it.
My next project will be announced, or another interview will be up.
In the meantime, I’ll be working on my next thing. Hope this inspires you. Until next time, stay hungry.