On Gratitude and Eggs Benedict

I think the quote pictured here is true, although the value you bring to the world — in your work, and in how you choose to live your life — is not always apparent to those around you, and may not always be fully appreciated immediately. It often takes time — but your value will be reciprocated and increased, if you focus on doing the things you love, and you invest your time and effort into doing them brilliantly.

I am sitting in my Studio today feeling grateful for those around me who have valued what I offer, and who have returned that value a hundredfold. Sometimes our best moments are connected to our worst ones, but it’s the contrast that makes the memory of difficult times bearable, and makes the wonderful times all the sweeter.

I’m a principal member of and speaker/instructor at the annual Superstars Writing Seminars, held each year in Colorado Springs, and something I’ve mentioned in past years — how Eggs Benedict can be significant to the success of a writer’s career — began as a funny metaphor that illustrated an important point (that you have to believe in the value of what you do in order for others to believe it, too) that so many attendees took to heart that it was added to the programming as a special breakfast mini-workshop. And THAT was so well received that they had to offer a lottery for the open seats, and are in fact now expanding it to TWO mornings and TWO breakfast events, just to get more people in who want to attend — and there STILL won’t quite be enough room for everyone who wants to join.

And I am watching this as it develops, and I am smiling, and teary with gratitude — because it is a reciprocation of value. I have offered something that I have learned, that is valuable enough to people that they want to add an expense and their precious time to learn those things from me (and have a delicious breakfast) and I am overwhelmed. Because as I watch this, I remember, very vividly, a time when that value was not recognized: a memory, barely a decade ago, when I was sitting in a parking lot in LA, with little gas in the car, less than a dollar in my pocket, no place to stay that night, and nothing to go on except a handful of stories that I wanted to share — stories I believed had value.

It took time, but people saw the value in those stories. I found a place to stay; I earned money selling comics I’d published so I could eat and buy gas; the book, HERE, THERE BE DRAGONS was published; and that one book set the tone for everything that has followed — and retroactively made all of my other work more valued, as well as the lessons I’ve learned that I try to share with others who will find them useful.

If that isn’t the best lesson about Eggs Benedict, I don’t know what is. And I’m grateful. Truly grateful.

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About caveo

James has written and illustrated six books in the bestselling series The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica: Here, There Be Dragons; The Search For The Red Dragon; The Indigo King; The Shadow Dragons; The Dragon’s Apprentice; and The Dragons of Winter. The series is now being published in more than twenty languages. A seventh volume, The First Dragon, will conclude the series in November 2013.

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