Bill Watterson’s Calvin & Hobbes cartoon taught me the importance of a rich fantasy life, the many uses of a cardboard box, and the need for a stuffed tiger.

Hobbes was incredible. When Susie was too sarcastic, Moe too rough, when Mom didn’t let Calvin drive the car, when Dad yelled at him for the snowmen, Calvin always had Hobbes. He was more than a stuffed tiger. He was Calvin’s soft place to fall.

And I wonder, who or what is your stuffed tiger?

Writers”heck, all of us”need a stuffed tiger, but writers really need one. When the rejections pour in, when the reviews are bad, when the writing won’t come, and the boss is yelling and the kid is threatening to run away from home (and you’re thinking, œGet in line, buster.), you need that buffer, that little bit of fur that blocks the world¦

Whether it’s the goal of one day being published or finishing that book, whether it’s finding the quiet moment when you’ve found the right word or you’ve finally moved past the plot hole, it’s the stuffed tigers of our dreams and small successes that protect us from the unfeeling world.

Here’s hoping you find yours.