One of my oldest friends – a man who has the infuriating habit of knowing me all too well – asked me a terrible question on the weekend: if you could choose to be a published author, or if you could choose to be excel in your current career, which would you rather have?
This is a dangerous thing to ask me right now. I’m in a period of upheaval, where my job is not satisfying me the way it should but is satisfyingly paying the bills. On the other hand, my writing is a quiet joy to me, with no strings and no pressure. It is not putting food on the table, therefore it doesn’t matter whether I’m writing Shakespeare or Dan Brown.
And this brings me to the crux of the matter – I want to be Batman.
Batman saves people, and Bruce Wayne saves people, and it all works out quite nicely for him (we’ll ignore for the moment that fact that he’s currently dead in the comic books, because that was a stupid idea anyway). If, by day, he was a complete bum and spent his whole time drinking brandy, which he could quite easily do, he would be less of a man. His work as Batman is brash and obvious, but his work as Bruce is more subtle, with charitable donations and city project work. There is also his role as mentor to the Robins and the way he fits into that delightfully dysfunctional family. It could also be said when Bruce becomes too involved in one side or the other, like when he gives up the cowl or loses himself in the Bat, it all quickly goes pear-shaped.
So, why not be a careerist and a writer? Why not have everything? Sure, it means that everything takes longer and that there are sacrifices to be made in both fields, but life is full of compromise.
And no one does balance like Batman.