In my line of business, comics, I’m either face to face with living legends or documenting the achievments of young upstarts. But sometimes, I come upon creators my age. And that’s when things get interesting.
Next week I’ll be reporting on Paul Pope’s next big project(s). Pope is just a touch older than me and dancing gracefully at the height of his career. He’s been drawing since the age of 4 and instead of art school, went to Japan to get his comics education from one of the most respected and well known publishers of manga, Kodansha. His work is gritty, raw, somewhere between Frank Miller and Goseki Kojima.
And the interesting thing? I start thinking about success. And when I start thinking about success, the ruthless, competitive immigrant comes out of me. And when the ruthless, competitive immigrant comes out, I start playing the “What if?” game. I always imagined my life would be full of movement, from place to place, country to country, adventure to adventure. I imagined that by 30, I’d have a solid career, writing in China or Thailand. Love, family, settling down – that stuff I never gave much thought.
So when I look around and see what my life is and I see everyone doing what I thought I’d be doing, I get confused.
What if I’d gone traveling and lived in the places I currently dream of? What if I ditched the baby for my dreams?
I wonder about my life a lot. I wonder how it would be different if I’d been more focused on what I want, more fearless in pursuing it. I wonder alot about it because often it all feels like one big endless fight, like a ball of string that just keeps unraveling and tangling itself around me.
A friend told me how he’s given up the “What if?” game, just quit playing. “What’s the point?” He says. “You never win.” He’s moved on to the “Will I ever?” game.
Will I ever get married?
Will I ever get out of this place?
Will I ever finish this story?
Seeing people succeed at what they’re doing, seeing Paul Pope rise as a comics icon, reminds me of how much catching up I need to do.
Will I ever be a success?
Will I always play “What if?”
Will I ever…? Will I?