In an effort to get back into writing fiction (and, hopefully, poetry as well), I've been working my way through the exercises in Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. The one I've found the most fun so far is the one she calls "Imaginary Lives": imagine that you have five other lifetimes to pursue whatever you want to pursue; what would you do in each of them? It occurred to me that this would make an interesting meme, and that I would love to hear how various blog friends would answer the question. So here are my five; feel free to adopt this meme at your own blog or post your own five in the comments!
In no particular order:
- Dramaturg. I went through a hugely stagestruck phase in my late teens/early 20s, and there for a while in college I took theater classes and auditioned for a bunch of shows; but after a while I realized that acting wasn't really one of my talents. But being intimately involved with a production behind the scenes and being paid to do loads of research? That would be fantastic.
- Perfumer. A week ago I was chatting with an acquaintance who makes soaps and bath products and with whom I always end up talking about perfumes. "I think it would be really fun to blend my own," I said, "but I don't think I have the nose for it." "Oh, I think you do," she replied, "you just haven't trained yourself by sniffing all the different notes one at a time and learning what happens when you start combining them." I also think it would be marvelous to do what the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab does and create scents based on myths and legendary places and poems and fictional characters.
- Book artist. I love artists' books; I love altered books; I'm fascinated by the work of small presses; I had a wonderful time at the bookmaking workshop I went to this fall; and every time I see an artist's book or a beautiful small press book, I think "I want to do that!"
- Costume designer. (Especially if I could be a costume designer for an opera company.) Another behind-the-scenes job for stagestruck people who don't necessarily want to act; see #1 above. Knitting has given me a whole new level of interest in the aesthetics of clothes, and I've always been something of a costume history geek.
- I don't know quite what to call this one, but if I had but world enough and time, I would spend at least one lifetime walking all over the world and writing books about it. "Mountaineer" isn't quite the right word: I've never really burned with the ambition to scale Mount Everest, or even Mont Blanc. I'm not interested in ropes and pulleys and serious climbing gear and oxygen deprivation; I'm more interested in just wandering wherever my feet can take me. Kind of like Alfred Wainwright but not just for the Lakeland Fells (although I could happily spend years and years wandering around the Lakeland Fells).
Over to you, Reader. If you had five extra lifetimes, what would you do with them?