Early on in "The Artist's Way", readers are asked to write about five imaginary lives. I didn't do it. I sort of wrinkled my nose at the idea and moved on.
In Chapter 5 "Recovering a Sense of Possibility", the idea of imaginary lives came up again - this time, the idea was more intriguing, so I wrote about them. Five of my imaginary lives.
1. There is a book called "An Unknown Woman" where a woman goes to live alone for like a year. She brings her dog, Logos, and lives in Maine or Connecticut and learns who she is and what she needs to do in the world.
I would live on the Oregon coast, in a house right near the beach. I would learn to be a morning person to get up and walk the beach early in the morning, and also late at night. I would probably have a dog for company and a cat. I would always have a notebook and jot down notes and observations about the world. I might work as a barista or a bookseller. Or maybe I would become an artist of some kind.
2. Living in Manhattan, right in the heart of the theatre district. I would work as an usher or a concession sales person or a box office person and see shows on all my days off. I would go to museums and walk through the park, walk the city, visit all the strange and interesting and bohemian places. I would interpret on Broadway with Alan and Candice and Lynnette and Stephanie at least once in my lifetime.
3. Touring the country with "Les Miserables" or "Wicked" or some other brilliant stage show as their interpreter. I wouldn't even mind living in hotels for a year or so, to take a chance to see the country in all the small and common places, in all the big and interesting places. To see the growth of the show, to see the behind-the-scenes dramas but not participate in them. To feel the joy of performing something you know so well you don't even have to think about it - it just flows off you and every time you do it, you do it better. To meet Deaf people all over the country and talk about theatre.
4. I would travel to Africa and sign on as one of the Elephant Keepers at the Elephant Orphanage. Taking care of some sweet baby elephant who needs constant attention and love, warmth, milk and tutoring on how to be an elephant. On my one day off a week, I would go on safari and see the beauty of the country. Before I left, I would also go work in a human orphanage with children who were orphaned by AIDS.
5. I buy a bookmobile and fill it with free books. I would drive from town to town doing readings and giving away books to kids who can't afford them. I want to share my love of words and books and reading - to share the beauty of picking up a book and being instantly transported to Manhattan, the Elephant Orphanage, to a touring company of a Broadway show, to a woman living alone at the beach or to a person who drives a bookmobile around, sharing her love of words.
Wouldn't these be grand lives?