Imaginary Lives

"Nonetheless, it's a step in the right direction!"
Julia Cameron of "The Artist's Way" says you should be cautious about sharing the intimate details of your homework assignments or journal entries with everyone during your creative recovery. So naturally, I'm going to share some of them on this blog for the whole world to see. But at least I'll be talking about what I want instead of whining about what I don't want. And as Angela Lansbury would say, "It's a step in the right direction."

I've written so much whining dreck over the last year that I came up with a cartoon name for myself. Whiny Tomes. It would be the name of my ghost in the Haunted Mansion. Whiny Tomes needs to go away now. Forever. 

So how do you kill your inner Whiny Tomes and free him to wander his own haunted past? How do you move on when you need to? How do you break through the dark times? Aside from turning to friends and family, God n' Jesus, rest and all of the usual tools, you also return to your imagination. Cameron has a homework assignment called "Imaginary Lives". It's pretty much what it sounds like. You let yourself daydream away, unhindered by time, place or money. You dream of what you might have been in another life. Here are some of mine.

1. Movie Theater Owner - I'd love to own a small, old-fashioned movie theater. Every inch of lobby space would be covered in framed vintage movie posters. The theater would have a stage in front of the screen for live productions. There would be red velvet curtains, aisle lights, red carpet, the whole shebang! (And I may or may not keep a swath of chorus girls in my employ to pop out and sing, "Let's Go to the Movies" from Annie on my command anytime I wanted.) I'd design and produce topical and genre-specific film festivals. I'd teach film history classes. I'd run it with my friends and family if they wanted to participate in any way.

2. Indie filmmaker - I'd want to make a living off my films but I'd like to stay autonomous creatively from the studio system. I'd be prosperous, but not pompous. I'd want to make movies like Christopher Guest or Woody Allen's early comedies or Peter Jackson's early stuff.

3. Professional Comedy Writer/Occasional Standup/Humorist - I've never wanted the crux of my life to depend on performing. I'd rather write primarily, deliver that writing or show up in it on occasion, but mostly let a cast of others do the performing. (Following video is very NSFW.)

4. Head of a Creative Troupe that Writes and Presents Vintage-Style Radio Plays - This is an art form and it's all but lost. But the constraints of only having audio to work with seem to produce such incredible results. I guess I always wanted to be Spike Jones when I grew up, it was Second City and SNL before Second City and SNL.

5. Professor of Classic Comedy - Imagine it, living a small but cozy existence in some mid-sized Mid-Western University system. You'd be forced to produce your own writing under publish or perish. You'd get summers and holidays off. You'd get to introduce masses of students to classic comedies that would change their lives forever. You'd be keeping the classics alive and well. You could justify buying all the books and movies you wanted. This is an imaginary life I often wonder if I should've focused on making a reality. The classes I could've designed...Marx Bros. 101, Danny Kaye Appreciation, The History of Carol Burnett, Feminism and Comedy: What Glass Ceiling?, If You Think You Like Mike Myers Wait Until You Get A Load of Peter Sellars, Horror Comedy: the Unsung Genre, Parody, etc. I would be the Michael Scott of University Curriculum, but I'd love every second of it. (Remember the management book he had a title for but never wrote, "Somehow I Manage"? Admit it, you title projects with no intention of ever completing them...)

6. Author of Murder Mystery Novels and Plays - I admit it. I still want to be Jessica Fletcher when I grow up. I'm obsessive about my Sherlock and my Poirot, this would just give me the excuse for that to be okay.

7. Full-time VO artist - I've done a lot of voice-over work over the last four years. It's something I really enjoy. And you can make a wonderful living at it. This one isn't so imaginary. But I retreat to this idea a lot, I think mostly because it's lovely to think of focusing on one thing instead of the several that I seem to juggle consistently. And again, it would keep me away from having to perform visually.

8. Segment Producer for Conan O'Brien - I'd LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to write, produce, shoot and edit some segments with Conan O'Brien. His on-locations packages are some of my all-time favorite pieces of comedy ever, ever, ever created and it's sort of what got us into TV-style video in the first place. And I admit to totally ripping that style off for some segments we've done previously on our own for fun and for "Orlando Attractions Magazine: The Show". (Specifically Mike Carr's two segments from the Spooky Empire Horror Convention, Heather Leonardi at Ascendio 2012, Lulu Picart at EcoSafaris, Legoland and the opening of the Disney store, Heather Leonardi and Ali Flores in a series of parody commercials we did and several more. That wish has almost been fulfilled. Remember those names, those comedians will be HUGE in the future and I'll be the first to say, "I got to work with them once!") 

9. Conventioneer - Yes. It's a word. I would love to own and operate a convention of some kind. And I think it would most definitely have to do with film and/or comedy. I'd just love to see a truly nerdy literary and classic comedy convention with cosplayers wandering around dressed like Mark Twain and Groucho and Tina Fey...tell me that wouldn't be the greatest thing EVER.

10. Live Theater Owner/Operator - I want to bring back classic routines in collections of shows. I want to design revues that celebrate Vaudeville and Film Musicals and the like. I'd especially like to do original material in the style of the classics. There was a movie, "Cover Girl" with Gene Kelly and Rita Hayworth. I used to watch it over and over and over when I was a kid and Gene Kelly owned a small nightclub in it called Danny McGuire's. And it seemed SO right to me. I remember thinking, "When I grow up, I want to work in a place like that.

So those are my IMAGINARY LIVES!

I think maybe Jake and I should just hand out
business cards with this picture and no info or
explanation included. This about covers it.
We could then pretend we heard ringing, answer
a tin can and walk away like, "Oh I'm sorry, I have
to take this!"
I seem to have a need to keep comedy and classic film alive (not that it needs me, it doesn't) or pay honor to it or something. It shows up in most of my "imaginary lives"...and see? That's why we do homework like this. That's a pattern worth some attention as I only have about three weeks left in my sabbatical/"holy cannoli, what I am going to do with my life next?!!!" phase.

Maybe it was growing up the daughter of a mother who owned and operated a singing telegram business. I don't know.

Yes I do. It was that. 

So what are your imaginary lives? What are you out there doing in some parallel universe right now? And why?