The first week of The Artist’s Way is all about recovering a sense of “safety”. Miss Cameron fully admits that this week will probably feel silly, even stupid, but that you should push through it anyway because it’s important. The exercises involve writing affirmations (basically sentences that you say to yourself to tell yourself how great you really are), acknowledging your “blurts” (negative thoughts that spring to mind, such as “I’m such a terrible writer”), and facing the demons in your past that have caused you to think negatively. The whole idea, overall, is to face the fact that we all have an internal voice (a “Censor”, she calls it) that shouts negative comments at us all the time, even (and especially) when we don’t deserve it. And generally this Censor is a culmination of all the negativity we’ve had to endure from our peers and elders throughout our lives.
But the exercises aren’t all about facing negativity. One in particular was actually quite amusing, I thought. Basically, imagine that you have five alternative lives to live; who would you be and what would you do? The point isn’t to be serious, it’s to give life to the you that your inner child imagined you might become.
For myself, the answers were immediately clear, because there are five things I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember. Hey, I know, why don’t I share them here? 😀
Imaginary Life #1
I’d be a (successful) writer, as if that weren’t entirely obvious. I would write fiction novels and occasionally publish a book of short stories. I would have a room in my house specifically for writing, with shelves of books on every wall, and a beautiful desk in front of a large, bright window. The desk would house my laptop, and a stack of notebooks and pens, and I would write there all day while sipping hot tea and cafe mochas.
Imaginary Life #2
I’d be a singer/songwriter who specialized in the guitar. I’d write and compose all my own songs and travel the world playing shows and festivals. I’d be on the road most of the time, but when I wanted to rest I’d come back to Cape Breton and play around a campfire with my friends and family.
Imaginary Life #3
I’d be a famous artist. I’d delve into all the different mediums; drawing, painting, sculpting, etc. I would have a room in my house dedicated to art where I would store all kinds of different supplies from around the world, and I’d draw and paint on the walls to chart my inspiration.
Imaginary Life #4
This one might surprise even my closest friends and family, but I would be an actress. I’d do all kinds of things, from movies and TV shows, to cheesy horror movies and voice acting. In particular I would regularly audition for parts in action-adventure movies as the damsel-in-distress who is actually pretty kick-ass all on her own.
Imaginary Life #5
I’d design video games. I would do a little bit of everything, from concept art and character design, to programming and beta-testing. I would want to be a part of every aspect of the process, and I would help to create characters and storylines that draw in the gamer, as well as controls and gameplay that keep the gamer hooked.
#1 is pretty obvious if you’ve read at least one of my other blog posts or have known me for more than five minutes, but the others may be a bit surprising, especially to those who don’t know me personally, so let me explain a little.
#2 comes about because I’ve always been a bit musical, like much of my family, and in fact much of Cape Breton in general. We’re a musical region. I took several years of piano lessons when I was young, and then moved on to guitar, which I mostly taught myself. Though I haven’t had time for it in recent years, I’ve always loved playing and singing, and it’s one of the few things I feel like I can do in front of a crowd.
#3 dates back to much younger years, stemming back as far as grade school. I loved to draw, and I’d paper my walls with drawings of my favorite TV show and video-game characters. I was never really any good at the other mediums like painting, but I always used to think that if I just kept practicing and practicing, someday I’d be a great artist. Sadly, art in general is something that went by the wayside for me, as I focused more and more on writing instead. The only thing I’ve drawn in years are tiny sketches of the Ninja Turtles at my daughter’s bequest.
#4 is my little inner guilty pleasure secret. I don’t think I’ve ever, at any time, voiced a desire to be an actress, but I seriously started thinking about it in high school as a result of a Drama course. For one assignment we had to do a monologue, and I picked this really dramatic piece where a girl talks about a death in her family. After I performed it the whole class applauded and told me how awesome I was, so for a while after that I convinced myself that I had real talent and would somehow get discovered someday (despite a lack of any kind of effort on my part to actually pursue acting).
#5 is the most childish of the bunch, in my opinion, because it’s based on a childhood assumption that video games were really easy to make. I figured I just had to learn a bit of programming and off I would go. Obviously I’ve learned a lot since then and know that it takes huge crews to make (most) video games, but I still think it would be an awesome profession to be a part of, if only to see the end result of all your hard work enjoyed by millions.
So there you have it! The five imaginary lives of Tracey Lynn Tobin.
If you had five imaginary lives, what would you be? I’d love to hear about your choices!