Hiya. It’s Table Topic Tuesday time!
Here’s the question.
Since I’ve never played a competitive sport or a single instrument, I choose “artist.”
A writer, specifically, so I could woo you with words.
Forget the second-overtime pressure of a televised game or a live concert in a stadium big enough to have its own zip code. No thanks. I want to be in my jammies, sitting cross-legged in front of an old wooden desk—in a small, windowless cocoon of a room. I’d do my best work in slippers.
A writer’s room has options. Pencils that never dull. Thick, hungry paper with diagonal lines so I can half lay across the desk and write at an angle. Everything’s faster at an angle.
For the days that I’m sure I could save the world with my words, I want a 50s-pink typewriter with cool, heavy keys. You can only sit before a typewriter with a smart, level head because each word becomes more precious when you’re building it letter by letter. You’re forced to plunk poetry.
I’d want a fancy laptop in there too—for the days my writing hand can’t keep up with my runaway brain. And, some days, you just need a DELETE button. Athletes and musicians don’t get proofreaders or backspaces. They also can’t go to the grocery store in wind pants and a scrunchie. It’s nice to have that option. I don’t want a famous face. But I sure wouldn’t mind if my name was attached to a literary classic.
This is what my friends think.
This is a tough one. Because, if you’re good at being one of these things, you automatically wish you could be one of the others. I’m a dedicated runner, but a rainy day doesn’t go by where I don’t wish I was painting a gigantic mural or working the pedals of baby grand. Artistic and musical talents never came easy for me, and I’m fine with that because nothing makes me happier than pounding the pavement before the sun rises.
I think I go back and forth between two of these options – either a great musician or a great artist. I’ve already gone into quite a bit of detail on my love of the piano and my wish that I knew how to play. But I’d also love to be a great artist and I probably lean more towards this than anything else…and maybe it’s because I imagine their everyday life as being glamorous. Now, glamorous to me is probably a lot different than glamorous to you. But to me, this is the perfect artist’s life. They probably get out of bed, wrap themselves up in comfy clothes like sweat pants and sweatshirts, perhaps wearing a blanket over their shoulders like a shawl. They probably sit outside on their deck with a steaming mug of coffee (or in my case hot chocolate) overlooking the ocean with sea oats swaying in the breeze. Because obviously a great artist must live in a great place. A place that inspires their art. They get to hang out with their orange tabby cat and just imagine all the great things they can do with their art. And at the end of the day, they get to “make” things…out of nothing. Beautiful things that can decorate their house or be given as gifts or maybe even to make money from. I could totally live that glamorous life. Sigh…I should start now. If only I had a house by the ocean.
When I was younger I aspired to be both a starting point guard on an any NBA team (except for teams in California. This was confirmed by my mother who said, “You told me whatever team you played for, I would have to tell them that you couldn’t go to the California games because you were scared of Earthquakes.” The things a mother does for her son.) and a famous artist. (This wavered from rapper to boy band member back to rapper and eventually to bass player in a Pop-Punk band who would eventually open for blink-182)I couldn’t decide.Having to make this impossible choice is probably what drove me to being a copywriter. (This is far from true. My athletic career went as far as back-up point guard on 3 small college teams, never playing a game due to repeated injuries and general Caucasian-ness, going so far as to ask one of my teammates if he could teach me to dunk; he could not… but, man, could I dish the rock. My music career resulted in a short-lived Pop-Punk band where I grew out my beach-blonde locks, pierced my eyebrow and strummed a pink bass. I could not read music, so I was forced to learn by watching my friend Jared show me tabs one at a time, and I could not sing and play at the same time so I could only sing the verses to “Stay Together For The Kids” because there was no bass during the verses. We played 2 original songs, 3 blink covers, a Green Day song, an AFI song and the rest of the set was Jared playing acoustic because that was all I could muster. I can still rap, though. I swear. I just chose not to pursue it. I’m content.)Do I regret not going after both? Not at all. I’m happy. There may not be copywriting groupies who ask me to sign certain body parts when I get done crafting a dope ass headline. There may not be 18,000 fans chanting my name as I’m pitching a radio script. There may not be endorsement deals or record contracts waiting on my Herbie Hancock. But, there’s solitude. There’s living a normal life. There’s… OMG WHAT HAVE I DONE WITH MY LIFE?
What about y’all? What would you pick?