- Your fairy godmother shows up--stripey tights, stompy boots, tiara, wand, wings and all--and offers you any life you want starting tomorrow. No preparation needed, unless that's part of your wish. A fighting chance at success guaranteed. If necessary, fiscal means would be provided and not in a 'be careful what you wish for' sort of way. It can be as specific or as open-ended as you like.
What do you tell her?
Ooh. I would want a small studio flat within walking distance of work so that I would waste no time/energy on commuting and be able to splash paint about at will. I would want a small house in a leafy green bit of Cambridge to share with the bloke at weekends. I would want to make slightly more than I do now, so that I could more readily purchase the photographic equipment I want to execute certain projects. The only intangible thing I’d want is something of a clue about how to go about selling my creative output. I guess what I’d want, in essence, would be a minor upgrade on my current life. For some reason I now have this mental image of her folding her arms and telling me that in that case, I ought to bloody well do it myself.
- Relax, clear your mind, then unfold the most personally meaningful sense-impression of the word "submission". What five words, taken together, come closest to describing the feelings and/or images that come to mind?
Blindness. Effulgence. Voluptuous, tactile release.
- What are your parameters for a life well lived? How close have you met them personally? How much farther do you think have to go?
I think the best way to live is with as little expectation of others as possible and with limitless expectations of my capabilities. I think the latter must be mitigated with forgiveness when I don’t achieve everything I want. I think that adaptability is the trait in myself I prize the highest, and a tendency towards blind anger is the one I deplore. I think that while incurring grievances is unavoidable, I believe I’ve found coping mechanisms that allow me to let go of them quickly. I think I’ll never be as perfectly balanced emotionally, as physically fit or as well-informed or as sharply insightful as I want to be. I also think I’ll never stop trying.
- Have you ever done the Charleston?
Yes, I have. The bloke and I went to a summer wedding reception a while back which was 1940s themed. (He claimed to have won the costume competition because he was the only one who brought an American.) The emcee lined everybody up in the pavilion and we learned to dance the Charleston. I can’t remember it now, but I think I did all right at the time, up until the footwork got a little too fancy for my tipsy self.
- What do you want most for your birthday?
I want everyone to get drunk with me and have a good time. Really. I just want my friends to show up and grin at me and give me a big hug. Wearing a sparkly hat would be a plus, but is unnecessary.
- So when you're titling yourself in your head, assuming you do that of course, do you have like a whole list of stuff like: Scientess. Photographer. Tank killer. Acrobat.
Or do you just pick the one that you're doing most of at the time, or do you have one that you use ALL the time like you're a Photographer who's just blowing up a tank in her spare time?
I never thought of it as titling myself, but I do that in a way. Except it’s more like a rotating series of hats. When I wake up in the morning, I put on my Runner Bean Hat before I have time to think too hard about the fact that holy crap it’s half six and what the hell am I doing, putting on my trainers to go trotting around the Thames at this hour? Then I get back, shower and have my breakfast, and put on my Worrying Hat so while I commute, I can listen to Radio 4 and cluck over the state of the world, or read my historical non-fiction and cluck over the state of the world 20, 40 or 500 years ago. At work, I alternate between Scientess Hat, Engineer Hat, Perky Telecon Participant Hat and Teacher Hat. On my way home, I concentrate on not eating the person next to me whilst wearing my Hungry Hat. Either I cook supper in my Wary Chemist Hat, or I chomp down supper that’s been prepared by my flatmates in my Grateful, Going-To-Do-the-Washing-Up Hat. I put on my Creative Hat for an hour or two and make myself do something artistic – photography, painting or writing. Finally, I don my Sleepy Hat and clamber under the duvet with a less weighty fiction book.
Of course, when the bloke is around, all this goes out the window, and I parade up and down in the Sparkly Hat of Sexy to try to get him into bed.
(P.S. The rest of your comment was most endearing. Thank you.)
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