If you could quit your day job and your quality of life wouldn’t change, what would you do?
I do have to say upfront that I am not currently at my ideal quality of life. I am not in hell, but I want and need some things to improve. Part of that improvement will be contingent upon how well my freelance reboot goes in 2012. So I will approach this prompt as though it were asking me if I could have my as yet unrealized ideal quality of life, and hold on to it without working.
That being said, I am a story teller. I would spend almost all of my time facilitating the telling of stories. Stories to move, to entertain, to illicit thought, to frighten, to comfort. Stories of being human, or what it should be to be so. I excel at doing this in two ways. Through my writing, and through my work in the theatre. And despite the fact that I spend a great deal of time on both now, (I am a freelance writer after all), the lack of needing money all the time would open up avenues of pursuit that right now are not as attainable I dare say.
For starters, I’d spend more time researching and experiencing the things that can help a writer become a better story teller, outside of the words themselves. Traveling. Visiting museums. Attending shows and concerts. (I am a firm believer that participating in one of the arts improves one’s ability in the others.) Some days I am sure I would just spend pacing about working out a plot, or once in a while a specific sentence. I do this a bit now and I know it takes up more time than it should for this freelancer. But with money being no object I could be more at ease to do so.
The prompt doesn’t mention if I have unlimited money in this alternate universe, or if simply my quality of life doesn’t suffer once I quit my job. But assuming I can live my life at leisure because of money, in addition to my greater focus on writing my own way, I would either buy some kind of medium sized theatre venue, or buy another building and convert it into same, for the sake of housing my own theatre company. A company that despite my resources would remain modest in means and accoutrements, but big on material, talent and dedication. One that I could build, mold, and run according to my vision of theatre. A company I could take around to other venues for visiting performances, while hosting the performances of others in my venue.
I’d spend my time promoting, brainstorming, writing, acting, connecting, directing, and just in general creating art by way of this company and this venue. And of course my time running the theatre would inform my writing, and my writing would inform my acting/theatre work. Art nourishing art, creating a product in both cases into which I can pour my heart and mind, and subsequently offer to the community at large for their betterment. Their enjoyment. Their enlightenment.
And to do so without guilt. The guilt of being in debt. Of struggling to pay bills. Of writing things in my own pace instead of according to a deadline. The guilt of…well you understand by now. Pursuing the passions within my spirit without feeling the need to justify it. Truth be told, I have gotten better at just doing what it is to be me without explanation in the last few years. I even said once I’d rather be a pauper and a story teller than a self sufficient man with a cubicle. Not sexy to most people, but it is closer to being authentic than anything else.
Yet I would be lying if I said that guilt hadn’t held back my art somewhat even now. I hope that I don’t have to become rich in order for me to finally feel free to be the story teller I want to be and can be, in both writing and theatre. Hopefully I can find a way to make these contributions without having to abandon the idea of making any money. I believe I can.
Yet in this little fantasy, money is not an issue, and therefore writing and theatre, and the auxiliary things that improve those arts, would take up the lion’s share of my time.