I would love to make a career out of not choosing a career. Since I graduated with a major in Theatre and minor in Creative Writing, I know that, if I’m honest with myself, the rest of my life will probably be spent making a career out of not having a career. Unfortunately, what I’m very good at is just flat-out not choosing one. And it isn’t the cutesy kind of indecision that you already know the answer to, such as, “Will Bridget Jones choose Mark Darcy or Daniel Cleaver?” It’s the big sort of indecision, the core to the greatest existential questions ever posed, like, “Is Kevin Bacon immortal?”
When people ask me what I do, I usually say, “Oh, I’m a writer.” And then they say, “Cool! What do you write?” And then I go, “A blog.” Then they wait for me to say more, and I don’t.
Since graduation, I have taken up many hobbies that have absolutely nothing to do with my degree, don’t make me any money, and I’m complete shit at all of them.
Pointless Things I Have Learned To Do in Order to Avoid Real Life:
1) Learn how to knit:
I got really into knitting for about four weeks. I felt that I could be sincerely happy moving to a small town in Vermont, living on naught but maple syrup and selling my quirky doilies and pillowcases on Ebay. I would become very self-righteous about energy conservation, chopping wood for heat and bathing only in natural bodies of water. I would have lots of alone time, and grow to love solitude, perhaps take up bird watching. My few close friends would come over for tumblers of moonshine and vegetables from my garden. They would all wear scratchy, neutral-colored sweaters and never say anything negative (except, and only on very bad days, when we’d gripe about the weather).
After four weeks, I finished my first knitting project–a scarf inspired by the Gryffindor House colors–and decided that if I was going to pursue knitting as a career, I would have to take a very avant-garde approach to it, a sort of “the beauty’s in the flaws” type thing:
Plus, the Banksy of knitting lives a couple blocks away from me, and every now and then he puts his latest achievement out for anonymous public admiration.
2) Get a Netflix account.
2a) Rediscover Felicity via Netflix account.
2b) Discover Amy Jo Johnson’s (the Pink Power Ranger) “artwork.” Laugh forever.
2c) Go into a period of mourning because Noel Crane is fictional.
5) Try to learn the guitar via free online tutorials.
My brother is a damn good guitar player, and was in a number of bands in college, one of which was very good. I’ve always been into the idea of playing the guitar, but not really learning it. Since my brother has been playing guitar for the last 10 years, he has accumulated a lot of pretty guitars for his personal use, and very kindly gave me an older acoustic guitar to take back to school with me this past December. It’s been sitting in my living room since then. Now, almost a year later, I’ve decided, that it’s time I sat down and learned how to use it.
So far, I can play the third chord of “Kissing You” from Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet. I’m thinking that I’ll build my career on playing only Natalie Imbruglia songs. Well, only that one Natalie Imbruglia song that everyone knows:
6) Work on getting finger calluses to keep up learning how to play “Torn.”
I want people to look at my hands and think I’m 80 years old. I want them to think I work on a farm as a hired hand, and push (pull?) a horse-drawn plough every day for less than minimum wage. I want people to see my hands, and think of Old Rose DeWitt Bukater gripping the ship’s railing at the end of Titanic.
7) Try to get good at painting own fingernails.
8 ) Get scared that all the fingernail polish remover is softening finger calluses.
9) Buy too many Groupons for erroneous things.
9a) Attend overpriced Chess lessons purchased on Groupon, after Nextflixing Searching for Bobby Fischer.
This is where things get a little more complicated. After watching Bobby Fischer, I realized exactly what it is that I need in my life right now: a mentor. I need someone who’s been here, at this place of ambivalence, and actually made some semblance of a responsible decision in order to move forward. I need to see how to proceed, what to-do list to make.
But I don’t want just anyone. It can’t be just any successful writer or actor or professional Vermont recluse. It has to be Laurence Fishburne. I need Laurence Fishburne to sit down opposite me, lay out the Chess Pieces of Life, and give me some tough love:
They didn’t teach you how to win, they taught you how not to lose. That’s nothing to be proud of. You’re playing not to lose, Josh/Keely. You’ve got to risk losing. You’ve got to risk everything. You’ve got to go to the edge of defeat. That’s where you want to be, boy/Keely– on the edge of defeat.
Until then, I’ll be waiting.
But I, unlike some people, don’t have forever.