25 November 2009


I'm cleaning the house, of course, because we insist on hosting Thanksgiving every year, even though both of our mothers are better cooks (and housekeepers) than we are. It's really the only way we get anything done.

Anyway, part of the adventure of cleaning is what I might find: once I found a $5 bill in my silverware drawer. Today, I uncovered a list in my handwriting on a little sheet of notebook paper. I think it's from either a creative writing exercise or a therapy exercise (same thing, really).

If my ideal life was a painting, what would it look like?
  • buy a 4 bedroom 2 bath house
  • get an MA or BFA in art
  • get married
  • have 3 babies
  • have my dog with me, plus another puppy
  • have healthy houseplants
  • live near Dan and Tenessa
  • never drive more than 20 minutes to work
  • lead a creative writing group/newspaper staff of students in Crookston or Fargo
  • publish a book.

So, okay. First of all why did I save this? When did I write it? I must've been teaching in Crookston, and not been married...but I know I didn't think I would get married until I fell in love with Shaun...so I must've written this sometime between 2000 and 2002.

Second of all, did I not read the question? I certainly copied it down. Wouldn't a better answer have been "Like Van Gogh's Sunflowers, but with poppies"? Or "The Two Fridas, but with my face and less blood & Diego"?

Thirdly, let's assess. I'm married, we have a four bedroom, three bath house, my drive to work takes 8 minutes on a good day, 12 with trains. I have no dogs, though we used to have 2 (my pupdog still lives with my mama). With just one baby (and none on the foreseeable horizon) and some mediocre health plants, I'd say I'm at just less than 50%. Of course, some of these are ridiculous. What would I do with a Master's in Art? And I don't have time to lead a bunch of creative writers anyplace, much less have two more babies. I do wish we had dogs, but Shaun doesn't....stupid point #3, screwing up my plans.

I do wish I'd dated this; maybe I should make a new list. Perhaps I should hope to travel more, or become a world-renowned karaoke singer, or...I don't know. Successfully help raise a single human to her teen years, not get fired, and continue to avoid scurvy.

That sounds about right.


Jess said...

Seems you could have done worse than 50%. I never made a list but I'm pretty sure if I had I would have been way closer to 20-30%. I know I wouldn't have planned to live in Hendrum, be working not in Music Therapy, driving a minivan, married to a Karstens or having Mom over for dinner every night. So there you go.

Jennifer said...

Ach, there are worse things. We have so much to be thankful for, even if it's not our plan.

CrystalRae said...

I'm still going to have to ask you to re-do the assignment, as you really, REALLY did NOT read the question.