Monday, June 6, 2011

Dream Jobs

DEBS: I debated chatting about something timely today, like VS Naipul's assertion last week that women can't write as well as men. (Not reading one of your long, boring books, Mr. Naipul, by the way.) But then I decided that we would all be grinding our teeth in irritation, getting the week off to a very bad start, and that we should talk about something fun instead.

A couple of weeks ago, Roberta asked what we wanted to be when we grew up, and how that turned out for us.

That started me thinking about dream jobs. What would we do if we could pick something that we don't do now and have never done? (Or are likely to do in real life.) No qualifications or experience required, as it is, after all, the fantasy job. Astronaut? Archeologist? Spy? Jockey?

I'm fascinated by all those things, and might have done any of them if I were a little more adventurous in spirit and tougher in body. (Or better at math.)

But the thing that always make me say, "Ooh, I'd LOVE to do that!" ?

I want to be in the MOVIES.

And no, not in front of the camera. No way. My dream job would be to design sets, especially interiors. I'm one of those incredibly nerdy people who will watch the extra materials on DVDs over and over to listen to the commentary by the art director, and will play scenes back just to study what the sets convey about the story, the setting, the period, and the characters. Think Lionel Logue's office in The King's Speech. Or Tony Stark's house in Iron Man. Or The Burrow in the Harry Potter movies . . . The list is endless, and makes me giddy. And wouldn't the shopping be fun?

So, Jungle Reds, assume the world is your oyster. What would YOU do?

JAN: Well, if talent goes with the dream, I'd be Taylor Swift, writing and singing country songs on the big stage, touring the world, and writing best selling songs about the people who bummed me out in high school. Otherwise, I'd really like to be a director. I directed actors in the small video trailer I did for Teaser and I had the time of my life. it was like writing, only in three dimensions. My third choice is to go back to school and become a psychologist. I love brain stuff, and right now I'm talking to returning veterans and writing about EMDR therapy and I'm thinking what a meaningful job it would be to help someone overcome the traumas in life.

ROSEMARY: So hard to say since one's dream can so quickly turn into one's nightmare. I was about to say professional tennis player - but only if I could be in the top five. But even then someone would always be nipping at your heels and you'd have to prove yourself 100 times a year. So then I thought about owning a wonderful Victorian house and opening an inn or bookshop - but I was put off by all the strangers I'd have to invite into my home. Next up was the vintage clothing store. That was nixed quickly since sometimes going through old clothing can be skeery. The heroine in my books is a gardener and that would be fun and I'd get a great workout, but people are so hard to please and they'd probably blame you for deer, slugs and things over which you really have no control.

I'd really like to be Oprah. She can do good. She can make stuff happen. No one cares how much she weighs. She has great hair and skin. She probably never worries about parking or her wifi connection or getting tickets to anything. She probably never waits in line. That's it. I want to be Oprah.

HALLIE: Never having to wait in line...ever. That part I could get used to. Ditto, waving my magic wand and "making stuff happen." The rest of what Oprah does is too hard and I'd have trouble being that "nice." My dream job would involve travel, eating, and wearing comfortable shoes. Being a restaurant critic (like Lucy Burdette only for a fancy travel magazine--Yoo hoo, Conde Naste!) would suit me just fine.

RHYS: I also considered being the world's number one tennis player, but it's a stressful life, always living out of a suitcase, always having to compete. I'd like to be an intrepid explorer, meeting primitive tribes and talking to gorillas--because I love reading about such exploits, as long as I don't have to wade through water full of leeches. I'd also like to be a famous opera singer with a divine voice. I used to sing in an opera chorus and would love to be Violetta in La Traviata or Madama Butterfly. Or I'd like to be a better writer than VS Naipal!!

HANK: Rhys, you already are.

ROBERTA: Okay this is fun--I'd like to start by being a top ten lady golfer and win the US Open. "On the tee, from Key West, Florida...please welcome Lucy Burdette. She came to golf very late but she's taken the golf world by storm...She's a lot smaller and older than most of the golfers we see on the tour, but her brilliant short game makes up for that."

Next I'd like to be EmmyLou Harris or Bonnie Raitt, except I can't stay up late enough to do all those evening, another idea would be to be a top level manager in a big, big company run mostly by strong women. The kind of company that donates a ton of money to worthy causes and helps women feel good about themselves by offering good jobs. And then Rosemary could have me on her Oprah show and I'd donate cars to everyone in the audience, but only if they give their old cars to someone who needs one. In fact I think there's a boatload of creative and organizational talent amongst the Jungle Reds and I bet this could really happen...

Except I really love writing and working in my yoga clothes and I couldn't do all that if I was an important executive. oh well...

HANK: Really? I missed it, maybe, but being a blockbuster New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of really good books that people love and talk about and share, that'd be pretty nice. Notice I said books, plural. I'd like to write them from my house in France for a third of the year, and then maybe in Italy, and then home for the other third. Maybe..I could be a documentary producer, yeah, that would be great. Do important, world-changing, or at least intriguing documentaries (yoo hooo PBS and HBO and AMC and History channel) about current events or history or the arts. Or, be a ballerina, but that's so impossible, what with the bulimia and all. OR be Linda Ronstadt, with that great voice, and come out to a crowd of happy fans and sing something powerful and terrific. (And some day ask me about my astronaut decision. Pretty funny)

Debs, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Can I be in your movie?

DEBS: Okay, you guys have made me sound really dull . . . and you never fail to amaze me with your inventiveness. Now I have a whole other list of things that would be cool to do (except I'm not too fond of golf. Sorry, Roberta!) But I hope we all get to do the New York Times Bestselling author bit, and writing from my house in France or Tuscany wouldn't be bad, or even from my fantasy flat in London. I've never been interested in the fame part of being famous, but some of the perks wouldn't be half bad. So in the words of famous and regularly-bleeped Stephen Tyler, Dream On!

What about you, Jungle Red readers? What's your fantasy job?


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Art forger, er, restorer. It would be so much fun to put one over on the snobbish experts. And there's a nice combination of art and science involved.

    But I like Hank's vision too. I'd substitute a cottage in Ireland (easy to drop in on France from there), with satellite Internet.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. If need to make a living and increasingly arthritic knees were not an issue, I'd love to be a Maine Guide who would run programs for women and girls who want to become confident and comfortable in wild, natural settings.

    Like a feminist Outward Bound. We could canoe Maine's rivers, hike its peaks, kayak to its gorgeous islands. Small groups. Some with middle-aged women only. Some with women who just graduated college. And some mixed. It'd love the logistics of planning such trips and the being outdoors part.

    My partner thinks I should get a gig on the Food Channel about cooking outdoors (when camping or on the backyard deck) and I must admit that would be a kick, too.

    Brenda Buchanan

  5. So fun to just dream wild. I was going to say being a midwife (such a miracle to watch babies be born) or a doctor, except I wouldn't want that responsibility. As with Brenda, if all body parts were go, I think I'd want to be a dancer. Any kind - Latin, free-style, tap - as long as I could do it for a living and probably teach it, too. Or be a musician or a singer. Right, in the house in Tuscany!


  6. Yes. All of the above. Except maybe tennis and golf because..uhm...even while I played when I was younger, they never really fired the imagination. Softball and baseball and even football, yes! I'd love to be a D1 softball coach, but after just watching the Women's College World Series, that's too stressful. I rather like the sound of NYT best seller with a summer home in Ireland/Scotland/Rocky Mountains and a winter home somewhere on a white sand beach.

    Being an top-line insurance fraud investigator could be fun. Sort of like Catherine Banning in "The Thomas Crown Affair." Yeah, especially if I happened to look like Rene Russo. LOL

    One last dream--riding for the US Olympic Equestrian Team. Yeah. That would be very cool!

  7. I think we should start a Jungle Red colony in Tuscany or the south of France :-)

  8. What a fun topic. I love seeing how our collective imaginations can run wild.

    As a recent riding enthusiast (did not mount a horse until I was 55), I'd also enjoy being on the US Olympic Equestrian Team. But since I will not learn to jump until later this summer, just six weeks before my 60th birthday, I suspect that will not happen. But a girl can dream, right?

    Second choice: Travel writer, especially exotic travel, and especially if I could spend extended periods in various interesting places, and really soak up the culture.

  9. Is there a job that allows one to sit around all day reading? That's what I want to do. (It needs to pay enough for me to hire a housekeeper and a cook so boring household concerns don't interrupt my quality book time!)

  10. We're only listing things there's no possibility we'll ever make a living at, right? Because otherwise we'd be out pursuing our realistic dream. So . . . I want to be a professional ballroom dancer on Dancing with the Stars and wear sexy costumes and get my make-up done and have a hot bod. (I don't have to workout hard for that, do I? This is fantasy-ville.) Oh, and I don't want to have to dance with anyone obnoxious or who doesn't stand close enough to the soap when he showers, or who doesn't have good dental hygiene. (Funny how so many of us want to be dancers.)

  11. Two things--an explorer and a Disney Imagineer.

  12. Brenda, a show aobut cooking outdoors is BRILLIANT. I mean--it could work!

  13. Yeah, what is it about dancing?

    And Debs, the JR colony? I'm so IN.
    Just tell me where to show up.

  14. I've always wanted to be a chef--or maybe own a tea room and do all the cooking. Or a B&B, except I hate to change bed linens. The part about writing from a house abroad intrigues me, and having just returned from Scotland, my "writing house" would be on the wild, remote Isle of Skye. Dream on, indeed.

  15. Judy, I'm with you on Skye, except it's COLD :-)

    We all think it would be so glamorous to be a dancer, but, ouch. I've know a few professional dancers. It's a life of constant pain, and the clock is always ticking on when your body is going to give out. I'd stick with singing, and we can hope to be crooning long past sixty-four.

    Or maybe writing. Now there's a thought.

  16. Deborah, you're right. Skye was cold, windy and wet in late May. I doubt I'd like it in February. Maybe I should specify June, July and August.