Some artists can create from their imagination. They imagine what a lemon looks like and paint it. I paint a lemon from a still life. My imagination is narrow.
Ask me what I would do if I won the lottery. I can imagine a wealthy life with a driver named Jeeves, walk in closets adorned with wooden slots for handbags, smelling of French soap, with room enough to accommodate a chaise. I’ll have sculpted arms and a tight little stomach, thanks to my personal trainer, and all my free time at the gym. My hair will be glossier thanks to the stylist who gives me blowouts and mani / pedis in my home. I’ll have space for copper pots, for my French mandolin, my Kitchen Aide electrics… I’ll have space! Of course there will be important, introspective, art on my walls, and décor that matches my taste in shoes. Enormous windows. Skylights. French lessons. A bathtub big enough to point my toes in. Thick coral atop colorful coffee table books. My bookshelves would be organized and somehow the titles wouldn’t clash. There will be a boat, and clothes that look like I’ve just stepped off it. I’ll write and volunteer more than I do now. And I’ll take myself on more artist dates. I will buy Linus a backyard. That’s where my imagination gets clipped. And just forget about pretending; I’m wretched at it.
Don’t get me wrong, if he hasn’t called, or doesn’t want me, or didn’t show up when he said he would, my imagination superintends all reason. I’m not stupid. I mean, although people use it as an excuse for “I’m sorry” all the time, I never imagine an accident and begin to phone hospitals. More like, he met someone and is having seex in a cab, drunk and tipping Mohammed too much. I can imagine that just fine. I can’t pretend it’s fine the next day, despite flowers, I’m sorrys and I’ll be better next time you’ll sees.
The song “Nothing” in Chorus Line is about a woman who couldn’t pretend to be a bobsled or ice cream cone, so she was kicked out of her acting class. In Miracle on 34th Street, small Susan refuses to play “zoo” with the other children. And why should I pretend to be a monkey when I’m a girl? Pretend to be an animal—excuse me, I can’t do that. I can’t pretend.
I have a very rich inner life. I’m always the one sitting in a corner or propped up against a wall at bars or parties, or hiding behind my camera. I am happy in there… in my own head, just watching. Sometimes I do things just to write about them… shouldn’t it be the other way around? I have an acute sense of awareness, noticing details and behavior. I’m not the most imaginative or colorful writer… I draw from what I observe, not from what I imagine. I’ve been eating carrots all my life; my eyes are punctual. I watch people pretend they’re happy behind stiff smiles and manufactured laughs. They don’t know what to do with their hands. When they gave out this ability of faking it, I must have been talking or adjusting my tiara in the bathroom mirror. It’s like faking an orgasm; what’s the point?