March 22 13

My daughter has another big audition coming up—principal in a movie. What this means for us is that when the sides comes in, Emily and I sit down and have a conversation about the character—who she is, what she likes, how she might behave, how she might dress. And then we learn the lines. And learn them some more. And learn them some more. And then we run them. I have played the dad, the mom, Jane and Michael Banks, the sister, the friend, the classmate, the Tin Man, the uncle, the cousin, the entire cast of Hairspray, the bus driver, the teacher, the neighbor. And you know what? I have played them pretty damn well.

“You should totally be an actress too, Mama. You are awesome at this.”

“In another lifetime, sweets.”


I mean, save for the time when I really wanted so desperately to be a Mouseketeer on the Mickey Mouse Club and that time I played the lead in my 8th grade play, The Scheme of the Driftless Shifter, acting was not something I ever thought about. I mean, I grew up in Milwaukee. Unless you are Laverne and Shirley, no one is really knocking down doors for you.

But it got me thinking.

What could I do if I wasn’t doing what I am doing right now.

Don’t get me wrong. What I am doing right now is pretty awesome.

I have a day job that I love and I can work in pajamas if I want to (Spoiler alert: some days I want to).

I’m a photographer. I get to play with light and really, truly see people. It’s beyond wonderful.

But recently I was watching Zach Braff do the talk show circuit for his role as the monkey companion in Oz: The Great and Powerful. And interestingly, no one really wanted to talk about him being a monkey. They wanted to talk to him about his Grammy award. Yes, you guys. Zach Braff, the actor, has a Grammy award in his possession. That he won, legitimately.

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 9.36.29 AM

His award, interestingly, is for compiling the soundtrack to the movie Garden State. Remember that one? The soundtrack that Natalie Portman promised would change my life?

Yeah, well, it kind of did. I loved the hell out of that album.

But, you guys, I COULD DO THAT. I could compile excellent movie soundtracks. It’s a gift I have, really. I could even compile the soundtracks for television shows. The OC? I could have done that. One Tree Hill? Yes! I could be sitting here right now, staring my Grammy award in the face.

Who knew this was a thing you could do and win awards for and make lucrative careers out of? It’s a thing I do all the damn time—mix tapes for the soul.

So, in another lifetime I create soundtracks for movies and tween television shows.

And I would be an actress, apparently.

What would you be?




  1. An archaeologist. Not very glamourous, but always in the back of my head.

    Comment by Kat on March 22, 2013
  2. If I could sing, I would be a rockstar. But, otherwise, I would be me, only a novelist. I would still be a mom, a great friend, a kind soul, and slightly crazy. Because I like those things about myself.

    Comment by mara on March 22, 2013
  3. Why couldn’t you be all of those things?

    Comment by ali on March 22, 2013
  4. The rockstar? Only in the Milli Vanilli kind of way. The other..yeah. I could do that, I guess. :). And you, why can’t you make those soundtracks. DO it.

    Comment by mara on March 22, 2013
  5. I truly love everything I do and I have a hard time imagining what I would be doing if I didn’t end up where I am today. I think it would be something in food. A chef, a nutritionist…something along those lines. Then of course, my childhood dream was to be a flight attendant or an air traffic controller. So there’s also that 🙂

    Comment by Gwen on March 22, 2013
  6. Hmm. First of all, I want you to make me a mix tape. Or put together a list of songs I’ll love! 😉
    What would I be doing? I’ve always thought about what you said—the music in movies especially, moves me. Like the soundtrack to Cruel Intentions or Dazed And Confused? LOVE. I always think it must be the most fun job ever to do that.
    I would like to do what I’m doing now, because I love writing and blogging, but I’d take it up a level… I’d love to travel the globe, and get paid to write about my travels!

    Comment by Loukia on March 22, 2013
  7. I’ve always wanted to be a casting director (I’m still clinging on to this dream). I really should have been a Marine Biologist though, but that would have meant a lot more school and way less partying…

    Comment by Sandy on March 22, 2013
  8. No question. On a stage, on broadway. My biggest dream when I was a kid.
    But, that being said, I love my job, I love my writing job and I love my family. Plus, I do small theatre here from time to time to appease the acting bug.

    Good luck with the audition!!

    Comment by Nuala Reilly on March 22, 2013
  9. As a kid I wanted to be a singer. However I don’t want that life. Now I’d say a profiler for the FBI. Why yes, I do watch too much Criminal Minds.

    Comment by Issa on March 22, 2013
  10. Stay at home Dad.

    Comment by Corey Feldman on March 22, 2013
  11. I have no idea what I would do. That’s weird, isn’t it? The only thing I can think of is writer or stay at home mom. I really like most of the things I’ve done. I used to say PR director of an NFL team, but I did my time there and that was plenty.

    Also, how come this is the first I’m hearing about this audition? I just spent 6 days with you guys!

    Comment by Kristabella on March 22, 2013
  12. She just got it…on…Tuesday I think?

    Comment by ali on March 22, 2013
  13. 1) A travel writer.

    2) Funny you should mention yours. My SO and I are mulling over what to give away as favors for our small intimate and casual wedding “ceremony”. We want it very casual, interesting and US. So….I’m keep ing an eye on music, and ….it is harder than it looks.

    Comment by RAE ANN on March 22, 2013
  14. It IS harder than it looks. I know! Everyone’s all…oh I can do that. But it’s not easy. I have spent lots of time perfecting the skill!

    Comment by ali on March 22, 2013
  15. A comedian. Well, that’s something I am still trying to do in this life.

    I think in another life, I have a photographer’s eye, so I would have been a professional photographer.

    Or a woman.

    Comment by Avitable on March 22, 2013
  16. I was going to say photographer too…but I felt since that IS something I am trying to do, it didn’t count. Heh.

    Comment by ali on March 22, 2013
  17. That’s why I can’t say comedian. 🙂

    I just want to be Lotus.

    Comment by Avitable on March 22, 2013
  18. Massage therapist… or a stripper.
    But NOT a combination of the two. Ever.

    Comment by Nenette on March 22, 2013
  19. An accountant. That was the plan before I was a pregnant cheerleader in my senior year of high school.

    Comment by Jen Wilson on March 22, 2013
  20. ps. One Tree Hill music is THE BEST.

    Comment by Jen Wilson on March 22, 2013
  21. I know. So good, right?

    Comment by ali on March 23, 2013
  22. It’s a good fantasy job, but producing a compilation album is only fun when you first present your dream track list. After that, it’s board rooms, royalty reports, rejections and frustration and it can take months. Glamourous!

    Comment by karengreeners on March 23, 2013
  23. Way to squash my imaginary dream job, Green. Hahahah. 🙂

    Comment by ali on March 23, 2013
  24. Puppeteer on sesame street. No question! Education thru songs and puppets. What could be better?

    Comment by Dana on March 24, 2013
  25. This might be my favorite answer yet.

    Comment by alimartell on March 24, 2013
  26. If I could come back and change my what I do, I would have become a travelling teacher. I would to work my away around the world teaching to pay my way.

    Comment by AlwaysARedhead on March 24, 2013
  27. If I wasn’t doing what I’m doing…I would be a baker. I would have my own show like Anna Olsen. People would flock to my small bakery for the best banana bread in the world. My cakes would be made with buttercream…no fondant. Messy icings only!

    Comment by Tasha on March 25, 2013
  28. Totally a doctor. Hands down. Biggest regret is effing up in school and not focusing….and you know dropping science after grade 11.

    Comment by Sara on March 26, 2013
  29. Dude. I seriously (seriously) almost went down the music supervisor path after I moved back from NYC. How have we not discussed this?!

    Comment by Heather on March 27, 2013
  30. I have thought a lot about this…mostly right after buying my lottery ticket and planning my post-win life.
    1. Social anthropologist. I am an expert on eavedropping on people conversations, asking people too-personal probing questions, and peeking into people’s windows when I’m out running (that last one sounds creepier than it is). I am completely fascinated by the lives of others.
    2. Farmer. I’m working on this one…

    Comment by Cayla on December 5, 2013
  31. I’d be a novelist. Or a profiler for the FBI. I’ve always loved the thought of that job.

    Comment by Issa on December 5, 2013

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