You know, Emerson, I can only write about the same thing so many times. But whatevs.
If I could have anything I want, live any possible life, this is what is would be:
First, I'd be Dave McKean. Not literally, of course -- my husband is already a large man with a large beard, I don't think it would work out. But I would be a wonderful mix of traditional artist, digital artist, and photographer. I'd create dark, creepy images pulled from the corners of my mind, and I'd be great at it!
Second, I would do this in a Chicago two flat, four bedroom (two per flat) gray or brownstone. Preferably by the lake and very private. We'd live downstairs, and my studio would be upstairs. The living area would be my office and painting area, the dining room would be my work area and occasional dining room, one bedroom would be my photography studio and there would be a guest bedroom for guests who are allergic to cats. The kitchen would be commercial, and I'd rent it out to local chefs who need workspace. It would have a beautiful rooftop garden where I could go hang out in the sun and there'd be no one to bother me. We'd also have a furnished basement with a pool table for Dox where he could go and no one would bother him (and where he could put all his fraking toys!).
Third, my hobby would be a food site. Bitespot is my sorely neglected little food blog, but I would turn it into a full-fledged site with lots of cooking resources and food history. I would travel the world and take cooking classes and share what I learn. I would travel the U.S. and document tea houses with writing and photography. My tea house documentation would get turned into a series of beautiful coffee table books.
So there. You can tell I've thought about this.
I think I've more than covered my obstacles to becoming Dave McKean (or some reasonable facsimile). All I can do is work towards all that and enjoy the journey.
The two-flat? I'm well aware of the cost of real estate in Chicago. Even in this depressed market, the only way I see us ever being able to buy something like that is if Dox realizes his dream of owning a bar, and it happens to be very successful. It's possible -- he'd be great at it, but it's a risky business and he's not the greatest at taking risks. Even if it worked out, the cost of owning something like that would be pretty tremendous, and I'm not sure it'd really be worth it. My much more reasonable dream is a little bungalow, where I could have a small studio space, a lot of privacy and Dox could have his basement. I think that's a lot more realistic.
The food site? Time and energy. I've learned to at least try and focus -- working on a robust site like that would take a lot of resources, and I could only see doing it if I reached a point where I was artistically satisfied and felt like I could take on something else. Traveling takes money, and as I said, I'm working on that. Documenting tea houses would take photography skills, something I'd like to work on one day, but learning to draw and paint comes first.
I'm most definitely the type of person that believes that anything is possible. but I also think I have a healthy understanding of what is probable. A couple of years ago, my intuition told me that it was time to try and buy a condo. My gut told me, through the entire, very long process that it was going to happen. My logical brain remained cynical. There were a lot of conditions that had to be met for this to work out, and our options were very limited. It worked out fabulously (so far), but until we closed, and the documents were signed, I wasn't going to believe it, or talk too much about it, or possibly jinx it in any way. It's the way I've always been -- I have strong intuition, and I'll go with it, but I proceed very, very cautiously. More cautiously as I get older. While I agree wholeheartedly with Amanda Palmer, I always have to have a Plan B. It's who I am.
At this point in my life my logical side tells me that my dreams are not very likely, but that I could be successful enough to be perfectly happy. My intuition? Who knows -- anything could happen.