Only recently have I come to realize the incredible truth that many of us, as American citizens, are given an amazing opportunity to follow our dreams. You can, quite literally, be whatever you want to be, and even if your wildest aspirations aren’t quite attainable, you still have the opportunity to seek the fulfillment of those desires. Most other people from most of the rest of the world can’t say that, which may indicate just why they call it the American Dream.
Still, not everything one wishes to do is deemed universally acceptable. Parents still discourage their boys from playing with dolls “designed” for girls, as if there were a fundamental difference between a Ken doll and a G.I.Joe. This example is humorous to me, since you could easily put Ken in Roadblock’s clothes and send him off to fight COBRA, just as easily as you could put Flint in one of Ken’s cardigans and let him take Barbie to the movies. Now that we’ve determined that encouraging imagination in certain forms won’t make your son gay, or your daughter a biker gang groupie, why haven’t we wholly embraced the child’s imagination, for it’s own sake?
When I was young, we were strongly discouraged from misusing firearms. Even on the rare occasion that we had a toy gun in the house, there was no pointing it at the dog, and strict safety rules applied. The reason? We had real guns in the house, and it was important that my brother and I be raised with a masterful understanding of their potentials. But, even in households where Nerf pistols are used to terrorize the cat, are we necessarily teaching those kids to be violent and disregard life? How many youngsters dressed up as cowboys and struck out west to chase outlaws, only to grow up and become movie directors, fast food cashiers, and business accountants?
Until about a month ago, few people had the imagination to create a world where a woman might be president. Here we are, and if no one has done so already, welcome to 2016. In the same time frame, we are also finding the imagination for believing that a reality TV host can be president. I know that this suspended disbelief was forced upon most of us, yet here we are, imagining the possibilities.
Now imagine what wonders the world would hold, if more people let their imaginations run wild all the time…
I’ve done my share of imagining the possibilities, which is the only way anyone can find a clear path to the wonderful world of realization, and have completed many endeavors because of it. My live band, The Alphabet Asylum, is still hard at work on their long awaited second album, but there wouldn’t have even been a first album, if we didn’t hadn’t dreamed it was possible. Twelve years ago, a good friend of mine dared to dream that we could be on TV, and so we produced 42 episodes of a public access sitcom. Fast forward to this year, and we put ten more sitcom episodes under our belt, and released them on YouTube.
I wrote my first feature length screenplay, with more to come, and am now working on a new project, with one of my creativity co-conspirators, a dramatic sci-fi mini series. This all illustrates what imagination and a little drive can accomplish, but what does it have to do with gender roles? I’m glad you asked.
I am also hard at work on my first (serious attempt at) writing a full-length mystery novel. I had originally wanted to put a character from my college creative writing days, a hard-boiled Sam Spade type, into a new book, and got about fifty pages into it before my wife suggested I might find more success by writing a cozy mystery.
For those of you who didn’t click the link, a “cozy” is a sub-genre of mystery novels that are almost exclusively written from the first person perspective of a woman. They are also written almost exclusively by women; I can’t actually find a female driven cozy series written by a man. And why not? Are men not interested in writing for this genre, incapable, or is it something that we haven’t yet imagined could happen?
As the roles of men and women bleed together, to more and more become the roles of humanity, who’s to say there won’t be a place for my spunky young female detective? And who’s to say that Hilary won’t keep out of jail long enough to do a wonderful job as president? She obviously had an imagination strong enough to picture herself doing what she was raised to believe was the impossible, otherwise she never would have even tried.
You can only become as big as you can dream, so the sky’s the limit on that imagination. And don’t let anyone tell you it’s not possible…especially Stacy.