Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Do You Think Johnny Depp Would Live In My Living Room?

I sat down to talk about writing non-fiction comedic essays, but was so uninspired to do so (how easy is it to bore yourself?), that I've decided to forgo that lecture and discuss what's been brewing in my mind now for about a week:

Halloween.  What inspires you to creativity?

Pirates of the Caribbean Ride at DisneyWorld, Orlando, FL
If I had the chance, I would literally move into the Pirates of The Caribbean set at DisneyWorld in Orlando, FL.  In fact, it was this very setting, seeing how all of the front pieces were back lit; how they were on a make-shift river; how there were working street lights next to them--that fascinated me and made me want to repeat the ride over and over again.  (I can't believe I actually found this photo!)  I've been a theatre fag and professional actor since college, and once I stepped onto those boards and got a taste of the beauty of the imaginary world, I think someone finally had to call the cops to pull me out of it.

I've always loved the imaginary aspect of being on and interacting with a set.  I mean, think about it:  you can decorate it any way you want to, hardly ever have to clean up after yourself, and you don't have to worry about heating costs in the winter.

And there is something about the masque idea of Halloween that puts me in the mood each autumn to turn my living space into something on such a grand scale that I would need to charge admission if people were to visit.  In fact, I'm sitting here with purple twinkle lights strung all across my desk.  They've been up for the last five days.

And I can clearly envision it, too.

My living room walls would consist of the exterior face of a house.  I wouldn't paint them to look that way, I would actually nail boards up to the walls, complete with curtains on the inside of the glass windows, and a small candle in the sill on some, or a dim light behind the curtain in others, to make it look like someone was inside.  And then of course, I would have to hang a partial roof to overhang the wall, so it would look authentic.

If I really had the money and time and resources, then I would add a small creek through the living room, right next to my newly-developed house, attached to a water feature.  I've visited homes of super rich and bored people before who had a small creek running through their living rooms, and decided I wanted that one day.

I guess part of the reason I loved getting hired to perform at Haunted Nashville this year, was because the attraction had three separate attractions inside, and all of them played into my warped Halloween fantasy.  One is of a full-scale Victorian house, the second where I'll be working, is the house of inventor Tesla, and the third is a real bat cave, not to mention the full-scale, two-story graveyard, with grass, lighting, fog and trees.  These are housed inside an abandoned shopping center, so there is plenty of room left over for expanding the attractions in the coming years.

Plus, I think there's something magical and mystical (not in the spiritual sense) about having a lit set in your living room.  In fact, I get the same sensation when I decorate a doll's house.  Just being able to move things around without throwing out your back is appealing.  I've wanted a doll house now for about the last ten years, and know I can't afford the one I want.  I'd like to be able to purchase a blank shell, and then do ALL of the work on it myself, from wall-papering, to hanging the roofing shingles, one at a time.  Then, I dream about doing all the landscaping, adding a working water feature, and streetlamps, natch.  Mine will be special, however, in that it will have a working dungeon in the basement (I've never seen a doll house with a basement, so mine will be the first) that I can then really decorate for Halloween.  I want my own little cauldron of dry ice, flickering candle-less flame lights and skeletons.

Upstairs in the Victorian parlour, will be the special room saved for the elaborate Christmas decorating, but we'll save that post for a time closer to Christmas.

Have you ever let your imagination run away with you like this?  As writers, you should, on a regular basis.  Don't ever sensor yourself or stop yourself from daydreaming, because that's eventually what leads to the generation of unique ideas, and answering that age-old question, "What if?"

I've recognised that there are three specific times each and every year, like clockwork, when I allow my mind to begin daydreaming.  They are:

August:  As the air begins to hint of drops in temperatures, I begin fantasising of living in a Medieval Castle, complete with torchieres, candelabras and flowing fabrics

September:  With the average temperature now 10-15-degrees less than summer and the sun riding lower in the sky, the temptation of falling leaves and warm blankets send me into daydreaming of haunted houses, sets in living rooms, and other imaginary worlds

November:  Now that the frost is here and the left-over turkey gone, I turn my whirring mind to high-Victorian parlours and drawing rooms, furnished with expansive trees, spicy smells, and log fires.

I've noticed that this free-wheeling daydreaming also help to inspire my art.  I usually end up creating 3D digital worlds based on my hunger for parlours, dungeons and castles.  I'll share those with you soon.

Here are some cool photos I snapped three years ago while in WV visiting my farm family.  I had just decorated the old, expansive porch for Halloween and started playing around with my crappy digital camera.

This is actually a photo of one of those ceramic houses that you buy (like those Christmas village pieces), that was lit only with the orange twinkle lights.  I just thought it added something really spooky.

Here is a far-away view of the porch, lit only by the twinkle lights that I strung down the stairs and the black-lite twinkle lights I hung in clumps from the wooden ceiling.  The house was a mess and nearly unlivable, but oh, how I LOVED that spooky-looking porch!  So much fun to decorate.

In this one, you can see the candle lanterns hanging overhead!  I didn't realise, until going through all these old photos, that I actually had a nice juicy close-up of the two lanterns.  And while I certainly didn't plan it, somehow, thanks to the crap quality of that digital camera (no worries--I have a nice one in which I invested to take digital jewelery photos), I ended up with some innocuous purple halos that are spook-a-licious!

This photo, again crap quality, is of my sliding-glass doors.  In the doors, you can see my 4' wrought-iron candelabra with five purple candles burning, and I added some pumpkin twinkle lights.  Hey--when I get into a holiday, I really get INto it.

These last two were me, sitting on my porch one night in the light of the twinkles, and realising that simply by moving my head up or down by a mere few inches, it drastically changed my profile.

Thank-you for allowing me to share this with you.  When I began this article, I was so uninspired and now, I'm excited again--that adrenaline rush at being able to create is very high.

So, now.  What about YOU?  What makes you inspired to daydream?

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