By C.L. Beck
“If you were an actor, in what movies would you have starred?” Shirley Bahlmann, our writing group moderator, adjusted her tiara as she posed the question. Anyone who’s met Shirley knows she’s a kid at heart. She said she wore the plastic crown because she’d been involved in something at the elementary school, but I’m guessing she really wanted to be princess for a day.
“Write your list of movies for next week’s assignment,” Shirley continued. She’s a lot of fun, but if she keeps giving homework where we have to write about ourselves, I’m going to insist that she turn in her crown.
I could hear my husband, Russ, groan under his breath. Was it because he felt the same way about the homework or was it the burrito he had before class? I’m voting on the burrito. They do it to him every time.
It’s early in the morning now. I haven’t had breakfast, much less a burrito, and I’m sitting here groaning, too. Is it because I hate writing about myself or is it because of the six Twinkies and chili-cheese dip I ate at midnight?
I’ll never tell.
But just in case you’re interested, here are the movies I came up with and the parts I would have played.
• Night of the Living Dead: I’ve heard I’m a dead (no pun intended) ringer for a zombie.
• Grapes of Wrath: It’s with the greatest humility that I say I could have easily won the part of a grape.
• The Muppets Take Manhattan: Hey, everybody wants to be a Muppet. I would have been Big Bird. Or Animal. Or Kermie. Or … ooo, ooo, me, me. Put me in as Miss Piggy. (I probably deserve the part after last night’s snacking episode.)
• The Sons of Katie Elder: Well, pilgrim. Let me get my boots and ten-gallon hat and I’ll play the Duke. Ok, wait, I realize there’s a gender issue here. How about if I play Maureen O’Hara? Aye, 'tis true, there’ll be none fairer than she in all the land of Ireland.
• The Old Man and the Sea: The way I’m floundering around with this, I’m sure I could have played a fish.
• Moby Dick: After that midnight snack last night, it would seem I’m perfect for the role of a very big fish. Now, now, let’s be nice. I never said I wanted to be the whale.
• One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest:
You’ll notice I left the reasons off on that final one. Why? Because they make a great last line. According to Russ, I should have starred in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest" because no one he’s ever met is more cuckoo.
(Give this exercise a try and see what you come up with. If you’d like, post your “movies” as comments so we can all enjoy them. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that the exercise really does stretch your imagination as a writer.)