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Reporter's Notebook

YOUNG CHANG --

August 10, 2001

Britney, Christina, Mandy and Jessica: Much of the world may mock you

and claim you can't sing, but I'm proud to call myself a fan.

I know most of the lyrics to most of your songs and repeated episodes

in cheesy karaoke rooms have put me in my place: "Oops I Did It Again,"

not to mention "Genie in a Bottle," are near impossible to pull off.

And to homemakers everywhere: I wish I could do what you do.

If I weren't a reporter, I'd sing or make a home.

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It's hard for me to compare anything, really, to the fun of writing.

But if I could bear the envy of reading newspapers without a newsroom to

call my own, if I could forget the thrill of making a bunch of words more

than just a bunch of words, then I'd strive to make the final cut in the

next girl-band call or raise really good kids in a really cozy house with

a huge and cluttered kitchen that has an island in the center and smells

of pies.

The pies would be made from apples grown on apple trees in my

imaginary backyard. The kids would think I was a hip mom and tell me

everything -- even the bad things. The husband would let the kitchen be

all mine.

They'd all go to work or school, and I would happily cook and clean

all day. I'd get to all the corners and even under the bed. I'd collect

recipes and make my own Rolodex of sweets.

I'd make our home the coolest place to be.

If not this, I'd strive to take the pop world by storm.

Belt it out like Christina Aguilera and strive for a voice like Emily

Saliers of the Indigo Girls.

My friend recently made me two CDs of all my favorite songs. With old

pictures he had taken of me, he splashed my face across the covers of

both the blank discs and made me look like the singer of all the songs.

He knows I'm a closet pop-star wannabe.

He knows I daydream about making amazing music with the simple tool

that is my voice, knows my childhood fantasy is to rent out a studio and

record myself all day.

If I were less terrified of being onstage, if I could handle singing

karaoke without getting clammy hands, I would've begged my mom to give me

singing lessons and make me a teen star.

Not that I can sing. But I wish I could.

It's a tie between the two -- becoming the next female pop icon and

making a really good home.

But for daydreams, I can live with a tie.

And I daydream because I can -- because it's harmless to wonder about

second best.

-- YOUNG CHANG writes features. She may be reached at (949) 574-4268

or by e-mail at o7 young.chang@latimes.comf7 .

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