Dancing & Writing

Post Grad Duck #24

I’m a writer. There’s nothing particularly ornate or peculiar about this fact–it’s just a fact. As such, I think there is a stigma I place on myself that screams, “You must have something interesting to say…ALWAYS.” Some of the most beautiful words and stories I’ve read have been by people that I believe have something interesting to say. Richard Wright’s heart-wrenching yet oddly exciting story “Native Son,” F. Scott Fitzgerald’s narrative of the relationship between an alcoholic Father and his daughter in “Babylon Revisted,” Mathew Dicks’ clever tale of a young boy with autism in “Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend” or  Robert Browning’s haunting verses in one of my favorite poems “Porphyria’s Lover.” When I read what these writers had to say I was filled with wonder, awe and inspiration; but then I was also met with a pang of worry because I feared that I might not be able to write something as moving or as powerful as the greats before me. The sad fact is that I’m right, I might not ever write something as moving or as powerful as the greats before me; but we live in a world of hope and possibilities, so one day, I just might.

Okay, cool. One day, I might have an idea and I might write it down and it might turn into the next Great American Novel. But with all of this potentiality and rhythm of the unknown, I would be foolish to ignore reality. Indeed, there is a possibility for these things to happen, but its likelihood is not very high. Not because I’m not good enough, not because I don’t have anything to say, but because I’m not the only writer out there– “there” being this nebulous world of writers in big cities and small towns across America.

However, reality shouldn’t stop me. When I was in high school a friend of mine gave me a notebook that said, “If you wish to be a writer, write.” What a beautiful gift. What an encouragement. But like I said at the beginning of this post, I continually seem to put this pressure on myself of needing to always have something important to say. Well, I don’t think I always have something important to say, so I’m going to drop that word–important. Actually I’m going to drop two more as well–always and need. The result, “I have something to say.” Yes, I quite like that. It’s a sentence I can agree with that excludes all of this unnecessary pressure that seems to whisper, “everything will result in entropy.”

So, yes, I have something to say. I think we all do, really. But what is it that keeps us so often silent? What is it that tells us that our words are subpar or that our ideas are irrelevant? And what if they are irrelevant? Irrelevant in comparison to the relevant words we read every day? Who’s setting the standard of relevancy anyway? I digress, I could ask these types of rhetorical questions all day, but that wouldn’t get me very far. So here’s the thing.  I most often have something to say after I’ve done something or experienced something. I think that’s just how it goes. (I can hear some of my English professors from undergrad cringing at my painfully elemental verbiage–“thing” and “it”–oh well.)

Well, earlier today I wanted to write something and I knew that I had something to say, but I wasn’t sure how to get it out of me. I wasn’t expecting it to be on the level of the greats, but I still wanted to speak, so I danced. Yup, I started to play some music, turned the volume all the way up and danced around my living room. I did this because some of the moments that I feel most relaxed and happy have been in the middle of an unscheduled dance party. I danced around this sun-filled room, in front of a giant window, wearing a cheetah print onezie. I danced and did my best not to pay attention to my roommate’s cats scurrying around the floor, or the cars passing in front of my house outside. I danced and tried to lose my breath in the music. I danced and let my limbs fly about me making shapes and curves in the air. I danced and pretended I was on a stage performing in front of thousands. I danced and forgot where I was. When I finished, I let my breathe return and sat down to write…

What do I have to say? Well, among everything you’ve read so far, this: I think that Cristina Yang was right when she said, “dancing makes you brave.” There’s something about getting lost amid the music and moving to the notes you hear that makes you feel like you’re invincible. And sometimes I think we need to feel invincible for a little bit. We need to feel like whatever we set our minds to do, we can actually do.

So for me, as a writer, I’ve come to believe that dancing and writing go hand in hand. And if writing isn’t your thing, I bet that if you allowed yourself to let go and dance, you’d agree that dancing goes hand in hand with your thing, too.

I dare ya…dance! 😛

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