Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Fricassee

This morning I am taking my first ballet lesson.

Well, not my first first.  I used to take lessons, but I'm definitely not A Real Dancer.  It's been many years and my flexibility is at negative two.  But I've found a class for grownups-who-want-to-dance-a-little-without-killing-themselves, and I signed up.

I feel like a six-year-old with her first tu-tu.

Ballet is the only exercise that makes me happy.  I despise gyms, I refuse to do crunches, and all sports--with the dubious exceptions of bowling and skeeball--are anathema to me.  (And don't get me started on the burst training.  It does amazing things to the body, but I couldn't possibly hate it more.)

So.  Today I slip into my Blochs-size-3B and stand by the barre.  And hopefully not make a fool of myself.

I'm sure my love of ballet is intricately tied in with my overall creativity--the writing, the music, the born-to-be-on-stage-ness.  (Just ask my mother.  She will fervently agree with the latter.)  Mind you, I have no intention of letting anyone see me dance outside the safety of the dance studio.  I am a three-legged horse; a wingless bird; a ballerina with cement in her shoes.

But ballet makes my spirit sing.  Makes me soar on the inside.  And that's what it's about, right?

Of course, ballet isn't my Main Thing.  I can't imagine sitting down and writing a crappy story just to make my heart do a few flips.  Once you progress beyond the "I do this because it's fun" stage, it's no longer...well, fun.

Not that I don't adore what I do!  But let's face it; drafting is hard work.  Revising is hard work. Heck, even critiquing for others takes much time and thought and effort.  In a lighthearted moment, I might chirp, "Oh, writing is fun!"  Because there's a lot about it that's wonderful, and "fun" definitely describes the sensation of slipping into another world and hanging out there for a while, creating characters and a storyline that will hopefully fly.

But writing is my work, not my fun.  I adore it, I breathe it, I am far too empty without it (like during these dreadful between-project phases!).  But I don't do it to unwind.  I do it because it's what I do best; because I love it; because I have goals and dreams and a vision of where I want to go with it--for the rest of my life.

So, hello ballet!  Thank you for giving flight to my creative spirit without requiring me to excel.

(If you don't hear from me, it's because I am unable to sit down.  Or stand.  Because ballet may look all fluffy and flitty, but dang.  It's a killer.)

See you Monday!


  1. I loved reading this! I came back to my childhood sport (figure skating) after years and years (and more years). It's the only exercise I ever loved. I quit the gym, too. Walking bores me, plus the temperature's never right. Running makes me feel like my brain is bouncing around inside my skull. Big plus: I lost weight when I started skating again! It's a wonderful feeling to do something that's simply fun and takes my mind off everything else. Enjoy your ballet!

  2. Yup. That's why I yarn -- because it's something I adore and enjoy, but I don't feel the need to be the best ever at it. I advanced enough to be able to make yarn and garments that make me happy, but I don't feel the need to try all the things, or stretch myself in uncomfortable ways that will end with unhappiness. And if I put yarn aside for a couple of days, i don't feel guilty. It's my Other Thing -- a creative thing I can do when I'm not writing.

    I'm glad you've found it in ballet. (I wish we lived closer together so I could go with you.)

  3. You have spoken for countless authors about why you write. Couldn't have said it better myself.

  4. I hope you have a brilliant time in Ballet. I took my daughter to it for six years, often three days a week. I always wondered what it would be like to be inside a class instead of on the outside looking in.

  5. Boy, your a lot stronger than I am. Ballet is a killer. I can barely put one foot in front of the other w/o sticking it on a high bar. I'd be afraid of getting stuck there.

    I know you'll enjoy. I'll stick to what works best for me.

    After all, those Kit Kat bars can be a bear to break.

  6. I love this!! I love that you're doing what you love just 'cause you love it! Makes me wanna slide into a tutu and fulfill my childhood dreams too!!

    *hands Miss Snark an ice pack*

    Heehee ( : You're awesome!

  7. I am sooo happy for you! What a great thing to do for yourself- and your creative soul. Dancing will increase your creative process and give you abs of steel- what every writer needs, right?

    I haven't taken ballet since college, but I dream about it, although I think I'll do jazz first, if I can find an adult class. But in my 30's, I took tap for the first time- me and a room of grannies brushing up on their lost skills- and it was a blast!

    Playing the piano opens up my mind and gets the juices flowing. You'd think I'd do it more often, but I guess I'd rather sit here and hit myself on the head. :)

    Have fun!

    Ps~ Still working on my critiques! Got some good stories going on!

  8. Someday I will have to find a class like that. I haven't danced since high school, but it would be great exercise, and far less objectionable than joining a gym. What a great idea! :)

  9. Awe-Some!!!

    I love doing ballerina-type things around my house (where nobody critical will see me).

    In two weeks, I start my first fencing lesson...because I just love swords. Give me Princess Bride, The Scarlet Pimpernel and Light Sabers and I'm happy. And I'm not gonna enjoy it even if I look like the middle-aged mama I am.
    En Garde!

  10. Oops, I meant I AM gonna enjoy it even if...etc. Sorry! :P

  11. I you EVER want to start a Skeeball league, I'm 100% there!

  12. A few years ago, I found dance and my body and spirit loves me for it! I hate exercise, but my hip hop, ballet and contemporary classes make it all so much fun. And yes, I know just what it feels like to not be able to walk those stairs;)

    It is so rewarding to be able to express yourself through dance AND words!

  13. What a fun class! I loved ballet as a child, and now I love to watch it. But it did do the NY Ballet Workout DVDs a few years ago and enjoyed those.

    My choice of exercise lately has been writing on my home treadmill, my laptop on a piece of wood balancing on the armrests. After writing like this for a few weeks, I actually find I'm more distracted if I'm just sitting down -- which I have been today because I've injured my foot. :( And guess what, I'm distracted!

    Congrats on making it through the ballet class. So much fun!

  14. I did ballet when I was a kid. But the ballet master didn't have a pianist so he used to hum the music... (yes but it was a little country town) and well, his voice was awful. It's very hard to a deux
    to a bad hum and stay focused...

    I had visions for my daughter to take my spot when I had the chance but she was literally THE LITTLE ELEPHANT THAT DANCED which just gave me my next idea for a children's book... mmmmm

    All because you posted this!

  15. Oh! Oh! OH! This made me really, really, happy. I love ballet! I second your sentiment about it being the only exercise you enjoy, because that's how I feel! Although I don't actually dance just for the exercise; ballet was my Main Thing for about 12 years. Unfortunately I don't have the body to be a professional, but on the other hand that eliminated what would have been an agonizing decision (a dance career or college). So now I'm a student, but still dancing!

    And another thing, how small are your feet?? I have rather average sized feet for a woman and I wear a block 5.5...

  16. *Bloch 5.5. Clearly I am not awake yet.

  17. I love it. I've been taking tap for almost two years now.
    It was my way of getting my butt out of my writing chair,
    getting some social interaction and exercise.
    Now I dance with a group of older women (all in
    our 50's, 60's and 70's)

    Here's a u-tube from our recital:
    ► 3:07► 3:07

    I recommend ice packs and Advil.

    Congratulations and have fun!!!

  18. I think I go to gardening, and now quilting. And organizing other people's lives.

    I'm posting this on my wall:
    "But writing is my work, not my fun. I adore it, I breathe it, I am far too empty without it (like during these dreadful between-project phases!). But I don't do it to unwind. I do it because it's what I do best; because I love it; because I have goals and dreams and a vision of where I want to go with it--for the rest of my life.”

    Thanks for putting into words how I feel.