You probably know, because I've mentioned it before, that I take ballet. Last Friday, while walking down the hallway with one of my dancemates toward the studio, a woman standing in the hallway said to her little girl, "Look! They're dancers!"
The words went deep inside me. I turned to my dancemate and said, "Did you just own that?"
It was an amazing moment. Someone from the "outside" who saw me in my leotard and ballet shoes with my hair pulled back saw A DANCER. She had no idea if dancing was my life, or if I was a not-eighteen-anymore, wish-I-were-a-ballerina woman taking a weekly class with other not-quite dancers.
I love my ballet classes SO MUCH--but I've never called myself a dancer. Truth be told, it's not really what I am. (Actually, it's almost laughable.) But when I'm in that classroom, I'm dancing. So that makes me a DANCER.
I tend to make apologies instead of just saying, YES I DANCE. It's more like, "Oh, I take classes every week," or, "Yeah, it's a beginner class for adults."
But I probably need to change that. I probably need to say I DANCE ON FRIDAYS.
So. Do you own your writing-ness? Do you say YES I WRITE? Or do you say, "Oh, I'm working on a story at night," or, "I'm hoping to publish a novel some day" instead?
Because we can be beginners at something and still OWN THE THING. Secretly, I aspire to advance to the intermediate level of ballet, and maybe even go en pointe. Maybe I won't get there, but I still need to call myself a DANCER while I'm aspiring.
Something to chew on. Because I love you. (And I know you won't laugh at my fluffy little ballerina dreams.)
And now something to (hopefully) make you laugh. Talented author and valuable critique partner Peter Salomon decided that my writing examples from yesterday's post on car crash openings were worthy of his attention.
And so I give you Peter's MASH-UP OF AUTHORESS'S WRITING EXAMPLES. (If you haven't read the original post, read it now. Or you won't see Peter's cleverness at work here!)
I raise my head from the dust, the metallic zing of blood in my mouth. Even this small motion brings sharp pain, and I groan as I try to rise. I fail. Cheek pressed against the cold earth, I close my eyes and try to remember why I'm here. Vague memories of acrid smoke and sharp metal assault my brain, but nothing makes sense.
I reach for my iPhone as the car skids to the right. Gasping, I brace my arms on the dashboard. In the next instant, the world blurs. Dana screams as she frantically tries to regain control of the car, and I go numb. With sickening suddenness, the motion stops, and there is nothing but glass, thousands of tiny shards, everywhere. Glass, and the scent of gas. Glass, and sharp pain whenever I try to breathe.
Dana touches the molten glass with one tentative finger. The c'vku in the air glows, hissing more loudly the longer she stays in contact. She closes her eyes, trying to remember what step twelve was, when the floors and wall begin to vibrate, the pitch growing higher as the vibrations increase.
Too late! She began the Weaning Declaration too late!
The pain in my legs is unbearable. I try to move first one, then the other. But each movement, no matter how small, wracks me with pain. Slowly, I lie back and force myself to breath slowly, deeply. Then, as the pain subsides a little, I try again to move myself into a sitting position. Pressing my hands against the floor, I throw my weight into my shoulders and try to pull myself backward.
Dead crows--thousands of them--fall from the ceiling as Dana screams, clawing her way toward the holy portal, the molten glass stuck to her finger. The universe tips, spilling her north, then south, then in directions she can't keep track of. When the scent of lava pushes its way up her nostrils, she knows that her failure is complete.
That's when I see the bone protruding from my left shin.