So, a month ago I turned around and it was suddenly December. I couldn’t believe it. I was all, “What happened to 2009? Did anyone see where it went? It was just here a second ago.“ But it was one of those years that seemed to go by at either warp speed or a glacial crawl, and sometimes both at once. It’s been rough. Has it been that way for anyone else? Sometime around February my life began to fall apart and I’m just now picking up the pieces.
So yeah, I’m getting divorced. From a really wonderful man who’s been my best friend for the last thirteen years. It simply wasn’t working anymore. That sounds almost glib, but it’s the truth. We wanted totally different things and finally realized that hoping the other one was going to change wasn’t fair to either of us. It took us a while, but I take that as a sign of our commitment to and love for each other rather than confusion or weakness. We did a really good job, overall. I’m proud of us. But it was, and is occasionally still, awful and painful and lonely. I imagine that starting over always is.
Anyway, I’ve been going through some tremendous changes. And just a quick note to those of you who have sent me emails or Skypes or Tweets over the last few months, (or even in the last twenty-four hours). I love you all. I cannot tell you how much those little notes or long conversations helped me. I think I’m actually going to be okay, and those kindnesses helped me through it. You guys rock my world.
Okay, so since this is a blog about writing, I should probably tell you about what’s been going on with my writing. Not too much. All hell is breaking loose in the rest of my life, but the writing? Well, the writing has stagnated a bit.
It’s definitely easier for me to write than it was several months ago. I can read the first few entries of this blog and see that I’ve come a long way. And it’s not that I’ve been writing nothing. I’ve filled pages and pages of journal entries. And actually, the mere fact that I’ve found such solace in journaling is a really huge, wonderful step for me.
But the book? Oh, hell no. The book has been sulking in the corner, greedy for my time, tugging at my pants leg, and whining when he doesn’t get all my attention. He’s bossy, my book, and selfish. I can’t decide if I like that about him or not.
But, things have been happening. Slowly. Under the radar. I’ve learned a lot about self-trust (who knew I had some?) and what I want (um, yes the silver platter is fine), and who I am (why, hello there, Self. Nice to meet you again. It’s been a while.)
I’m getting better at keeping steady. I don’t really know why this one is, it’s just happening.
Then, a couple of months ago, the writing began to shift. In a really huge way.
And here’s the cool part: it all happened because of a pole-dancing class.
Oh yeah, you read that right. This blog is about to get a lot more interesting.
I haven’t taken a dance class in fifteen years. Yes, there’s a story there. I’ll tell you about it soon, but not today. Today, I just want to tell you about the first class.
So, I went to a class. We did a really excellent warm-up. I got re-introduced to hip rolls (hello sexual repression. Didn’t see you there. Have you been here all this time?) Then at the very end of class, we moved to the poles and she showed us a little bit of our first turn. It wasn’t easy.
“Thwack!” My leg hit the pole with a lot of pain and not much grace. I tried it again. And again. And wondered how much abuse my body could take.
And then, after watching the instructor a few more times, I tried again. This time, something happened. Somehow, my feet were right, my balance was on, and I just … took off. My feet left the ground, my body began to spin and the eight-year-old inside of me threw her arms over her head and went, “Wheeee!” Then, I landed…on my ass, but grinning.
I realized pretty quickly that there was a reason that this place is what got me back into dance, that after years away from it, the Universe led me to this studio, this class, right now. It goes without saying that I got my own pole.
I installed it smack dab in the middle of my living room and turned up Fall Out Boy as loud as I thought the neighbors could handle and began to dance. Just dance. I can’t even tell you what I was doing because I was just doing anything. Suddenly I was ten years old again, playing A Chorus Line over and over again and dancing around my parents’ living room until I burned up the tape.
Are you familiar with the yogic idea of rasa? It’s the concentrated essence of something. The juice. The plasma. It’s where the energy is. And there’s this idea that if you can find it–the juice, the plasma, the golden thread–and tap into it, listen to it, then your creativity will just flow out, if not effortlessly, then at least energetically. (If you’re interested in this, Chris Zydel’s entire blog over at Creative Juices Arts radiates this idea.)
I love this idea, that in order to do any creative endeavor well (or at least to have any fun with it) you go where the energy is–where the plasma, the blood, the heart of it–is. I relish the idea of just jumping in, of diving into the plasma and feel it split at my feet and then engulf me like warm jello. I imagine that it’s rainbow colored, and it smells like strawberry Starbursts. I want to gather it up around me and hold it close to me while I write, write, write, while I get the story out, while I invite my characters to swim with me.
Is that self-actualization? That same heart-warming energy, that joy, that I feel when I’m dancing–just dancing–for the fun of it, to music I love? Without worrying about who is watching? Without caring if I look stupid or silly or scared?
That’s what I want from my writing. Hell, that’s what I want from my life. Can living be like that? Like dancing to my favorite song–heart open, hair flying, feet off the ground? Is it too much to ask? Is it too late? I don’t think so. I hope not. Here’s to new beginnings–to blogs, to novels, to dances. Happy New Year, everyone. Let’s rock it out.