How can we know the writer from the dancer?
January 30, 2008
I am thinking that every act is a creative act.
Only some creative acts provide an opening into something vital; other creative acts provide duplication, follow the path of habit, add to repetition, create walls – solidity – separation from the vital and the as yet unborn. And some acts, of course, create destruction. So, realizing that every act is a creative act; every act creates something; I realize I must, I choose to, work to bring each act into the vital realm of creativity, not the habitual, not the acts that amass repetition. Building a house means placing one brick on top of another, making mass, making solidity, and this is good, this is necessary, but building a house with the yearning for it to open into the wildness of the world, with a porthole, a skylight, a star on the ceiling, painted a color that shakes the body and galvanizes the mind or brings it the peace from which the parade of images wells forward, this is the vital creative act.
Every act is a creative act, and potentially a vital one.
As to acts which create destruction, more to talk about, another time.
But for me, these warm and cold days, the key to creative writing is in dancing. The way to get past the false steps, the dropped steps, the hiding of the deepest parts of the work, is to perhaps open up the shoulders and let the heart be accessible and vulnerable. The way to drop no more than one step — to stumble in the language without apologizing and beating oneself up, is to dance through it. Miss a step? No apologies, no defense, no dwelling in the mistake, in the lack of grace, in the foolishness and awkwardness, because the moment for that step is past, and now there is a new step. A new moment of revelation and joy, of truth of tongue and body. A new moment of the flow of language as the flow of the body in dance.
Remember, in a dance-y kind of way, how different are revision and proofreading. Don’t muck up your reworks with comma and spelling obsession. That’s proofreading. Go back into the dance of what you have envisioned in your language, and in that flow of the moments of your writing, of your story or poem, keep dancing, and let the language come that will throw back your shoulders and reveal the beating heart of what you have written.
And keep dancing. Let the blessed musics of the planet in. This which we fight to hear and to save. This which helps us live every moment, and write as if we are fully alive.
This one is for Rene Thompson and his Latin dance classes at the Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis, and for all the dancers! http://www.renedance.com/
Rene is one of the striking resources of the Twin Cities. With his international reputation, his long experience as Latin dancer and teacher of Latin dance, his deep knowledge of the roots and history of Afro-Cuban dance, and his building of diverse and interconnected community, he transforms ice to heat in the body and heart of Minnesotans regardless of the season. Blessings on Rene, and Nate, and all who help make this community what community should be. Alabanza!
(and remember, purchase a download of The Stories of Devil-girl; see the previous posting for details)