Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.
~Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
I beg your indulgence as I pay tribute to my favorite dancer ever, Gene Kelly. His combination of grace, athleticism, humor and downright joy gave me (still gives me) many hours of pleasure and inspiration. Years ago, when I was filling out a questionnaire at a seminar, one of the questions was “If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would it be?” I was still dancing at the time, and Gene Kelly was the first name that popped into my head. Of course, in my fantasy, lunch would have been followed by dancing with the “Marlon Brando of Screen Dance”.
Gene Kelly would have been 100 years old today, and, thanks to the magic of film, his dancing will continue to inspire generations to come. I never tire of watching the title number from Singin’ in the Rain. When it’s over…well, the lyrics say it all: “What a glorious feeling—I’m happy again!”
So…who inspires you? Do you need a little dose of that energy today? If it’s a musician/singer, listen to his/her/their music. If it’s an author, make a cup of coffee and spend some time with his/her words. Take it in, soak it up, let it fill you. Then go out and inspire someone else with your own brand of awesomeness. :)
Title page from the book of the same name by Alice Walker.
Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson
Photo by Lisa Tate
One look at this photo by my friend Lisa, and I was catapulted back through time, years flying by like so many roadside fenceposts. I landed decades in the past at my Granny Rogers’ house at the edge of a small North Carolina town named Creedmoor. The property to the south side of the house sloped down towards a wooded area, and at the bottom of the slope was an old woodshed. Continue reading
I know I’m a little biased, having danced for a living for a big chunk of my adult life, but I’ve always thought that the world would be a happier, more peaceful place if everybody danced. It doesn’t matter what kind of dance—swing dance, square dance, hip hop, ballet, tap, jazz—or how “good” you are, there’s a place you go when the music takes over your body. I’ve touched that place, and it’s like nothing I’ve ever felt before or since….joy, pure and simple.
When the inner dancer and the outer dancer become one, dancing can be transcendent… Continue reading
Please send me your last pair of shoes, worn out with dancing as you mentioned in your letter, so that I might have something to press against my heart.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe