Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Remembering What She Taught

Last week, I saw her, flitting across the windows of the grocery store, spinning and leaping like a delighted gazelle as I pushed my cart. She flew down the aisles, and when I drove home, I saw her again, she jete'd along the electrical wires. She flitted from one tree to another and I remembered this was me, three and a half decades ago. Today, the shadow of me followed, showing off moves I never did then, and asking, "Why haven't you kept me closer?"
I wondered, why are you showing up now? I unloaded the groceries but turned on the radio. It was hard not to join her as one of my favorite songs played.
I thought of the instructor, Ms. B. She always came to class, perfect makeup, tall and stretched with a neck like a swan. She made all of us feel as if the Queen would be showing up any minute, and be disappointed if our tummies weren't "pulled in, shoulders back, derrieres tucked under and chins high, faces turned with eyes smiling."
As we grew older, she still demanded that same pose when class would start. Just thinking about her, I found myself pulling into position and tsking, I'd learned to slouch in her absence. My dancer self looked taller.  She was.  I pulled up even tighter.  I could hear, "Much better."  Mission accomplished, my dream self curtsied and faded. I worked on posture the rest of the day.  
My own interests in dance turned more to jazz than ballet, but I never forgot her lessons even if I failed to practice them. 

 Facebook informed me today that my teacher passed away.   Part of what made Beaumont Beaumont, isn't there anymore and I am very sorry; she will be missed.  

Monday, September 26, 2016

Double Feature...no Triple!

You get me today all over the internet. That's right, I'm taking over.   I have a piece over at Women Speak For Themselves.  It's my personal story addressing the damage taking contraceptives did to me, and what I learned when I stopped taking them.  

My second writing piece is over at Aleteia, dealing with suffering and grace in the face of suffering, embracing the cross.  Please feel free to read and share as you see fit.

Finally, it's Monday so I'm on Connecting the Dots with Mark Shea.  You can listen live at 5 o'clock EST, and even call in at 1-574--4BREAD4.   Come join us!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Don't Be a Fred

If you want to be something, you pursue it.  

If you love something, you pursue without restraint.   My son is a runner, he must run. From watching him, I know, if you want to be any good at it, you have to run almost every single day.  You have to shape how you eat, schedule your day, and do it even when your brain and your body does not love it.

The same is true for writing. I write every day.  I don't post every day because some of it stinks, but I write every day.  

 For any discipline one professes to love.  If you only do something when the muse tickles your fancy, you are an enthusiast, you are a Fred.  In Big Hero Six, the guy explains, "I'm not a student but I am a major science enthusiast."  He doesn't experiment or study, he dreams.  He imagines what he hopes science can do, what the others around him who are science majors should do, but does not pursue it himself


 I don't want to be a Fred.     

Enthusiasts live for the high of inspiration, and when it isn't there, don't sit down and force out the 500 words. Writers bleed, sweat and beg out the words.   Just like runners go when it aches, when it's raining, when it's cold, when they don't want to, just like parents climb the stairs, wash the dishes and do the errands, when they'd rather not.  Love in all arenas of life, is not a mere emotion, but an act of the will.

When we start making excuses not to act, it is because we don't want to will ourselves to do what we profess to love.  When we start making excuses not to act in order to not will ourselves to act, do we still love what we once did? Yes, however, because we've not willed ourselves to do it, we've weakened our will to do it.  Anyone who ever started working out and opted to skip a day at the gym knows how much harder it is to go the next day.   Any weakening of the will to do something in order to get better, makes it harder to get better.

It is true in running, true in parenting, in writing, true in all areas of life. I wish I could summon all the ideas that practically threw themselves at me when I drove to work on Thursday and Friday, but they've evaporated. It made me wonder, was it merely time that made writing possible, or was I making time for writing. When I started working this week, teaching writing, I wondered, would I still have time to write?  the answer is, yes, but only if I willed it.   Today, I'm willing it.

Day 1.

 


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