Hi everyone, all five of you!
I’m at the Singapore airport, waiting for my flight to Paris via Chengdu. This is something like the midpoint of something like 52 hours of travel – half in the air and half layovers. It’s nice, makes a good transition to the next thing up – which I’ll get to telling you about shortly!
Australia was lovely, and the assistance group (seminar sort of thing) that I went there to attend gave me lots of food for work over the next year. I asked loads of questions and Jesus answered a lot of them, which means I got to be on camera quite a bit. So if you miss my mug, you’ll be able to watch these videos once they’re online (in a few months, maybe). I’ll let you know.
On one of the days off, I took the local bus over to Sunshine Beach and was sauntering on the sand, seeing bunches of these creatures washing up out of the sea:
They look a bit like jellyfish. I took a photo so I could ask people what they were when I got back to the group, and an Aussie who was walking on the beach nearby saw me doing that and called over to ask what I’d found. So we had a bit of conversation about ocean life, one thing and another, and then he offered to take me on a little tour of the Noosa headlands. He’s a retired, older guy, and he said he does this kind of thing once in a while, offering to show people around. Bit lonely, probably. Also, probably, Asperger’s. Interesting how I’ve been meeting men with Asperger’s. So off we went, in his automobile, to see some of the sights.
At Tea Tree Bay in the national park, lots of surfers were surfing. Dick noticed a kid, maybe 12 years old, off to the side, who’d got picked up in a rip tide and was floating away along the rocky shore, followed by his mother, who kept trying but never could catch up to him. Dick understood what was happening in a flash, and started shouting to the surfers for help. They weren’t paying any attention, so he started to run over toward them, but the beach is super rocky there, and he broke his flip-flop first thing, so he just kept shouting and pointing. Finally, a couple of guys realized what was happening. They went out in the water and, with a bit of complicated maneuvering, finally got to the kid and helped him and his mother to shore. Talking afterward, Dick and the surfer guys were speculating on what would’ve happened if they hadn’t helped, and they all thought it to have been quite a serious situation. “Yeah,” one of the surfers said, “he was [expletive], and the mum was [expletive] too.” Meaning, I gathered, really really tired. It’s nice to think Dick saved a life or two, and that maybe he was there to do it because we’d both chosen to be open and trusting. You think?
Then we saw a koala, which I’d never seen before. Way up in a eucalyptus tree, just like they’re supposed to be. I’m told koalas are actually marsupials, not bears. Now I know.
What else? I’m taking an essay writing class online, and will be taking another in April. The idea being to develop my writing skills and confidence some more, so that I can begin to seek publications this year. I’m also still working on the two novels that I’ve brought traveling with me. And still writing abstracts of business-related articles and books on politics (mostly Russia and Ukraine) for getAbstract.
Don’t have a lot more to tell you, except … ta-da!
I imagine I’ve told you about this notion in some way before, but now it’s time to unveil the true extent of it!
More than ten years ago I had the idea of combining writing, travel, and dance into an ambitious project: to learn 12 dances in 12 different cities around the world, over 12 months – the Year of Dancing. Now, I finally am in a position to do it: I’m comfortable with this level of traveling, I feel ready as a writer, and I have the funds to invest in it, thanks to Pete and Cindy’s generosity.
This isn’t just fun and games. There’s a therapeutic aspect: the more I learn about dance (and rhythmic movement generally), the more I see ways that it can bring about healing and growth – neurologically, emotionally, socially. Maybe this partly explains my impulse to investigate dance in the first place.
There’s also a career aspect: This is an absolute ace-in-the-hole book contract, if I don’t eff it up. I’m pursuing the essay writing that I mentioned before as an on-ramp for writing about this year of dancing. I’ll be chronicling the year on Instagram – partly to explore themes for writing about it, partly to build up a following that could later support a book.
And there’s an aspect where I want to take part in the consciousness-raising that’s going on currently with regard to the prevalence and effects of child abuse and trauma. I want to to validate the experience and struggles of people who have this in their history, and highlight some of the recent research on trauma and recovery.
Finally, I hope that I can serve up inspiration and encouragement for people to get in touch with their desires, face down their fears, and dance – whether that’s literal or metaphorical.
So I’ll be learning to communicate about my own experience: developing my writing and speaking voice. I’ll be dealing with all the emotions that both the dance lessons and the writing about it will dredge up – e.g., resistance to sticking to a demanding long-term project; self-consciousness and the pain of feeling judged in class; self-care and self-love during what might become a physically and emotionally strenuous time; emotions about my body, and being physically spontaneous, and the social and erotic potential of dance – and on and on. I’ll be visiting new places and meeting new people in situations that’ll be new and strange for me. Holy moly, this is going to be a monster of a year.
It all starts tomorrow – March 7 – when I arrive in Paris. I’ll be there for nine days to take ballet classes at the Centre de Danse du Marais – the oldest dance school in Paris. From there, mid-March, I’ll travel to Chicago to continue ballet classes at the Joffrey school through their adult open program. (I’d’ve loved to stay longer in Paris, but after holing up in the Azores for two and a half months at the end of last year/beginning of this, I’ve run up against the limit of the time I can spend in Schengen – 90 days out of every 180. I’d already booked the Azores before the dance plan took shape. But Chicago will be fun, too!)
I’ve planned the places and dances for almost the entire year, but I’m mostly going to keep them to myself for now – because I think it’ll be fun to unveil the destinations and dances as the year progresses. They’ll be mosty overseas, but probably four in the USA.
The website, www.theyearofdancing.com, will go live as soon as I get to my hotel in Paris and take it off maintenance. But most of the action will be on Instagram, where I’ll be posting daily at www.instagram.com/theyearofdancing. I’ve set up a Facebook page, as well, www.facebook.com/theyearofdancing. I’ll try both (FB and Insta) and see where the interest is. But most likely mainly Instagram.
So wish me luck! And courage … and self-confidence … and anything else you can think of!