Someone told me once that I don’t spend enough time staring out the window. At the time, I thought it was a rather odd observation. Who has time to stare out the window? There are far too many things to be done to waste time on that! It turns out, however, that this person may have been onto something.
The last six months have been a journey of discovery for me. A discovery of what it means to be creative. It turns out that in order to write, one needs to think. In order to write creatively, one needs to let one’s mind wander. What better way to do this than to stare out of the window? It has taken some re-programming to rid myself of the feelings of guilt that accompany this apparent inaction and sometimes, when the rest of my life is particularly full of chores to be done, it is easy to fall back into the old patterns. I need to write, so I must just sit down and write… now!
But it doesn’t work like that. The words only flow when my mind is at rest. It sounds like an oxymoron of sorts, but there it is.
To help me along this creative journey of mine, I have been using a book called The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. It was a gift from my sister, one without which I doubt I would have journeyed as far as I have. If you are any sort of frustrated creative (painter, writer, actor, dancer, whatever) do yourself a favour and find a copy of this book. It has helped me more than I would ever have believed possible.
While working through it, however, something has been confusing me a little. I have needed it to help me with writing my novel – with my writing career in general, really. After all, that was the direction I decided to follow six months ago. I love to write. I need to write. This has been true for as long as I can remember.
Yet, for many of the exercises in the book that deal with the past I found that instead of writing, my thoughts kept returning to dancing. As a child, I did ballet and I loved it. I wanted to be a ballet teacher when I grew up, since I didn’t think I was quite good enough to be a dancer. But I stopped after ten years and there the dream ended. The love of dancing never did, though and twenty years later I finally allowed myself to indulge in my passion once again when I signed up for Salsa classes.
When I dance, I feel alive.
When I dance, I am happy.
When I dance, I am me.
Since we moved to Brisbane I have postponed signing up for dance classes for financial reasons, sacrificing that so that I could write – a career that does not pay well in the beginning!
About 10 days ago I was in a funk. With money becoming more of an issue I felt compelled to start looking for a job, even a short contract to bring in some dollars then perhaps I could go back to writing full-time again. The thought of going back to doing what I was doing before depressed the hell out of me. I wrote to a friend that “maybe the universe has a plan for me that it’s gonna let me in on at some stage.”
Thirty seconds later I clicked next on the job-search page and stumbled across an ad for a part-time instructor teaching Ballroom and Latin American dancing; no experience required.
The word “Synchronicity” springs to mind.
I wrote a beautiful cover letter, adjusted my CV and sent it off – the closing date was in 2 days. Three days later I received an email inviting me to the group audition. That was last Wednesday. I was nervous as hell beforehand but once there I had a ball! It was like an accelerated dance class and I actually enjoyed it. The steps were all new to me but I thought I did well. They did too – they phoned to call me back for a follow-up interview on Tuesday.
Yesterday they phoned to welcome me on board. Yes, people, I start training on Monday!
It might be twenty-something years later than expected, but it looks like my childhood dream of being a dance teacher has come true.
Wow. I am still trying to process this. Could it be possible that I would actually be allowed to dance and write..? It almost seems too good to be true. I keep waiting for the catch. There’s got to be a catch, right? I’m not actually sure I know what to do with being allowed to do the things I want to do…