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Friday, June 18, 2010

Writer's Journal (exercise): A Time to Dance

That’s when I’m all by myself with time to spare. I love to dance, but apparently I have no sense of timing, no rhythm. I never knew that when I was little and used to dance in front of the wireless. My parents must have been too kind to tell me. But later I discovered it all right; other people told me. So I dance alone, not on a dance floor if I can help it. Sometimes one can’t help it; there are dinner parties and things where you pretty much have to if you’re asked. ‘I’m a really bad dancer,’ I used to say discouragingly, but some men aren’t to be put off. ‘Oh you can dance with ME.’ The only one of whom that was true was my first husband, Don. He had cups and medals for ballroom dancing and could make even me look good and even feel good some of the time. Only he knew how hard he gad to work for that and what a relief it was for the poor man to occasionally have a dance with someone who know how to do it.

But dancing alone is great. I put on Janis Joplin very loud: Mercedes Benz and Me and Bobby McGhee and go for my life with a broom a partner, or maybe no partner at all. I sing along too, loudly under cover of the even louder music, and no matter that I can’t sing in tune either.

Everyone can dance, say people who can, and everyone can sing. But just the other day when I was singing along to something and thinking I was getting it right for once, Andrew said plaintively, ‘I wish you could sing in tune.’ Not half as much as I wish it, dear!

I love to sing almost as much as I love to dance, In my next life I might decide to be a singer or a dancer or even both. But would I swap for being a writer? Not on your Nelly! In poetry I can find rhythms, and create song. Well, true I write free verse or syllabics most of the time, but still the choice is there.

Many poets in fact liken the act of making poems to dancing. Myself, not being a natural dancer, I see it more as a form of sculpture. It’s about separating out the poem from the stuff around it, the blank stone if you like, or the empty air, or the babble of other miscellaneous words. I am babbling now. Time to dance; I need it soon. Haven’t danced in ages. Unfortunately Janis is on 33rpm; I’ll have to find a CD.

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