Flying Fingers or Tapping Toes: Art is Art is Art

User:Jean-no [FAL], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo via Wikimedia Commons, User:Jean-no [FAL]
First there were difficulties securing a vehicle, then foot tendinitis, then unprotected chest met deck edge, leading to multiple rib fractures. (At which time my mantra became Go pain killers! Yay for modern pharmacology!)

Between one thing and another, it seemed like life was conspiring to keep me from fitness-dancing. When I restarted this January, I’d gone three years without hipping to a hop.*

Now, six weeks into my classes, it’s become apparent to me that writing and dancing share certain similarities, particularly around the the challenges and benefits of restarting after a lengthy break.

What is a writing life without tenacity? And what is tenacity unless it’s an ability to recommit when one encounters failure or interruption? So if you’re out there, wondering how to begin or resume a project, perhaps this extended metaphor will provide an extra push.

I had no idea how much I missed dancing until I busted my first move.

You’ll see this theme repeated throughout this post in that thinking about an activity is fine—mental rehearsal can be a necessary step to summon courage—but it can never replace action. How could I have forgotten one of the deepest pleasures in my life? The euphoria of moving to a particular bass line? I don’t know, but I managed, and I’m not alone in my retrograde amnesia.

All hail the remodeling abilities of human hearts and neural circuitry.

When you’re learning a dance routine, it’s natural to start with smaller steps, to avoid transferring your weight until you’re sure you’re moving in the right direction. Such measures prevent pileups in the corner.

Also, there is the matter of breathing. In my case, I’m inordinately fond of oxygen, but I found my baseline fitness wasn’t as good as I’d imagined. Dancing left me a sweating, breathless mess.

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