Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Last night, Michael and I went to the Opening Ceremony and Pairs short program portion of the World Figure Skating Championships. It was perfect timing--I had received news earlier in the day that my new editor loves my novel Pears (I had sent her the revisions last week, and was so relieved I didn't have to wait long to get her response, and of course even more relieved that she likes the book.) One of the main characters of Pears is an Olympic-hopeful pairs figure skater (yes, I'm playing a bit with pears/pairs) and after spending so much time visualizing skating in my mind, it was a real treat to see it in person.
One pair in particular--Ekaterina Sokolova and Fedor Sokolov from Israel (pictured here)--reminded me of my character Karen and her partner, Nathan; not an exact mirror image, but close enough for me to feel as if I was getting a glimpse of my characters in the flesh. I also loved the fact that they skated to part of The Nutcracker, since I was in the Nutcracker on Ice every year from the time I was 5 until I was 13, and that music is so deeply ingrained in my bones (plus I recently started a writing project loosely based upon the Nutcracker, so it felt like two books merging.) The fact that the pair was wearing CODEPINK pink made me love them, too (speaking of CODEPINK, be sure to check out Medea Benjamin's article in Newsweek about CODEPINK's presence at the AIG hearings). The pair didn't fare all that well in the competition, but they were my favorites of the evening.
I found myself tearing up throughout the night--after I stopped skating, for many years, I wasn't able to watch skaters on tv without crying, but these tears were different. They weren't tears of loss, of grief; they were more tears of gratitude, of nostalgia, of amazement at watching such grace and power. I never achieved anywhere close to the ability of the skaters I witnessed last night, but as I watched them, my body could remember the soaring freedom of double jumps, the dizzy bliss of a really fast scratch spin. I'm so happy that I had the chance to honor the journey of my book and my own embodied history by sitting in those wonderful chilly stands.