I took a dance improvisation class today and it felt like coming home--my body remembering its own idiosyncrasies, its own freedom. It's been over 20 years (??!!?!) since I danced improv on a regular basis, yet my body slipped--albeit a bit rustily--right into the playful flow of the class, moving through space with other bodies-in-the-moment...such an invigorating, inspiring experience. I had forgotten how simple movements like walking, running, standing still, can become profound when done with intention, and in community. And then doing duet and trio work, playing with sharing of weight, sculpting of space--an amazing process. I felt more like myself than I have in quite a long time. I'm going to be sore tomorrow, and already have bruises on my knees and shins, but it's well worth it.
A great moment of synchronicity...after class, the wonderful teacher Sue asked if I was familiar with the work of dancer and writerSimone Forti. I felt such a jolt...Just a few days ago, I had found Simone Forti's book, Handbook in Motion, in a box in my basement after not seeing it for years, and brought it upstairs to soak in its inspiration anew. It's the one thing I can remember consciously stealing--I took it from the University of Redlands' library, probably in 1987, because I was worried I wouldn't be able to find it anywhere else, and it had impacted me so deeply, I couldn't bear the thought of living without it. It turns out that Sue sometimes uses exercises by Simone Forti in her improv class that combine writing and movement--I nearly swooned when she told me. In dusting off that old book and now taking this class (which unfortunately meets only once a month--although it may meet more frequently over the summer), it feels like I've started dusting off parts of myself that I never meant to put in storage.
Another synchronicity--Simone Forti's more recent work has been published by Beyond Baroque, and I have a couple of events coming up at BB in the very near future (please forgive me for not mentioning these earlier--I had every intention to do so, but time is a slippery devil...)
Tomorrow, I will be part of the Hitched series, where established authors are paired with emerging ones (it feels weird to me to be in the "established" slot--I still don't feel as if I have really emerged yet.) I have been hitched to the fabulous Tisha Reichle, a friend and former student who does a beautiful job of marrying art and social change in her work. We will be reading with the wonderful poets Laurel Ann Bogen and Helena Lipstadt. Festivities begin at 5:00pm, 681 Venice Boulevard, Venice, CA.
On July 2 at 7:30pm, I will be back at Beyond Baroque for "Women Behaving Badly", with the amazing writers Jo Scott-Coe, Stephanie Barbe Hammer, and Donna Hilbert--an evening presented by CODEPINK: Women for Peace. A night of fiercely independent work to celebrate Independence Day!
Both events cost $7, which will help keep Beyond Baroque, a most-needed, not to mention storied and historic, literary center, up and running.
I've also been wanting to share the link to this interview I did for the Canadian novelist Lori Ann Bloomfield's blog, First Line Fiction. It's always a delight to find writers with kindred spirits; I've found one in Lori who is a yoga teacher as well as a writer and shares my belief that a writer's most important job is to pay attention to the world. I loved that so much of today's dance class was about paying attention, too--keeping each cell open and ready to respond. It's good to find that intersection in creative processes--today's experience should help me prepare for the seminar I'll be teaching at the Antioch MFA residency a week from today: "'You must change your life': Finding inspiration in other art forms." We teach what we need to learn, yes? I have so much to learn (and re-learn. Glad I was able to do a bit of that today.)