“Dance like nobody’s watching…” Good advice from Satchel Paige. “Life is a dance”, said Martha Graham, or if she didn’t she should have. Even Voltaire had thoughts on what dance means to life, but what none of them tell you is that the dance isn’t necessarily a waltz, or even one of those slow dances we all craved in high school; standing almost in one spot, swaying to the dulcet tones of the likes of Frankie Avalon, Elvis, Axl Rose, Styx…the generation doesn’t matter. The slow dance did.
Who knew that sometimes the dance of life is done in double-time, like the old quick-step we see on Dancing With the Stars…or in The Music Man. Buddy Hackett and partner whirling around the dance floor and collapsing at the end….glad to have done the dance but just as glad to stop and rest a bit before returning to a slower pace, perhaps a foxtrot.
I’ve been doin’ the quick-step almost non-stop these days. Summer is coming to a close, the population here has increased by around 30,000 with the arrival of a new school year at the local U, I’m working more hours than I have in months, and the days seem to morph into evenings before I notice. The ideas in my brain rattle around, colliding with the lists of things to do. Cloning myself would be lovely.
Frustration over things I can’t control only makes me dance faster, hoping that someone will take action while I whirl around the floor. Worrying about what I can control gets in the way of solutions. Sometimes, anyway. I’m querying one mystery, working on a second, filing rejections, re-reading my query letter, trying to imagine a two paragraph synopsis when I’m fortunate to have condensed my plot to one page, and of course being witty and readable on this blog. I don’t ask too much of myself, do I? And did I mention my day job?
Play no little violins for me though. Like most people fortunate enough to have choices, I make mine and dance to the music they create. Would I give up my writing and the pleasure it gives me? No. Creating stories feeds my soul. Would I give up that day job? Again, no. Helping people find books, music, even movies that touch their hearts is something I relish. Sharing the things I love gives me joy. Oh…and the paycheck is nice as well, especially for those little perks like travel, plays, and books of my own. Will I stop complaining? Probably not. I’m human. Will I keep dancing? Indeed. As long as my feet don’t fail me and I can hear the melody.
Mae dances too, as we saw when she joined that Second Line. She’s probably out there right now. But she’ll be back. Until then, why not take Satchel Paige’s advice and do a step or two? There’s music if you choose to hear it.
“And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon.”
― Edward Lear, The Owl and the Pussycat