I have been trying to come up with a topic for a blog post. I just opened my post list on the off chance that I would find a draft of something that I could finish up. As luck would have it, I found a draft with the title, “Momentum.”
How perfect is that? I clicked on it, ready to catch some momentum.
It was a completely blank page.
I consider writing something I do, always, no matter what profession I write down on my tax form every year. True, I spend most of my week practicing massage therapy (and loving it.) I also spend part of my week writing about the practice of massage therapy. I love the results of the writing. The practice of writing itself is sometimes deflating.
See, in a massage, clients provide immediate feedback (conscious or not) and it’s pretty easy to edit on the fly. There is a certain way muscle tissue feels when the way you massage it is working. And when it is not. I’ve been doing this long enough that I have a whole repertoire of different ways to approach massage.
The thing is, though, I’ve been writing for way longer than I’ve been doing massage. I decided at age 8, when I wrote my first short story, that writing was for me. I wrote pages and pages in my messy print, then in my messy cursive, then on my typewriter, my word processor, my computer and my laptop. I have explored language from so many angles and so many voices that I couldn’t even count them.
The difference, I am figuring out, is the editor. Writing happens in my head. This gives space and voice to my internal editor, commenting on and testing every sentence even as I am thinking it. I end up trying to revise as I am writing, which just ends up slowing everything down. Have you ever accidentally started driving your car while the parking brake is still on? It’s like that. Forward, but slowly. And eventually everything shuts down.
Massage, though, is a physical profession. Of course I am thinking a lot while I work. Remembering my intake conversation with this person, processing what I feel in the tissues through my knowledge and training, keeping track of time and how much more there is to do in the time we have. This happens around and above the actual work, though. The actual work involves touch and movement. Physical movement and physical response. There is nowhere for the editor to speak.
Ever since I started writing at the age of 8, I’ve been exploring ideas about creativity, trying different things to cultivate and build it. Since I started dancing about four years ago, I am seeing more and more connections between just natural movement in the body and the ability to be creative within a structure. (Whether that structure is words, a canvas or a choreography doesn’t seem to matter.)
All of this is coming together for me this year, as I am continuing my dance training and reading more about the process of improvisation. Using some exercises and concepts from my most recent dance intensive, I finally put together a workshop using movement and writing (or drawing) exercises to explore and encourage creativity. Shadowdance (as I’m calling it,) gets it’s first run this December in Louisville. In the days leading up to, I am writing more, listening to the editor less, and dancing daily. Come out and join me if you can. Let’s build some momentum.