I’m a musician, a drummer primarily, but when I was younger I was a lead singer fronting the band, and when I sang, I would bust a bunch of moves. Outside of this, I never danced publicly, thought it was dorky, beneath me somehow, until, at 33 years old, I had my first residency at the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. In a ten day residency, the first one with not a single soul that I knew, there were two dances, one half way through, and another on the last evening. In the excitement, intensity, stress and awkwardness of starting this graduate program, somehow, I began to dance. I danced with abandon. I danced myself silly. I danced as if my life depended on it. Everyone did. And to this day, at the residencies while I was still in the program some 20 years ago, and during every alumni conference I’ve ever been to since, these are almost the only venues, the only places where I have allowed myself to dance.
I think this is significant. I am about to go to the last dinner, the last reading, and the last (in this case the only) dance of the conference. In this place, I lose inhibitions. I lose all pretension. I lose any concern that I may have in other venues about looking silly. This place, these people, this creative work, honors us, allows us to truly BE, welcomes and invites the dancer within. Not everyone will boogey tonight, but I bet, even in their abstinence, the inner dancer of each will be having the greatest party ever. Because, you know, as the t-shirt says, it is a required part of the process:
Write. Revise. DANCE. Repeat.
It is written.