Sat, 03 Jun 2000 11:41:03 +0000 What moves me to email you now? Realize first, I am only moved to email you because things are going well for me now-- my experience is not always so rosy that I think it worth sharing. (1) Began working half-time (2) Assessed experience, and found idea for improvement (3) Research on dancing (4)Research on fitness/nutrition ------------------------------------------------------- (1) Began working half-time Since the beginning of this month I have been able to work half-time. This has been going well and appears that it could continue for some time, and allow me to continue to progress to more interesting projects and to make more money per time worked. In order to be able to work half-time however, I had to reach the point where I was totally prepared to quit my job. ... I have been able to work half-time before and know that it is possible to have too much free time. This is why I needed the DSL connection and computers--as well as an idea of what to do with them (work on an experienceartist.org web site, which I haven't been too into so far- but it served its purpose). Also there is a youth hostel under construction here, that is in dire need of volunteers, so if I ever ran out of things to do with myself, I could go volunteer there. ----------------------------------- (2) Assessed experience, and found idea for improvement For the first week (first week of may) I was half-time I volunteerd a lot at the hostel, and spent a lot of time wondering what to do with myself. I was lucky I had the hostel to keep me sane. I was not very happy with things, although it was definitely an improvement from working full-time and having no time to feel anything but a sort of desperation. Some where in there I took a whole afternoon to contemplate my situation. I could look at my notes, but I believe my assessment/accounting of my experience was that I needed more things to look forward to, and that that things were in all respect well with my experience, except I could not think of anything I really liked doing with people... I could be happy, or sort of happy by myself, but life with out much involvement with other people was not exciting me very much. ... So I had a list of ideas, and over the course of the next few days I considered a few of them more carefully: particularly dance and master's swimming. A male Cuban ballet star Carlos ?? was featured on 60 minutes some where in there. I have wanted to take dance classes for a while now, and it just so happened that this time: (1) I have more free time, (2), I am in time to register for the next semester at the community college here, (3), I am an in-state resident (I will have been here a year by the 5th), so classes are incredibly cheap. I thought about this some more, and finally signed up for a ballet class. After further consideration (and realizing I got in-state tuition rates), I also signed up for modern dance and jazz dance. ... To conclude this topic: I now have something to look forward to doing (besides work or the hostel) that involves other people-- and the people I meet doing these sorts of things, whether male or female, will, I think be people I will like. They will probably have the appreciation for the physical, and an appreciation for creativity, and social creativity. We'll see how it goes. ------------------------------------ (4) Research on fitness/nutrition This is probably what most got me thinking of writing you all this evening... Late last week, I visited Muscleandfitness.com and read a lot of their articles on nutrition and training. The articles there reinforced what I had been beginning to suspect: that I was not eating near enough protein for me to deal with the amount of exercise I wanted to do. ...
Sun Oct 15 10:07:12 PDT 2000
Dance, dance class, ballet especially, has been and is a way of spending time with people I value and look forward to very much. Beyond that, what ways would I love of spending time with others?
Sun Nov 05 00:10:32 PST 2000
Now: Last weekend, and perhaps the one before, especially, were quite miserable for some reason. Partly was dealing with the rain, and different sorts and levels of feelings of humiliation/ being an outsider perhaps. But at those times I don't feel like dwelling on such feelings, so would be unlikely to be caught here writing about them.
This is about sharing my successes, and hypotheses for improvement and continued successful performance, so when I'm not doing well, I feel I have little to say.
But I do develop hypotheses: in that case one of them was: stop/reduce evening dance classes-- try to be at home by the latest at 7:00 p.m. so I can get my fill of computer time without having to stay up terribly late, and not be able to get up early. Also swim for an hour every morning, even if late.
Unfortunately many of the good dance classes are in the evenings. And spending so much time with computers I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to move when time came for class again.
I have thought of another fun thing to do with other people (i.e. still with a strong preference that the people be women I think are nice). There's an old roller-skating rink I pass by when returning from ballet class in the weekends. I don't really notice it during the day, but at night there are people going there, and it has an old broken neon light sign that still has a few letters lit. I went to some birthday parties there when I was a kid. I think that would be a fun place to go on a date.
Anyways, the thing that got me interested in writing was a bit of partnering (i.e. me attempting to dance with Elle [not a real name]) in rehersal today. Part of the time we were asked to simply work together and practice any sort of turns we could think of-actually we were supposed to choreograph a little routine, though I didn't catch that at first. I consider myself a pretty creative person, but this was not terribly easy for me.
It was nice to work with her. I still draw a mental blank when trying to think of a good dance to do with someone else-- bizarre. I suppose a good part of this is because it's not a swing dance class, and we're just not used to doing things crazy and close in ballet, while those are exactly the things I might think would be fun to do with a woman at least. And if it were a guy?? Such a barrier against doing anything interesting. Contact improvization work is needed? If I had more familiarity with her perhaps I could do better, but a whole change of environment could be needed. Wierd. Also the clothes we're wearing aren't consistent with the couple dancing I think of as fun. You don't see swing or salsa dancers wearing tights very often. It would take familiarity and playing with eachother- contact improv / modern dance- like. Maybe I'll get the chance to try this again.
I don't think I need to mention the role of sexual attraction/ sexual/ sensuous beauty / physicality in the aesthetics of dancing, but I'm not sure either how to deal with it here (partnering) or what its effect on my behavior is with respect to partnering. The comparison between guy and girl partners can be helpful. How to do it well in a fun and beautiful/ inspiring way? It might help if I could have this discussion with Elle. I'm too tired now to think much more about this.
Sat Nov 18 14:41:43 PST 2000
I have to leave now for a dance rehearsal-- not have to, I want to write more of this, but I know to spend the evening here typing and dreaming away would leave me with an empty, 'so what?' type feeling. It is good to get out of my cave and out of myself for a while.
Even though I have just gotten started. I think I'll be back in about three hours.
Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2000 11:22:03 -0800 (PST) From: Colin Leath <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: J.H. Crawford <email@example.com> Subject: Re: CarfreeInstitute ... in Monterey? ...
Mon Nov 20 07:53:45 PST 2000
I was going to write about dance and dancers, and dreaming- how life seems so unreal, fairy-tale like sometimes. I do find some incredibly unusual environments, though I do not go more than 15 miles away. Dance class on Tuesday evening for example (two Tuesdays ago), the characters there- all kids, many unruly, except the instructor. And the instructor Dolores is really something. She was professional once, and now has kids. No doubt she wishes she were now thinner, but she does have a sort of deep level of attractiveness and beauty (she is attractive without being thinner- but do you understand what I mean? I think there are some women who just have a way of being that causes people to feel something special about them). I do wonder what she thinks and feels, though it might be more fun just to wonder. She got my emotions (not sure what emotions, but something) going once by coming close and demonstrating the routine from what seemed two feet away from me. I always try it as she shows it. It is quite something, me trying to mirror her from two feet away, and feeling a bit awkward about it. With us looking at eachother-though I would not keep looking into her eyes because of feeling awkward. Effectively dancing together, perhaps. These are the kind of emotional challenges I am looking for (I just need to remember that)... So much of dancing is about dancing together, but in the kind of dance I've been taking, most of us are off in our own worlds as we try to get things right. Sometimes the narcissism is flamboyant, and there is one dancer, Jennifer, who fascinates me because of how she watches herself in the mirror, and her face and expression is so unusual, beautiful, but sad in a way. A very round face- sort of Mona Lisa like, but I think more so.
Marika and Ilana were cavorting about, and it is wonderful to see good dancers, especially kids, (though these are not quite kids any more) playing in dance. It is like how you might imagine faeries would be. Light, and effortless, joyful- or its more happy, and unreal.
And then right after that some older dancers come in for lift class- they're not much older. And the guys are so affectionate, physically, with the girls- it is so good to see, and so unusual. I have read (actually it was only a quote from one dancer in a book from the 80s) that the interaction between male and female dancers in some of the academies, when they are dancing together is so sterile/asexual-even though here they are sliding all over eachother or one lifting the other, in duets meant to express feelings of love. That's not the case with the friends I saw. The girls are a bit giggly and immature, but not really, and they are attractive. And the guys are a bit goofy-looking, not quite as attractive as the girls, I think. But they do love eachother it seems. I think you might see now why things seem unreal.
The dance studio where that happens is special also, it is in Carmel, and it is dark when class happens, It is under pine trees, in a quiet village (sort of), and the smell of wood smoke, fog, or pine trees will be in the air. The lighting is good also- no florescents- spotlights/heat-lamp like lights hung from the ceiling.
I have more similar and different stories. There is also my bike riding, which adds to the dreaminess of life- coasting back from Fort Ord in the evenings on the weekend in the dark on a usually deserted bike trail running along an almost empty coastline. Imagine something as light as recumbent lowrider bicycle seeming to have a power of its own- perhaps like a glider. City lights like embers. And then I encounter Leo, another recumbent rider (who helped me in getting mine), with all sorts of strange flashers all over his strange bike. Or I might see Mitch during the day on his VRex with a hub-powered headlight that is on all the time far off in the distance riding toward me along that near-desert trail to Fort Ord. And he seems like something you might find in Dune, or Luke's desert hover-craft.
There are gliders along that coastline also, parasailers mostly. Coasting like the seagulls, pelicans, or turkeybuzzards along the cliffs (though pelicans don't do that, I think, they will be high or low over the water).
And the dance rehersals with her and the kids in my group (ballet III) are another one of those rather unreal times. It is very hard for me- it is hard for me to remember steps and keep on the counts, but I do have easy parts, so should be fine. I remember her sitting there in a director's chair watching the dancers intensely.
I find it absolutely incredible to see her reciting in her head and with her hands the parts of the more advanced dancers who are not there. Watching her I can almost see them dancing as almost without a doubt she actually does. She moves her hands and arms sort of like a conductor, while calling out the steps to the rhythm... pique, ballone, chasse, bourre, bourre, bourre, glissade, assemble... no doubt that's wrong, but something like that. She is intense and so is the music, and two of the younger dancers in the corner are mimicking her, not for fun, but almost unconsciously, and almost as intensly- just the arms not the words. The little girls, some of them, also try to help me out and tell me when they think I'm doing something wrong.
I am not sure if this rigid structure is for me, but it is definitely an experience and a challenge.
I need to leave, but I do want to mention what might be most wonderful of all. Of course, I cannot be sure. But there was a time last week when I was feeling a bit like I imagined I felt when I was here as a kid. I think this is a strong feeling of love for almost all aspects of my life. In some ways it is very fragile. But it was there- a feeling of love in dance classes- and in the people and even kids I know there, and even at work, and even in this place. I'm not sure exactly what it takes or how maintainable it is. But perhaps for the first time since 1984 or so I was able to conceive that life was effortlessly (or with loving the effort) loving, instead of just imagine that it could be.
Or, simply, that my ideal was attained if briefly.
In the past expressions of great joy have been a good predictor of an emotional drop (that may only be what I think not what actually happens).
The dance class is a very interesting psychological environment.
What is also wonderful is that for the first time in a very long time, I have found people I do admire- the dance teachers especially, and so many of their students. While the teachers might mess up (to my mind) in creating wonderful experience (no doubt that might not be their direct goal) occasionally, it is great that I can think 'that was a mistake, there was something wrong with that,' as opposed to writing off the whole of what he/she is doing as something that does not appeal to me. I think that's clear...
Fri Nov 24 16:22:25 PST 2000
If I knew of a dance class today I'd be there... but there will not be one until Sunday. Unfortunately christmas/winter holidays are coming up so dance classes may suffer a hiatus again. Alternatives will have to be found. Or a fallback to exploring and pondering the feeling of melancholy? Or wandering around the peninsula marveling at beauty in aloneness, thinking poetic thoughts, singing songs, dancing on the beach--playing with emotions that way--and working on computer projects should I be able to maintain the interest... Prevention of the danceless day can be facilitated by asking more accomplished dancers what they do over these breaks. Or the finding of a religious group of dancers. I wonder if yoga classes, like some swim team practices continue almost every day over the holidays.
And talking with Deanna more when I get the chance. She seems to understand something, about dance for sure, and maybe about other things, that I do not.
I think in general I should make a better effort to get to know those people- instead of being so off in my own world.
I should start by learning their names and then their occupations, and interests :) O.k. that sounds like a good plan-- I might not do that exactly, but at least I will be more open to doing that.
Mon Nov 27 20:03:32 PST 2000
In case someone might be wondering, I'm doing my best to stay sane at the moment. Seems like the lack of dance classes over Thanksgiving threw me for a loop, or maybe it would have happened anyways. There was more written here but I was thinking too much about it, so I took it off. I'm pretty sure things will turn out all right in the long run... I'm not finding much satisfaction in working on this site. Basically, I think I need more things to look forward to: now its only dance class- until I'm exhausted. Maybe something needs to change, or maybe I just need to wait it out. I can't call it depression, because it is embodied by an almost animal energy wanting an outlet. A severe restlessness and a boredom. I feel like sprinting for 6 miles, but I know that wouldn't do it. A long ocean swim might provide the mental release for a while. Unfortunately at work the computer is winning.
Sat Dec 02 2000
It's 11:20 p.m. now... That last part was written Monday, after having gone to two dance classes. My mind was in that state- I knew I wouldn't be able to sprint 6 miles at that point. By Thursday I was back to my 'normal' self- work was interesting, and I had the appropriate level of physical (not from lack of sleep) fatigue. I actually didn't go to dance class that day, and stayed at work till 5:30 or so. In some ways it is disturbing that my interest in the way my life is now is that fragile (disrupted by three days without dance classes), but it is much better than before. This time I have a solid idea of what will make me better. I've begun planning for Christmas holidays and long dance class hiatus, and some options have come to mind. ...
Mon Dec 04 02:24:09 PST 2000
It is a wonderful feeling to have a hunger, and to know exactly what kind of food in the smallest amount will provide the feeling of satiation and satisfaction, most quickly. That is not what I'm getting at but it is one nice feeling. I did not go to class, but instead went on my run, then to rehearsal. I stayed long after rehearsal, stretching till all my muscles felt stretched, and until my feet felt exercised.
Stretching to satiation is similar to feeling one is getting eating just right. It feels good, and seems peaceful. On the bike ride back, I took a different route, through industrial sand city. I could think of plenty to look forward to as I thought about today, feeling love for what had happened and what was to happen.
Thu Dec 07 05:54:55 PST 2000
From Sun Dec 03 05:54:22 PST 2000:
But why do this when it obviously does not come easily to me? For one it is emotionally challenging and difficult to face socially embarassing situations--for g-d's sake, this makes me feel! Remember that deadness of experience has been / is one of my greatest complaints. To some extent pain is better than no feeling at all. That's pretty sad, though, but mostly, I just want to be better, I think. I will put up with less than ideal environments if I think it will help me be a better dancer. This is only within reason and under certain circumstances of course.
The kind of dance I've remembered the most is the dance I've encountered unexpectedly. The young ballet dancers playing on the other side of Barton Springs Pool- especially the one who did a chasse turn while running across the grassy hill. That she had and would express that kind of grace and frolick in everyday life was beautiful to me, made me tear, and I still remember her.
Another was in a cafe on Univ. Ave in Seattle. A young man was listening to some musicians playing there:
Thursday July 4, 1996 11:50 pm
Remember the guy with the hat on his head, tilted, eyes slits, dancing to the jam by moving his head, right arm and upper body. Left arm in pocket. Blue nylon jacket, bag jeans, bleach shave hair, a twist of it long.
Thu Dec 07 18:22:21 PST 2000
I do want to express a feeling of intense dissatisfaction/hate/anger/rage/despair/angst. I sedate myself with physical exhaustion. Looking forward to death only. To give the impression that I'm all about love and wonderful experience may be for the most part correct, but I value the expression and exploration of their opposites as well.
I've done a good job of continuing to change, while still developing and maintaining life practices that could continue to be important to me as long as I live.
Sun Dec 10 07:28:01 PST 2000
I have been focusing on the art of day-to-day life, and when special events come along, I'm at a loss.
I like Twyla Tharp's dance that she choreographed for a person at U. Mass. Amherst, which involved dancing a route through the campus every day. Tharp said, in her book, _When push comes to shove_, that the police would get calls about someone thought to be tripping on acid.
I've invited almost everyone I know to the dance recital tomorrow. I think I do this because it is a way to share finding something so wonderful.
Create dance dancers love.
The railings along the waterfront are not much different from barres.
The dancers carrying barres outside today looked so pale and white, like they were in a snowfield. Perhaps because I usually see them against a black floor and the sidewalk was white? It was very strange to see ballet dancers outside. To see their faces against a vast sky instead of a ceiling or wall?
I want to be able to do beautiful, sustained butterfly. Well, I already can, but I want to do it even better. My swimming is dancing sometimes, and people can see it. I hope their experience could be something like mine upon seeing that dancer at Barton Springs.
Frank Q. is especially good at leading a moving reverence. Walter works on getting us to dance with eachother.
It is fun to move in different ways and to move with music is a good way to spend time with music. I don't spend much time with music otherwise, so dancing with music or drummers is special to me.
Sometimes the movement and the music combine to create intensely moving experience. Sometimes dancing with others creates intensely moving experience.
I want to play.
I love things that are very different from what I or anyone else would expect.
When I was in college I started a group for people to meet 'to discuss and to create experience.' It was called the being group. "What is being? What is loving? What is the best of life? Discuss, Experience." We would sit or lay in the grassy Sylvan Theatre or in a dimly lit room and dream and talk of profound things.
To encourage others to consider themselves artists of experience and of life and doing so myself will work most directly to create the kind of environment I will love living in.
Mon Dec 19 05:53:48 PST 2000
I am restless, wishing more areas of my life were more expressive of what is important to me. I am not sure what that life would be like. I want to make amazing experience less rare.