Sunday, February 18, 2018

St. Louis: Come to Me, My Pretties

Jícama on the Nazca figure vessel, "The Harvester," ca 100-300 CE, St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri. February 2018.

I finally found a source of fresh and juicy, affordable jícama. It's at the China Town Market on Olive Street in University City. The produce truck comes every Thursday.

Come to me, my little pretties. I will gobble you up.

The Tajín I get at Aldi's.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Learning to Dance: Swing, Part 1: Remember the Curve

Swing, Toronto, Canada. Summer 2016.

One of my goals when I moved to Louisiana was to learn to dance. I wrote a series about my Louisiana dance-learning experience:

Learning to Dance, Part 1: Solving for X
Learning to Dance, Part 2: The Tao of Following
Learning to Dance, Part 3: The Pause
Learning to Dance, Part 4: Signals
Learning to Dance, Part 5: Anticipation

Swing, Toronto, Canada. Summer 2016.

When I moved to El Paso, I intended to learn salsa, and I made some attempts at getting into the dance scene, but it didn't happen.

One of my St. Louis goals was to learn swing dancing. This post inaugurates the story of my progress.

Via a meetup group I joined, I began weekly swing dance lessons at the Moolah Shrine in one of St. Louis' bajillion cities that cluster around actual St. Louis: Creve Coeur. Or maybe Maryland Heights. Or Bridgeton. It's a toss-up.

West County Swing Dance Club hosts the Tuesday-night dance, which includes an hour-long lesson before the dance begins. There are different lesson groups, which range from beginner to advanced.

I began at Level 1: Beginner. In fact, I did three weeks at the beginner level before moving on to Level 2, which is where I am as I write this post.

Swing, Toronto, Canada. Summer 2016.

On learning swing, I am re-learning lessons I thought I knew, both in dance and life:

Learning a new dance means making mistakes, looking stupid, feeling lost, feeling impatient with myself. I must remind myself that this is normal. I'm supposed to make mistakes, look stupid, and feel lost. I don't need to feel impatient with myself. Instead, I must remember the cardinal rule of dance: Have fun!

My tendency to move too quickly, to forget the importance of the pause - the importance of letting a process unfold rather than push toward the destination, to relax into the moment, to savor the act - remains.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Word of the Year: Courage 2: A Poet Familiar With Fear

Audre Lorde. Art credit: Harriet Faith.

An author friend recently introduced me to the works of the poet, Audre Lorde.

Ms. Lorde had a few things to say about fear:

I want to write down everything I know about being afraid, but I’d probably never have enough time to write anything else. Afraid is a country where they issue us passports at birth and hope we never seek citizenship in any other country. The face of afraid keeps changing constantly, and I can count on that change. I need to travel light and fast, and there’s a lot of baggage I’m going to have to leave behind me. Jettison cargo.

Your silence will not protect you.” From Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” From The Cancer Journals

and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid
So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive
Audre Lorde, The Black Unicorn: Poems

"Sometimes we are blessed with being able to choose
the time, and the arena, and the manner of our revolution,
but more usually
we must do battle where we are standing.”
― Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

All Word of the Year: Courage posts here.