Last weekend I had a big milestone. I danced in a performance for this dance workshop I’ve been involved with for the past 2.5 months, around 8 practices leading up to a performance.
I tried out dance when I first moved out to San Francisco ~2.5 years ago, and from the start, it has puzzled and intrigued me. Puzzled because it’s so ground in instinct and emotion and action, whereas my default is to think and logic my way through things. Intrigued because it was such a new mode to force my mind to operate in. I noticed that whenever I caught myself in the middle of the dance flow and started thinking, I would lose the choreo and look stiff. I couldn’t get better at dancing by thinking about it—I just had to connect my body with the music and drill the moves til they felt like second nature. I think dancing really teaches you to trust your instinct for what’s “right” broadly, as in everything I do has value for no reason other than the fact that I chose to do it. It’s an exercise in asserting yourself and trusting yourself to do things that you like.
I’ve been reading George Saunders', a writer I really admire, new newsletter recently, and he talks about how his most prolific period of writing happened when he just started writing like himself, and as a result, had really strong opinions about what should happen at any given point. I think the things we create are some of the most intimate reflections of ourselves, so it’s only natural that the best works are those that are the most authentic reflections of pieces of us.
I want to channel this weirder, authentic, faster energy in my creations. Of course, I still love consuming great works and want to be inspired by my favorite artists and creators, but in the end, my actions and creations should feel like uncompromising expressions of what I think and feel. Like swathes of my being gathered and compressed into tiny kernels, sometimes blown out into whole independent worlds.
This is the 93rd installment in my experiment of publishing raw, lightly edited mini-essays every day towards achieving 100 public pieces. Check out the rationale and the full list here.