What does dancing get you?


“What time is your final exam?” my roommate asks, poking my shoulder.

I open one eye. “Eight o’clock.”

“It’s 8:30,” she says.

I fly out of my top bunk after three hours of sleep. I pull on a sweater that is on the floor. My hair is matted and tangled. Sheets lines etch my face. I grab two pencils, shove on my tennis shoes without bothering with socks, and I run.

I run down six flights of stairs, down the sidewalk, and across the street. It is December in Indiana and the cold sears my insides. Pain stitches through my sides and I keep running until I reach the history building and have to kneel on the stairs until I can breathe.

I get to the third floor holding my side and fling open the doors. Everyone and their pencils stop. I realize then I’m making this screechy, wheezing sound. The professor looks up and waits for me to walk, bent sideways to his desk. He says nothing but hands me the exam.

I sit down and lean forward to rest my forehead on the desk. The guy who sits next to me waits until my breathing steadies and he says, “What the hell happened to you?”

You ever get that feeling that you are never going to get enough done? No matter if you write one word or one-hundred pages, do you think you could’ve written more (never mind better)? Or maybe you are happy that you got something, anything, done at all.

My art show is coming in April and I’m getting that exam week feeling. That feeling you get when you’re faced with an exam and you know you could’ve studied more. You could’ve worked harder instead of gone out dancing. What did dancing get you anyway?

7 thoughts on “What does dancing get you?

  1. Oh, I know the feeling so well. I’ve had a few guest post to do this week and I keep looking back toward my own blog wishfully. To make it worse I can’t even post a link from my blog to the guest post as they wanted them in early. Ugh…Yeah I know exactly what you mean and I haven’t even had the pleasure of the excuse of dancing. No fair *winks*. I’m almost sure your art show will be a huge success dear friend. (Hugs)Indigo

  2. I don’t know anything about art or having an art show, but I do know that feeling. I can’t wait to hear all about it. I’d bet a large amount of money that you have done plenty, and it will be a smashing success.

  3. Well… dancing is good for the soul and rejuvenates you. I’ve been finding that if I workworkwork without “dancing” I start to freak out and get anxious.

    I’m trying to let some things go, instead of trying to do it all and allow more room for dancing. I finally got my business cards yesterday… yikes, it was so stressful, but now it’s done, I’m going to try to put it out of my mind and move on to the next thing. Back to the novel, I hope.

    I’m trying to keep my to do lists current, and I’m trying to keep my logs current so I don’t get that overwhelmed feeling and can watch my progress. I’m also trying to put dancing on both lists and logs so i don’t forget to take care of myself.

    And in the end… how did the test turn out? Did you pass? Fail? Did it really matter either way?

  4. The most difficult thing for me is that deadlines and expectations (from myself as much as others) can make my writing and the creative process feel more like an exam than dancing.
    The trick, I feel, is getting back to the dance…

    By the way, in grad. school I talked a boyfriend into going to the midnight premiere of The Doors movie and then a sleep over when I knew that he had to be on a bus for a university music trip at 6am. We fell asleep, the alarm didn’t go off and the bus left without him, He had to chase behind it in his old beater of a car that kept breaking down the whole way. I still feel badly about it, and about not getting you up earlier for that exam.

    March is one of those blessed months with 31 days, my friend.
    You always danced with abandon and joy and sometimes even with a bit of sweet revenge.
    Make your art feel like dancing and all will be well.

  5. I know how it feels to have so much to do and then being afraid I’ll never finish in time. Yes, I do. But whenever I felt like that, I almost always got things done. I’m sure you’ll get everything you need to done, and you’ll be a success. I can’t wait to hear about it.

  6. There’s a passage from James Stephens’s The Crock of Gold which I never forgot… It’s an exchange between a leprecaun and the character known as The Philosopher. (Forgive the extended quote.)

    One of the Leprecauns here interposed.

    ” Noble Sir,” said he, ” there isn’t much room in our house, but there ‘s no stint of welcome in it. You would have a good time with us travelling on moonlit nights and seeing strange things, for we often go to visit the Shee of the Hills and they come to see us; there is always something to talk about, and we have dances in the caves and on the tops of the hills. Don’t be imagining now that we have a poor life, for there is fun and plenty with us and the Brugh of Angus Mac an Óg is hard to be got at.”

    ” I would like to dance, indeed,” returned the Philosopher, ” for I do believe that dancing is the first and last duty of man. If we cannot be gay what can we be? Life is not any use at all unless we find a laugh here and there.”

    From looking at your portfolio online I gather you’ve already sold a bunch of your stuff. I’m pretty sure this is the universe’s way of telling you, For gods’ sake, woman, you don’t need to worry about your art! 🙂

  7. Yes. In fact I’ve been suffering from it this week as it is the most important week as my career as a teacher (I have lots of occupations, each important to me). I’ve had dreams all week that are horrifying and scary and a result of stress.

    Yesterday marked the end.

    My students took first place in both major competions. We’ve been preparing all year.

    The entire fact that you feel stress and unsure and exam time means you are gearing up and you are getting ready and you will rock your show.

    Can’t wait!

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