Thursday, November 5, 2015

Digging Up Dreams



Once upon a time, there was a girl who loved to dance. She couldn't hear music without spinning. She spent as much time with her dancer friends as she could, breaking into box steps and falling into dips in campus hallways or grocery store aisles. She dreamed of dancing, dreamed of competing, teaching, performing. Dancing made her feel more alive, more whole, than almost anything else.

Almost.

Because of that "almost," she gave up dancing for a while, burying those dreams as deep as she could, hoping one day thinking of them would be less painful.

After a couple years, she had the chance to dance again, just a little. She let only the corner of the dreams surface. It was okay to dance a little, be in one performance. Her heart could handle that much.

It wasn't as hard when she had to give it up again a few months later. After all, she just had to dump a load of dirt over the corner.

Two years later, she got the chance to dust off that corner again. It had been manageable the last time; it had brightened her life without taking over. It was safe.

Until she stepped onto the dance floor and color flooded back into a world she hadn't realized was desaturated.

It wasn't just the dancing side of her that had come alive again, it was everything--everything in her entire world seemed more real, and she felt like she was breathing after two years underwater. And this time, she got asked to enter a teacher training program, a program that could potentially dig up those dusty old dreams for real--a program at a studio with the type of people and dancing she'd thought far in her past.

She said no, of course. It wasn't really feasible.

And yet, somehow, everything fell into place. At the urging of her husband, she jumped, opening her heart to all those bedraggled dreams.



But her body, once strong, had changed over the course of having three children. Muscle was gone. Stability was gone. Balance was gone. Things that had once been so easy now required intense focus. She cried, sometimes, driving home, frustrated that she could have lost so much of what she'd once worked so hard for, even while feeling so lucky to get the chance to try again.

For four months she swung between elation and frustration, overjoyed to be dancing, wishing she could have learned all this technique years before, and always, always, part of her crying,


Do you think you can find it?*



Do you think you can find it?




Do you think you can find it...




Better than you had it?




She watched her old dance videos and wondered if she'd ever be able to move like that again. She wondered if she'd ever really find the connection and vitality of the teams she'd once danced on.

But every time she questioned, she would go back to her new dance studio and be amazed all over again that she'd managed to find somewhere so fun, so alive, so caring, and with such a high quality of dancing. For the first time in years, she began to put down roots. She had found somewhere she would truly be sorry if she had to leave. She didn't know what the future would bring, or what would come after she finished the program--would they hire her? Would it work with her family's schedule? Would she someday compete again? Would she get to perform? Would her body ever be able to handle lifts--her true passion--again? She wondered. And while she wondered, she practiced.


***

Once upon a time, there was a girl who loved to dance. She had lots of dreams and hopes and fears and questions, and she still doesn't have answers for most of them, but one of her dreams was to teach. 

Well, tonight was that girl's first teacher certification exam. It was a 3-hour test with a national examiner from DVIDA

She passed. 

And right now, that's enough.


Monday, May 4, 2015

Making Progress

Hi blog... it's been a while.

In January I was asked to be the leader of all the 12-18-year-old girls at my church. Overwhelming, but very fun.

In February I was just trying to get my feet under me.

In March I decided it was time to start whipping my current novel into shape so I could pitch it at a conference in May and start querying it in June.

Since then, I've taken my 100,000 word rough draft + this:

(I need to start taking notes in a notebook, but the printer paper was always closer.)

And turned it into this:

List of chapters to revise

and this:
Scene map to check point of view, goal, tension, conflict, etc.


As you can see from the chapter list, I'm nearly through this round of major revisions. I've added scenes, cut scenes, cut a character, overhauled another character, added conflict, fixed pacing, cut lots of random bits... In spite of the new scenes, I've dropped my total by 7,000 words so far. 

This is the point where my writer friends both cheer and breathe a deep sigh with me. Because there are so many rounds left to go. 

I would like to someday make money from my writing. But if I were looking for something that gave a good monetary return for time invested, I would run screaming right now.

Fortunately, that's not why I write. As much work as this is--and it is definitely work--I love it. I love creating stories, I love messing with words, and I love when readers tell me they love my books.

And I'm really excited to start querying this one, guys. Really, really excited.

I just have to get through another two or so rounds of revisions... and then I can take a breath before I start the whole process over with an agent or editor. :-D