Saturday, December 18, 2004

Sk8ing is Gr8

Wish I could do figure 8s as easy as typing them in on my computer keyboard. When I'm writing I imagine that's what it feels like to be a really good skater. Intention translates to action with no apparent connection between initial thought and completion. Unconsciously skilled? What skating and writing have in common is the need for practice. The only way to skate like a floating dream is to work at it for hours and years and learn increasingly difficult moves and sequences by falling down a lot. The most important thing is to skate. Writing's the same. You have to keep practising and trying more and more difficult things. As you get better, it seems like the story writes itself, but it's really climbing the ladder that's been set through hours and days and years of application. Talent counts too, of course. But the practice allows the potential to be realised.

In skating, I lack both talent and practice, but I still enjoy it. It's the closest thing to flying I know. One small push and the water molecules liquify under your blades and zoooom! I got out for the first time this season with Emma, my five-year-old friend. Emma's mom doesn't skate so she asked me to go to her school skating party with her. This little girl is just learning to skate. She spent almost as much time lying on the ice as gliding over it, but she kept on smiling and getting up and skating some more. She held my hand only a little, preferring to go on her own. It was like watching a baby learn to walk, her movements all uncoordinated and over-correcting. Every time she fell she did what her skating teacher showed her: tummy, knees, foot, up! I helped her but she felt light as a feather, pushing up with her own strength. Her cheeks were pink and she was grinning at me with her two front teeth missing. What a cutey! We're planning to go again on New Year's Eve, with my kids and my friend Louise and my godson Sam too. It's good to do things that you're not that great at but give you a sense of what being good must feel like. Inspired by Emma's cheery optimism, I might even try some figure 8s.

As for the writing, I have a couple of short (I think) stories bumping at the top of my consciousness. I'm going to try to open my brain and let them out over the holidays. As a writer, I'm at the intermediate level, with lots to learn. The possible moves and sequences are infinitely complex and challenging, but I love practising. Also, I am talented. My ladder can be extended into the stratosphere if I work at it.

Question: Who wouldn't?

mompoet - cheerfully optimistic and willing to fall down

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