Thursday night, I danced swing to live music at Lincoln Center.
There were about 300 people in attendance, at all levels of age, dance experience, and background. It made for a jolly time! When I took a break and went to have a glass of wine with a friend, a boy was watching the festivities on his iPad!
As you can see from this photo, the event was happening right in front of him, but he was guided to watch it on his iPad. It was the guided part that got to me. What sort of parental figure encourages a child not to participate in something fun but instead to witness it? Why encourage passivity instead of participation?
I’m not given to this type of judgy thinking, so I realized that the reason this boy on his iPad disturbed me was that that’s what a writer often is doing in their own life! Seemingly sitting on the sidelines watching instead of being on the court.
Before life can even happen, we’ve already got a frame around the sprawling energy of life, controlling and shaping it by describing and explaining. I so longed to ask the boy to put down the iPad and dance. That impulse is what makes me tick; it’s the reason that I create and the reason I share the Word of the Day Practice ever more widely. I want people to experience the joy of being connected. I wanted to say to him, “Friend, be a part of the theater of life, not a reporter.”
And then I realized I was dead wrong: He was a part of it, and we writers are also a part of the larger flow of the dance of life! Our observation and expression of the events we witness are not separate, and although it seems as if, like this young boy, we are not participating – we are!
Meet Lefty, a pigeon I rescued three years ago. During Covid, my then-boyfriend and I would bike around the neighborhood, feeding the birds that could no longer depend on scraps from restaurants because they were closed. They were starving, so we’d take bags of seeds and share them. One day we saw Lefty, and the poor bird had some kind of net wrapped around his claw that was blocking him from walking properly.
My resourceful friend found a net with a handle, and we were able to capture Lefty and get him to the Wild Bird Fund, whose headquarters was nearby. The Fund rescues urban birds. We left the pigeon in their skillful hands. We were told that if we hadn’t brought the pigeon in when we did, he would have died! They operated on the bird, and if you look closely at the photo, you’ll see that the Lefty’s missing the middle talon on his claw.
I never expected to see Lefty again, but I was out walking today, and suddenly it landed at my feet! I don’t know if there was mutual recognition, but I did have a few seeds in my pocket to share!
Word of the Day Webinar
It’s not just for writers! The next Word of the Day Webinar meets Wednesday, July 5, at 7:00 pm EST via Zoom. We’ll explore the concept of freedom!
Please register here:
Here’s to your writing success,
Professor Marilyn Horowitz