Saturday, December 6, 2014
Emily Frankel is stuck; she wants to write a blog about how important it is to exercise during the holiday season but everything she describes seems boring.
John, who doesn't like to exercise, jumps in, and reminds her how she exercised, how exercise saved her life after her back was broken in a car crash -- how exercise got her back to dancing professionally.
His questions and her answers become a discussion on how to make boring exercise less boring.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Sometimes you just keep going.
Why? Probably it's what Berra learned from doing what he did in baseball.
If you don't move down the road, maybe it's because you don't know where the road might be taking you. Even so, take a step, then another, and see whatever is there to see -- the yellow line, cracks in the road, rocks along the side, or maybe the foliage as you look beyond the trees and wonder where you are going.
Here's a remark to remember: "A
person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it," said Jean de la Fontaine, 17th Century French poet whose fables are still quoted nowadays.
Ayn Rand said, "People create their own questions because they are afraid to look straight. All you have to do is look straight and see the road, and when you see it, don't sit looking at it -- walk."
Okay, if you're tired, you can't help recalling other long walks that led to empty spots and dead-end places, dark places -- where time was wasted looking for ways to get out, or ways to back out while traveling slowly backwards.
Hey, even moving backwards you are progressing. Back, sideways, forward, or up or down is progressing -- it's life's exercise.
You could quote Hawking, Einstein, Margaret Thatcher, Buddha -- a lot of major thinkers talk about the roads we travel on. You could sing that song:
"Life is a winding road,
with many twists and turns.
You must make the right choices,
or you will crash and burn.
There is always a chance,
the wrong choice will be chosen.
But do not fret, and do not fear.
The right choice you will hear.
Life is a winding road,
with many different choices.
Be careful what you choose,
for there are many different voices."
Yes, sing but don't judge, attach praise, or fears, or definitions. Be there. Just be there as you go.
Sunday, November 30, 2014
Have you ever pondered, yearned, prayed, wished you were famous?
I did, when I was a very little girl.
I poured over a book about Anna Pavlova, a great ballerina. I pasted pictures of Pavlova on my wall. I devoured the stories about Isadora Duncan, a barefoot dancer who danced to "Beethoven's Fifth Symphony," and had lots of lovers, and danced all over the world.
It occurred to me that the spirit of Isadora was in me. At the library, I took out books about transmigration of the soul and reincarnation; then palmistry, and studied my palm.
I went for it.
Later, after I became a dancer, something of a name -- I was rising in the dance world; my picture had been on the dance page of the NY Times, as well as Dance Magazine -- I put my mind on what I could do to become a big name.
I'd been in an automobile accident, broken my back, and recovered from partial paraplegia. What about using that?
No -- I didn't want people to come to my performances with binoculars and be distracted from what dancing really is, which is d a n c i n g -- movement that conveys joy, sorrow, curiosity, laughter, wonderment, fear -- any, or all of those feelings.
My husband, John Cullum, was already a name on Broadway. Yes, we said, when Newsweek contacted us, and photographed and featured us in a half-page article. It was progress. We weren't famous but our parents and relatives were very impressed.
"Encore --The Private and Professional Life of Emily Frankel," the book that a sports writer wrote about my recovery from paraplegia, was published. I hired a press agent. She arranged a dozen interviews with TV and radio hosts and told me to gave away a lot of books. I did, and did a "benefit" for the Lincoln Center Library -- danced -- performed for two nights at Lincoln Center.
It didn't make me famous. It made me feel ... what? Lucky to be alive, lucky to be able to use my husband's earnings to pay for a press agent -- lucky to be a dancer, who'd danced at Lincoln Center.
Hey, if you want fame, don't be naive, be skeptical. My dictionary says: "famous, (1) known by many people. (2) honored for an achievement. (3) synonyms: renowned, celebrated, noted, notorious, distinguished, eminent, illustrious."
If you want to be really famous, put your mind on shocking us -- doing something utterly outrageous in an utterly inappropriate place. Consider being naked in a Lady Gaga half-on, half-off outfit, or screaming something scary at a public gathering, and creating a panic. That will get you for 15 minutes of fame, which might include a minute on TV's "Entertainment Tonight," and more than likely a fine, possibly jail time.
Advice, from a un-famous, would-be famous-er: Do your work. Do one of your dreams -- build, make, create something -- or be magnificent, amaze yourself -- just jump in and help someone or some project with all your heart and soul and physical energy.
That's all you have to do. The rest is selling, promoting, hoping for good luck -- being at the right place at the right time. And hoping.
Hey, I'm still hoping.