Posts Tagged ‘MPB – Southern Expressions – Ron Brown’

Finding Expression

March 25, 2010

Did you ever find yourself without expression: lacking words, gestures, images, forms of any kind that might express  the internal landscape? I do not think the landscape blank; it is more that I may have forgotten the language, or cannot  quite discipher a secret code. I can sense riches hidden within: wonders of the psyche – of the spirit. Perhaps I have lost the courage for revelation.

In the past, I lived in close connection with the depths, never questioning the expression of my thoughts and feelings. Childlike, I wept, laughed, danced. My body shouted, “Here I am.” I never wondered who I was, nor tried to fathom what I had to say. Being who I was was instantly translated into active sharing. I couldn’t help myself. If others were occasionally mystified by what I shared, that certainly didn’t stop me from expressing. Life was a full and glorious reality. It happened on its own if one were willing. And I was willing and determined to be me, Peter Pan in female form. “I’ll never grow up; not me!”

Yet somewhere along the way, I did grow up, became more cautious in my spilling forth of me. Reactions from a less than understanding world that, in the past, had caused a brief yet thorough deluge of emotion, began to have a deeper and more lasting effect. I found myself witholding gestures, gazing mutely out from my solitary tower. Walls grew thicker to protect someone I hardly knew. I began to wonder where I was and who she was. I still created, even danced at times. The vital force broke through the bonds and ageless glorious expression  found its way. But between these momentary liberations I retreated much more deeply and for longer periods.

Recently, I received my copies of the Southern Expressions show of February 25th, and watched again the woman dancing, drawing, speaking without hesitation. Happily, my critical eye was vanquished by my eager readiness for realization. Yes, I observed maturity: the obvious physical changes wrought by passing years. But through it all, the blythe spirit danced; this half hour retrospective gave me back to me. Gestures, images, and sculpural forms are clear and true. Language flows in easy rhythms, and I recognize the language as my own –  familiar words expressing who I am.  Perhaps I do still have the courage for revelation.  And now I hold the key.

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Living Proof

February 26, 2010

Last night I watched Southern Expressions –  observed the woman whose age and experience is etched upon her  face – is evident in her moving body. For, yes, she can still move, if moderately compared to earlier years. I speak of myself, for I am the one I watched flow  through my beautiful room – my art as background to my dance. My eye was critical at first, noting the differences since last I saw an on-screen version of myself. I saw the less slim form and the deepening lines around my smiling mouth. But, gradually, my obvious pleasure in expressing my approach to life  took precedence. As I spoke with the host, Ron Brown, I appeared relaxed and amazingly articulate to one who still recalls the nerves that assaulted me just prior to the filming. 

I moved beyond my initial disappointment, almost accepting that I really am much older than the dancer living deep within. This dancer’s heart still quickens at the thought of someday living out the dream of  moving audiences through her ability to move her body. Oh foolish one… Yet, didn’t I perform for the Milsaps Arts and Lecture Series a few months after the Southern Expressions taping? Didn’t I dance three dances and recite my poetry on a stage in an auditorium for the pleasure of an audience more aware of joyful energy than age? The moment far outweighed the effects of time. And last night as I finally let go and flowed with what was happening, I saw the breathing dance before my eyes – heard the verbal expression of the breathing dance and found myself at peace with that particular now.

Today has been difficult, isolated with my memories of last night’s dance. Initial doubts came back to haunt. Once more, I wept over the effects of aging, tempted to believe in endings – no more bright dreams to nourish the passing days. Most fortunately for me, and possibly for her, I phoned a friend who had not seen last night’s appearance. Kendall listened, understood, and also offered her own most glorious naked heart that I not suffer alone. In no time we were laughing over life’s abundant trickeries, and sighing deliciously over dances still to come.

The Dance or The Dream

January 15, 2010

Last night I braced myself for the questionable pleasure of watching my sixty-five year old self in a television interview on MPB. This weekly program is Southern Expressions with Ron Brown interviewing various artists in the Mississippi area. It was supposedly to be my night. There would be dancing in addition to  questions and answers in an armchair setting, but knowing myself, I knew that the whole kit and kaboodle would be a dance. My mirror has prepared me for the shock of seeing someone much older than the inner self with her endless youthful dances. So, yes, I braced myself, only to find that, for whatever reason, there would be no dance. I had been replaced by two very pleasant and talented photographers.

Confusion was my first reaction, than embarrassment at the thought of friends and family members who were watching also. As though I was in some way responsible for the absence of me  before their expectant eyes.  When they phoned I declared my ignorance of the lack, then joined in laughter at the jokes life plays upon us.  I hung up to watch another show from some years back during which I am interviewed about my father. I observed the graceful older woman speak of her artist father’s egocentricities, his absence, and his needs as an artist. She laughed affectionately over her father’s strangeness and her freqent childish denials of  him, and I flinched at this gracious version of the truth. I watched to the bitter end, still missing the dancer I had braced myself to see. Apparently there was reason for bracing myself, just not the reason I had supposed.

My eventual sleep was beset by a dream: the kind of  dream one watches from outside.  The main character was a woman with a persistantly violent husband. She suffered his assaults, making loaf after loaf of homeade bread to appease him. Finally he saw her attacked by another man, and his violence ceased, to be replaced by compassion. The woman gathered the countless loaves, some hardened by age or mildewed, some fresh and still edible. She carried them all to the front porch of the house, and threw them over the edge and into the water. Large turtles came swimming up to devour the bread.

This dream dances heavily through my mind: a constant stream of potent images. I begin to believe that this is the dance I should brace myself to receive.