A quote from A Sense of Dance by Constance A. Shrader:
Your development as a dancer (and as a person) depends on your integrity. The more you are able to appreciate and work with your unique gifts and talents, the more you will have to offer as a dancer and as a person. If you generally work with outer, other-body goals, your chances of being present for your own transformations are coincidental. Maintaining your integrity, in both class work and choreographic work, requires that you continually evaluate how you move and what you are moved by in terms of images, sensations, and motivations.
On my flight home I watched a documentary film entitled Béjart Ballet Lausanne, the artistic director being Gil Roman, Maurice Béjart's disciple and successor. At one point, these words quietly faded in and out on the screen:
Il m’a fallu des années pour sortir cet artiste incomparable
qu’est Gil Roman du maquis mental où il s’enfermait avec
ses fantasmes, ses amours, ses complexes!
Lentement j’ai compris ses qualités, j’ai réalisé combien il
était proche de moi.
I rewound the video and watched the same words appear and disappear several times, until I learnt them by heart.
I realised that I, too, had to get out of my mental maze, where I had shut myself up for so long with my fantasies, my passions, my fears; that I, too, needed to leave the srubland of my entangled mind, if I wanted to live, and create, and give.
A veil of mist lifted and I finally saw reality in its full pliancy.
I was ready to interact.
I have loved this film, and Susannah York's Jane Eyre, since I was a child. I have finally found the sheet music for that wonderful piano piece Jane plays, after telling Mr Rochester that she plays 'a little'. Mr Rochester stops her, wiping his eyes as if he had dust in them, and tells her that she does indeed play 'a little'.
I also play just a little. Here is what I made of the sheet music.
Many thanks to everyone who has left a comment for this post. I bet John Williams would be very moved to see all these comments! I certainly have been. I would like to confirm that the sheet music I have is the same version as the one on the webpage Laura posted in her comment on 24 January 2014.
Another TWS prompt.
At my last job, when I was still learning the ropes from my predecessor, I told her one day at lunch time that I needed to go to the Students' Union to get some ink cartridges for my fountain pen.
'Your fountain pen?' she said, raising her eyebrows. 'I just buy 100-yen Byros and throw them away when I'm done with them.'
I had no mobile phone at the time. No air-conditioner at home. No hoover, either. And here's just one more reason to call myself an anachronism: I had a fountain pen.
Sorry, that was a lie. I had, and still have, two fountain pens.
One of them I had bought at the same Students' Union where I told my predecessor I was going to get my ink cartridges. It isn't a fancy pen, but it has a specially bent nib, so when you write with it in Japanese, the characters look as though they had been done with a brush.
The other one is a dark-red, marble-patterned Waterman. It was a good-luck gift from Mr N, my then mentor, who gave it to me just before I left Tokyo to study in England. Recently I bought a bottle of pink ink, encre invisible, and filled up my Waterman with it. At boring gatherings, people habitually see me scribbling away without knowing what I am writing, as my Waterman does not leave any trace on the paper. Actually that would be nice, wouldn't it, if it were true? What really happened was I got tired, and I got lazy, so I just sit around, stare into space, and let my pink invisible ink dry up in my beloved, other, fountain pen.
Another TWS prompt.
I cannot recall anyone else who has treated me the way you do.
You treat me as if I were Japanese. Well, I am Japanese, down to the very core of my being. But the thing is, you treat me as if I looked Japanese.
Even as a young child, I was conscious of being perceived differently. Later, I learnt why. According to my Japanese mother, my father had been an English-Indian biracial man, and though she never said this, I worked out myself that she could not have seen him more than a dozen times. In my childhood there were nights when I lay in bed and fantasized about meeting my father, our first meeting, our only one perhaps, but nevertheless our meeting as father and son. I have long since given up on that fantasy. Now I hope and pray he never shows up on our doorstep. I cannot afford to have my everyday peace disturbed by a stranger.
Did I say no one has treated me the same way you do? I was exaggerating. Actually, my mother does. And my grandmother, too.
Went to TWS, where we were given a prompt, wrote for a few minutes, and read out loud what we had written.
I listen to the sound of the bell I have just lifted from the dining table echo in my house. I mean, our house. Well, actually, his house.
Samuel walks in, poses like the flagpole atop Buckingham Palace, and asks in his tranquil voice.
How I wish I could hear in that voice, just once, even a hint at some sort of emotion of his own.
'Very nice cheeseboard here, Samuel, but I think I just fancy a bit of caviar to go with the biscuits.'
'I shall have Robert serve it right away, milady.'
Three minutes later I am splashing caviar onto a biscuit which is on top of a piece of moose cheese. I turn my creation upside down――fun, isn't it? Now my cheese and biscuit seem to adorn the mound of caviar like a glacé cherry would a fairy cake――or so I believe, since fairy cakes are such a distant memory now it feels like they belong to another lifetime.
I devour the mixture, here alone with my withered thoughts and withered body, in his massive dining room.