Mozart´s Twin Sister

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The excitement and the dread, all too familiar, of returning to the writing of my upcoming book are back to my desk. The dance mirror where I choreograph and teach; the dance shoes, cds, scarves, weird props only Oriental Dancers would recognize and MUST READ – ever growing – pile of boks are on the side. The exterior world – its movement, noise and permanent requests of attention (often towards insignificant things) – starts to bother me really hard. I lift my fist and threaten it:

-Leave me alone. Stop stealing my focus, energy, inspiration. I have a book to write, for God´s sake!

That side of me, which my mum calls “Joana´s convent mode”, takes on bizarre contours. I don´t know how professional writers, people who live from/to writing, do it; I have no clue if they act as wild as I do, if they become cave people with mad eyes that sparkle in the dark; if a deep silence, almost like a doom, falls upon them while they´re writing as if every significant word they carry in their veins had to be saved for their book. Do they become – psycho killer style – silent like I do? Do they look like Mozart´s twin brother/sister on his final phase of absolute decadence? ´Cause I know I do. At least I feel like I do which ends up being the same.

tumblr_nubrbeYTgy1rwillro1_500.gifHow selfish a writer must be! And how demanding is this lover called “my book”. Even when I´m not writing, I am writing. Matters exterior to the writing process don´t interest me, unless I can use them in the book. I´m always absent, even when around people, lost in a land of my own making where brooding over chapters and characters rules.

Shallow talk, which has never been my cup of tea, becomes unbearable. I turn into an anti-social animal who forgets civilization (or whatever that means). The panorama worries me – I´m a public figure and a dancer; I cannot afford to close myself away in a paradisiac cabin by a lagoon, only a hot lover as company, in order to focus solely on my writing. Besides, there´s no guarantee this book will turn out good (so many hours of unpaid work and cave digging may end up in nothing). Although I write with passion and have the assistance of an editor who´s revising the text with me, I´m the one who does the writing and puts her neck on the rope.

The hours and energy I take away from my dance work, the one that pays the bills at the end of each month, will never be returned and I cannot know, for sure, if this gigantic enterprise will pay off in any possible way. Still I move forward.

The first volume is practically done – thanks, 2015! – but there are two or three more on the way. Is it daunting? For sure. I still have to function in the “real world”, dance to pay my bills, act as if I haven´t turned into an alien.

I keep walking, writing, believing, reigniting The Flame without guarantees, recognition or a public who reads what I´m producing. I go away from The Lover because I have to – traveling for work, teaching and doing my regular job – but I always go back to It. It´s like one of those affairs: I cheat on my husband (my dance) with my lover (my writing) and there´s nothing I can do about it.

To the question WHY? Why would a successful dancer take her precious, productive time to sit and write for thousands of hours without any guarantee of success?, there´s only two possible answers: OBSESSION or LOVE. Maybe both, simultaneously.

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“One cannot be taught to write. One can only learn to write by writing—and reading. Reading good books written by real artists—until you understand why they are good.”

― Truman Capote from a letter to Alvin Dewey III (25 May 1964) included in TOO BRIEF A TREAT: The Letters of Truman Capote By Truman Capote

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