In The Writer's World

Like a lot of writers, I have the tendency to isolate. So, when a friend invited me to meet her and her family at a square dance last weekend, I immediately accepted. And then had second thoughts

Fond memories of square dancing lessons with an older guy (actually he was one of the inspirations for the character Will Brayburn in my upcoming novel, The Difficult Sister!) when I was still in high school powered my eagerness to say yes to her invitation.

By Saturday evening, however, everything had changed. I was grouchy. I was tired. It was just too damn much trouble. Plus, I knew I’d hate it. My writing friend told me to go anyway. I did, and I would like to say the experience was one of amazing discovery. Much like the “artist’s date” in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, the evening opened, inspired, and nurtured me.

While people of all ages attended, most were in their thirties, half were couples, and several of the men wore skirts–little tulle affairs over knee-length leggings–with tee shirts. Rather than sitting on the sidelines, as I’d expected, I was swept into squares time after time, and quickly became dizzy from all the swinging of partners. It was the perfect marriage of Portland Weird and Traditional Music. More than once I found myself laughing out loud. And all this happened before my friends even showed up.

Moral of the story: Try something new. It will open your heart. It will make you more creative. It works even if you observe; but it really works if you give it a chance and participate.

I plan to attend the sponsors’ smaller weekly square dances in the near future to enjoy great live music and get out of my cave for a while. Care to join me? Check out website calender for all the pertinent info. Will square dancing will show up in some future writing? It could–men in skirts and all!


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  • Margie Hurle says:

    You were lucky. I well remember being invited to an evening of square danding in Nyssa, and I went along looking forward to learning how to do it. Oh, no, dear, you sit and watch. I wondered why I was invited. It was something new to watch, but that wasn’t my idea of an evening dancing. And this was quite a long time after I was taken along to a day of horse racing as a young child and was eagerly looking forward to riding the racehorses. Maybe I just never was a good spectator. I’m glad you got to dance, Judy.

  • joy kelley says:

    love it! I signed up for newsletter!

  • Charles says:

    Square dancers are too conservative to allow men in skirts. Contra dancers come closer, but certainly not in the backward state of Texas—especially Dallas Fort Worth.

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