Thursday, October 28, 2010

Goals for November

Well, I didn't even post any goals for October. Perhaps I somehow knew that I would get next to nothing done? All right-- to be fair, I've been working on responsible, "real life", adult kinds of things, like trying to find a job and getting my passport renewed (which was a three week long saga of intrigue and horror).
Note: I did manage to choreograph a new solo and rewrite chapter one of my novel, so I can't say I accomplished nothing in October. I also read my new favorite vampire novel (Let The Right One In, OMG OMG OMGOMGOMG so good so good) while on a return flight from England.
In any case, I've resolved that while continuing to try to be responsible and turn my Hindenberg-esque life around, I'm also going to accomplish some creative goals in November. I will just have to stop having leisure time altogether. That's okay, right??

Here are my creative goals for November:
-Finish third drafts for 1/3 of the remaining chapters of the novel.
-Keep practicing new solo choreographies and work on solo improv.
-Do more dance-related strength training.
-Work on promoting my new classes at World in Motion.
-Update my website. (this is a big one.)
-Start working on the Christmas present situation. (I always give handmade presents to my family and friends, usually because I am totally broke, and every year it is a huge time investment.)
-Make some more costuming items to sell.

And here's my responsible adult goal:
-Apply to a million jobs.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Art and Cheese

It is not a secret that many of the things that I love with a love from my deepest heart are kind of cheesy. Slightly hokey. Perhaps not to be taken totally seriously.

Let me enumerate with some examples, some of my very very favorite things in the world:
-Also, dungeons.
-The combination thereof.
-Bellydance. (I understand that many of you may not find it cheesy, but I think it's hard to argue that it doesn't at least have the potential to be cheesy.)
-(some) Anime and manga and (some) American animation and comic books.
-80's pop music.
-Drag queens.
-Science fiction.
I could continue, but I think the point is clear. I love cheese.

Now let's be clear, while I love cheesy things, I don't love them because they are cheesy; I love them because I love them, regardless of their hokeyness. After all, I don't love all kinds of cheese. No-- I have the refined palate of someone who has been a cheese enthusiast for many years. Sub-par cheese is quite offensive to me.
While I love all of these things without taking them too seriously, I don't love them to be ironic. My love for them is genuine and pure-- perhaps purer than it might be if I did consider them to be Serious Business, since I can evaluate them frankly and look past their flaws. My adoration absolutely does not contain the taint of mockery. I think there's something a little cruel in being an ironic fan of something, to be honest. Doesn't that trivialize the sincere enjoyment of true fans?
After all, why should we judge each other-- or judge ourselves-- for what we like? Why should we feel we need to apologize for where we find relief from the drudgery of everyday life? I think we shouldn't. It makes me truly happy to recognize genuine interest in passion in other people, even if it's for things I can't really stand (such as football, Dave Matthews Band, or Naruto). I'd much rather be friends with someone who genuinely likes stuff I don't care for, even stuff I kind of hate, than someone who is bored with everything and pursues things only with an edge of irony, a detachment to protect their personal coolness quotient or whatever.

As much as I love cheese, sometimes it's hard to work exclusively in fields I know are cheesy.
As you might know, I am a bellydancer. I take my dance training and my role as a responsible, ethical member of the professional bellydance community seriously. I take my work seriously too, to an extent. I practice and I try to produce the most genuinely enjoyable performances that I can, performances that will engage bellydancers and the general public alike.
However, it's difficult for me to escape the fact that I get up on stage in nearly as much makeup as a drag queen wearing a revealing costume and perform in a style that represents a fantasy of an Orient that never exactly existed. In the end, it's kind of not serious. It might be emotionally affecting at times, but more often it's just fun, sexy, and cheesy entertainment.
There is nothing wrong with that, not until you start asking to be taken seriously. Here's the thing-- I don't really take myself seriously, but I sure as hell want other people to respect me for what I do.
How do I make that happen?
I'm also in the process of writing a novel. Well, to be more accurate, it's written, and I'm in the process of editing it a million times. This novel is about vampires. Because that's what the world needs-- another vampire book. What can I say? They say to write about what you love, and OMG I LOVE VAMPIRES. Can I help it that I don't really have any interest in writing serious literary fiction?
I need to take this endeavor seriously, because I want my book to be the best it can be, but I can't take it too seriously-- or I will step back from myself, forget my genuine love for the undead, and think Oh My God What Am I Doing, I Am Writing A Book About Vampires.
The book comes up in conversation from time to time. It usually sounds something like this:
"What have you been up to lately, Sara?"
"Well, I just finished writing the first draft of my first novel."
"Oh, wow! What's it about?"
"Well... you know... .... ... *coughhackvampires*."
And then I change the subject.
Once I finish working on it, I am going to need to try to con someone into publishing it for me. I am worried that my cheese-related shame will be an impediment. How can I sell something I'm embarrassed to even talk about?

I can only think of two solutions:
1. Convince myself and others that what I have produced is NOT cheesy (i.e., lie to myself and others for the sake of self-promotion), or
2. Convince myself and others that this stuff is cheesy, but also Art with a capital A and worthy of serious consideration.

Let's hope that #2 is possible, since I'm not a very good liar.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Return of Saturday Classes!! (and introducing a new class!)

At long last, my Saturday classes (CORE and FLOW) are starting up again, and this time they have a new and much more fabulous home: World in Motion Dance, Movement and Music Center in Morrisville! YAY!
World in Motion is a new studio dedicated entirely to world dance-- I think it's probably the first world dance studio to open in the Triangle! It's co-owned by Sashi and Emily of Blue Moon (also known as my mom and my sister) and Heather Murphy of Twilight Tribal and Bella Luna. I am so happy for them-- and for me, because now my classes have an awesome new (mold-free, mildew-free, clean and pretty) home!
I will also be teaching a beginner's class at World in Motion on Monday mornings at 10AM.
World in Motion is literally less than ten minutes away from the old CORE/FLOW location. Please don't let the idea of it being in Morrisville scare you away! It's right next to RTP-- it shouldn't be much of a hike for anyone living in the Triangle.
All three of these classes will start in early November, and you can sign up for them NOW! You can find out more about and/or register for any or all of these class offerings on the Classes page of the World in Motion website.
Starting in November, I will be teaching at World in Motion exclusively. This means that my Sunday classes will be going on permanent hiatus. I still need to update my website to reflect all these changes-- hopefully I can manage to do that soon. For now, please disregard everything on my website as it is all hideously outdated! (I'm ashamed of myself!)
If you're a fan of world dance, please take a moment to tell some people about World in Motion. This is an independent business, a labor of love for its owners, that was created out of a genuine desire to improve life and culture in the Triangle. Visit World in Motion on Facebook and help them out by becoming a fan, or tell your friends about the studio in person. Help us make the studio a success!!
World In Motion is having a grand opening celebration on January 8, 2011, featuring back-to-back workshops (I'll be teaching one of them!), refreshments, and fun activities for the whole family. Information about the grand opening will soon be available on their website.
I'm so happy to be a part of this endeavor and I hope you will join me there!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

News from the Sara zone

Life got real, you guys.
My husband's car needs an engine replacement. We don't have the money to fix it, nor do we have the money to buy a new car. Since we both need a car to get to work, I've been driving him to work and picking him up every day. This wouldn't be so bad, but he works 45 minutes from where we live, in the opposite direction from my work. As a result, I've put myself on a No Procrastination Campaign because I have Not A Lot of Free Time Anymore. I am also on financial lockdown, defcon 5, in which I buy nothing that I don't immediately need, sell anything I can that I no longer use.
I tried to start doing a second pass at editing the first chapter of my book and decided that I hate the first chapter. All of it. So, now, I am rewriting the first chapter. All of it. I hope I won't feel compelled to do this with all of the book at some juncture or another, but I feel that it's necessary for the first chapter. I'm having fun with the rewrite, so that's good, at least.
I also got into playing Minecraft since my last post, perhaps as a way to escape my car-related worries. It combines pretty much everything I could ever want in a videogame into one thoroughly addictive package. However, even when I play it on the lowest graphical settings possible, it overheats my computer on a regular basis. When this happens, everything I've done in a given game will get corrupted. So I've resolved to quit. I should probably feel lucky; it was devouring my brain like a zombie, but not one that lights on fire and dies during daylight hours. I'm not sure if I would have had the willpower to stop if it hadn't been actively destroying my computer.
Oh well. You gives some, you takes some.