Block 167: August 10, 2013



I feel like I’m ready to take on life today.

Date: August 10, 2013

Crane: 167

Days Spent on Project: 174

Location: Apartment, Washington Heights, NYC

Person I would have sent it to: Professor Reischman.

After a hall-mate, Eli McC, got me to audition for a student dance concert during my first semester at Kenyon, I was hooked. Or at the very least intrigued.

By dance. Modern dance.

The second semester, I enrolled in Beginning Modern, with Prof. Reischman, who Eli reassured me would offer a good introduction to dance, without being too scary.

Reischman was electric, upbeat, friendly, demanding, superhuman, flexible, and always moving. The ways she incorporated movement, borrowing from yoga and pilates (who knew what pilates was back then?) and pedestrian behavior… it was exciting. As someone who was then on an acting career path, learning about the world of expression through movement and the technique required to do that, it was educational. Mind-opening.

At the end of that academic year, Reischman’s time at Kenyon was over. She would move on to another school to teach full-time; Kenyon only had one full-time dance professor, who had been there to start the program, and she wasn’t going anywhere. Reischman would be missed. A bunch of the students threw her a party. I was asked to make a card, with some dancing figures on it… as people knew I could draw.

At the end of that academic year, Reischman also performed one of her solo pieces in the Spring Dance Concert. It’s one of the few performances I remember clearly. She danced in a simple, white cotton nightgown. Her only onstage partner was an old wooden table.

Partnering with a wooden table seems random, but it worked. The two of them managed to dance together, Reischman finding ways to have it move her. Lying on her back, underneath the table, for one second; the next moment, lifting a leg, and using the back of her heel, hooking the table’s edge, and lifting herself to standing… on top of the table.

It was kinda magical. And superhuman.

She still teaches. I think she’s had quite the career, and has been recognized for her work.

I loved it all. I still do. If I could re-live my life over, I would have sought out ways to continue dancing, and entertaining the fantasy that it was something I could do.

Music I listened to while sewing: I’m switching between the songs “Hellhound” by Son of Dave and some Bessie Jones this morning.
Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: Like I said earlier, I feel like I could take on life today.
I think I’m finally getting back to the point where I feel somewhat well-rested and put back together after the summer’s unfortunate events. A week of gym-going, writing, drawing, quilting, reading, has been completely necessary.
And, maybe I’ll be proven wrong in the coming weeks, but I do feel like things aren’t closed off. Nothing has ended. Nothing is over. There are still choices to make and things to do and paths to go down and ideas to flesh out and worlds to create. There are still things I can do.
I think I’m realizing, once again, that I can still lead my life… that all isn’t lost… that I can make choices… that I have autonomy over myself. I can still be an active participant in my life; I don’t have to allow things to happen to me.
No, idea why that was such a revelation this morning, but it was.
Last night I dreamt I was wondering, with a group of random people from different areas of my life, through one of those “Super” grocery stores that dot the United States, the kind of store where you have 50 options of everything aisled up in front of you, where displays make the choices seem necessary and important. I remember wanting very specific things- again random things, but things that were on a list. And I couldn’t find them.

I asked someone in the cereal “wing” of the store, and was directed to go to the other side, for a different category of cereal. On the way there, I was distracted by a log cabin full of different varieties of maple syrups. I needed that too, but was embarrassed to admit to the crowd of store employees charged with over-seeing the maple syrups, that I had no idea which syrup was right for me. I didn’t take it.

I didn’t find my cereal. I didn’t find the meat I wanted. I didn’t find the right vegetable. The right cheese. I found a winery inside, with bottles stacked to the ceiling, but was surprised not to find the red I normally get and not being excited enough to choose anything else.

I passed my friends, who were likewise busy accumulating things from their lists, even allowing themselves to pick up “splurges,” little things that caught their eyes as they passed.

I remained with my list, wandering through aisles and mazes and displays. I never bothered to pick up a basket. I just wanted a handful of things, but none of them were there. I could have taken any number of substitutions being marketed and pitched at me by the store’s employees.
But I kept wondering. I just kept searching, in a mild panic. But I kept going.

2 thoughts on “Block 167: August 10, 2013

  1. I’m fascinated by the description, superhuman.

    Your dream is interesting. It’s a living nightmare to shop in a megastore (we call it a megastore here in the UK). Luckily we have some little local stores, and I can often avoid visiting huge stores.

    Though there are 50 options, but are they similar choices? Are they real choices, or are they an illusion of choices?

    Would you call your dream a kind of ‘anxiety’ dream? If this reflects your certain anxiety, do you think there’s something you could do to help deal with that?

    Have a lovely weekend.

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