All this week, after my teaching, meetings and other work, I've been submerging.
My aunt has a pool in town. She and my uncle have been traveling the last two weeks, so I've had lucky unlimited access into her waters. She lives a little over eight miles away, and I'm not usually one to drive that distance unless we have a formal family gathering scheduled in advance. As much as I avoid driving, I will, and bike instead, or walk.
But this week, I needed some intensive swimming. It seemed the best way to get my whole body tuned up for SITI Company's intensive workshop next week. The illustrious, rigorous, international theater company is bringing their physical actors training in Suzuki and Viewpoints to Boise again this upcoming Sunday through the following Saturday. This year, it's a seven day, whole day workshop, with a composition element added in. We'll be moving our tails and feet off in the mornings, and splitting off into groups to make stuff with our peers in the afternoon. I'm excited and terrified.
I think I get more nervous about SITI'S workshops every year, and more aware of how lucky we are that Lisa Lechner and Tracy Sunderland manage to bring them to Boise State University annually each August since 2009 (sans one absent year). This summer, the large amount of teaching I've taken on has subtracted from the time and energy I'd usually put into conditioning my body for the demanding exertion I know is coming. I've done my best, but either it gets harder every year to think my best is good enough, or it really wasn't good enough this time around.
All that to say, I've needed an extra push these last couple weeks, and I've gotten them in my aunt's pool, swimming laps until I wear my legs and arms out for real. Still, after a day of work, when I have other demands calling my attention, I don't always want to take my car out to west Boise. It's a good forty minutes just driving, there and back, and it can be hard for me to justify the time at her large house on top of that. But once I get in the little Toyota and swerve down Hill Road, passing subdivisions, and then farmlands, nearing the cemetery where my dad is buried, I start to get into the zone. By the time I arrive, I'm ready.
The trip there reminds me of what choreographer Twyla Tharp's says on about ritual of practice in The Creative Habit. Her daily ritual is not the hours of training she does in the morning, or the alarm that wakes her up for it. Her ritual is when she hails a cab that takes her to the gym. Similarly, I get in the white Camry, I journey out a far distance (for me). As I drive, I let go of my projects, my emails, meetings, students, sentences. I think about the water. Once there, when I get in the warm/cool blue, the open atmosphere, the quiet evening, the empty space, I've already begun. I churn through. I lose frustrations. Everything is breath.
This experience, one out of my norm, has been reviving my creative thought, my joy for the moment, my appreciation of where I am now. Another reminder of my need for movement, and the importance of hobby. Something extra to do for the love of it. Getting back in my skin, muscles, lungs this way, wearing out my limbs and center going at each stroke as hard as I can, I reacquaint with my mind in a new way.
I know next week will be more of the same, except 300 times more. The creative explosion of body meeting mind meeting space meeting time. Here we go. I am ready to learn again. So ready.
Process notes on a work in progress. This page serves to invite you into the way I work, with weekly posts to show you the hows and whys on the whats I make.