Tuesday, January 26, 2010

ballet after the rain

I totally intend to embrace my inner girly-ballerina this spring. It may be January, but the torrential downpours of yesterday undeniably invoked the spirit of April showers, so I'm getting a jumpstart on the business of being arabesque-esque.

(shirt: Old Navy; skirt: stolen from mom, hemmed; tights: Marshall's; shoes: Madden Girl; pearls: Claire's; crystal beads: Grammy Flood; ring: vintage)
Sometimes I still wish I were born to be a ballerina, even though I know that the life would be grueling and painful and I would be hungry all the time... but alas, even at five years old my ballet teacher could tell that I would never be great. She said that my spine was too curved for ballet and that I should try gymnastics, which I was actually pretty good at and enjoyed, to an extent. Apparently I decided to quit when the pressure to compete became too great... that's kind of a theme in my life. I also quit the violin when my teacher suggested that I compete in Fiddle festivals.

It seems odd, even to me, but I often find myself a victim of cultural-exposure envy. I have this unfortunate feeling that there are things I wish I had known about or experienced in my youth, which might have churned out a better-formed, better-informed individual who could easily discourse on the pop culture of decades past (though perhaps with partiality toward a particular era), on art or rock music (I so often wish I had been a little rock and roll rebel--Almost Famous is one of my favorite movies). It's not that I wasn't exposed to culture--the opposite, in fact--but it was the equivalent of aboriginal culture: music and art that was organic and freewheeling and influenced by the cerebral cortex more than modern popular culture. The kind of culture that is inwardly expansive but outwardly alienating. Of course, I'm exaggerating. I love the life I had growing up and I know I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world... but I do wish I could identify more than fifty-percent of pop culture references when they arise.

I leave you with a quote, re-blogged from the amusing blog of miss Marisa Meltzer, which I spent more than my fair share of allotted internet-time wading through yesterday afternoon. This particularly struck me (and made me laugh) because so often I wish I could be an artist (preferably a painter) and spend my days strutting around a wide-open studio with a brush in one hand and a glass of wine in the other, alternately splattering paint and vino on big, thick, thirsty canvases:

"Writers always envy artists, would trade places with them in a moment if they could. The painter’s life seems less ascetic, less monkish, less hunched. Instead of the austere mess of the desk there is the chaos of the studio: dirty coffee cups, paint-smudged cassette decks, drawings of the artist’s girlfriend, naked, on the walls… In the age of the computer the writer’s office or study will increasingly resemble the customer service desk of an ailing small business. The artist’s studio, though, is still what it has always been: an erotic space. For the writer the artist’s studio is, essentially a place where women undress." (from Out of Sheer Rage by Geoff Dyer, which has just made my reading list... plus, I love D.H. Lawrence)

This is why making films might work for me. I have all of these imaginary scenes in my head--lives I'd love to lead--and I see them play out in dynamic detail. The film about my life as a painter is bright, vivid, and chaotic--the art of looking lovely while completely falling apart, like an explosion of light and color--like fireworks. The film about my life as a ballerina? Soft-focus and overexposed pastels and floral prints in a quiet, calm room, maybe set on the bay--fluttery, transparent, worn.

PliƩ and stretch...


  1. Love the tights and gorgeous shoes! I'm itching to get some new patterned tights... I guess I better take myself over to Marshall's...