Dance with Suitcase
Work in progress - A memoir that rests on movement
An aspect of writing that interests me is how to make form and content work together to enhance the piece. When I started this memoir, I intuitively decided against too formal a structure in which to place the narrative. I wished to honour an analogy between a particular approach to writing and to dance. In this second half of life I am more attracted to free movement than in learning formal steps.
The thrust of the book is towards developing an attitude of trusting body signals and symptoms, and trusting error, as means to invite untutored unconscious material to spill over into awareness. It assumes that non-rational physical and artistic processes have immense value, both in anchoring ourselves and in finding a way forward.
Yet the unconscious is hard to follow, difficult to grasp, as we know from our dreams. I sometimes think of the flow of life as an incomprehensible wash over which we must superimpose a grid or raft – something to hold onto to help us make sense of our lives and the world, to prevent us from drowning.
If we hold on too hard, we can mistake the grid for reality itself and we become rigid, unable to sense the enigmatic flux. But without the grid, we flounder and feel lost.
The art, I think, is to develop an ability to both stable oneself using an approximate raft, and a the same time, to be able to see through the mesh – of words, guidelines, rules, interpretations, models, analysis, structure – so as not to lose sight of the immensity of the mystery out of which we exist and live.
In dance - in movement of any kind - we have schools and forms, cultural practices and rituals, taboos and constraints. Underneath this, and within us all, is the flux and wash of life in all its patterns and guises.
I wish for this memoir – run through as it is by the origins and development of my own movement practice – to pay homage to it all.