Dancing on Wheels: An Instead-of Post

I promised my First Reader that I would have an entire new chapter of Pigeon in her hands by Friday,* so for once I’m stealing blogging time from MS time, instead of the far more traditional way ’round.

That means that instead of actual content today,  I’m throwing out a video that always makes me smile.  It does this because although Fred Astaire is the indisputable Cool King of the Ballroom—and anything he could do, Ginger Rogers could do backwards in high heels—only Gene Kelly could do it all on roller skates.

My parents put roller skates on me before I could walk—no exaggeration—but I never (intentionally) tap-danced in ’em.   It’s been a while—a long while—since I wore ’em, but this clip always makes me want to dig out the old rollerblades and take a spin around town,** though probably at a far slower and more guarded pace—the sidewalks around here aren’t soundstage quality, and neither are the passers-by.

And neither, frankly, is the skater, though I’m well-padded enough to take the risk . . .

But not until I FTF.



*New to her, anyway, and we didn’t actually specify a time on Friday, right? Lisa?

**It also makes me want to go back in time and—since I’m dreaming, here—have a bit of an affair with Mr. Kelly.  But most of his movies have that affect on me—even Xanadu.  I remember a late night discussion in college (after a weekend-long musical\dance movie marathon)  in which a group of us came to the conclusion that while we’d marry Fred Astaire, we’d have a lot more, uh,  fun with Gene Kelly.  Astaire is elegant, witty ballet.  Kelly is clever, earthy Tango.

I think good stories do this, too.

If there is a universal scale, I think it also measures narrative.

A scale is a simple thing, but it can be layered and noodled around and enhanced and emphasized into a symphony.

The best stories—the ones that resonate and engage the reader—are based on simple story threads, layered and enhanced and emphasized and twisted.

The fight for justice, truth, revenge, recovery, survival.
(a boy grows to manhood preparing to confront a once-human evil that killed his parents)
(A woman struggles to keep alcoholism and mental illness from consuming her)

The discovery of self–self-worth, self-defense, self-regard . . . Selflessness.
(A woman, called ugly and worthless, stands up to her abusive husband and finds her own path)
(A miser realizes, with help, that he wants to live a better, less lonely life)

The search for companionship, love, friends, belonging, home.
(A soldier forges his small, scruffy band into Napoleon’s nightmare)
(A young woman falls for a sentient robot and teaches it to love her in return)
(a child tries to adjust to living outside one small room)

The drive towards fulfillment–of hope, of rage, of despair, of joy, of peace, of purpose.
(every story ever told)

In the end, or at the start, the best stories are about expectations and tension and fulfillment. The journey and the destination.

And I think that in the right hands, these threads involve us in the same amazing way as a pentatonic scale directed by Bobby McFerrin.

And we’ll follow them wherever they lead.