Thursday, September 23, 2010

Writing Class - Start of a Memoir Excerpt

The past two nights I took writing classes for free as part of Gotham Writers' Workshop Fall Open House - and they were fantastic!

Tuesday I took a fiction class, and last night was memoir writing. I LOVED it and really want to write a memoir of some of my dancing in New York City experiences - although I'm not sure anyone will want to read it, haha. She emphasized that you don't have to be famous to write a memoir. But, um, you sort of have to be famous to sell books about yourself, haha. Oh well - while I have less time dancing and more time for writing during my recovery I may try to start something for the fun of it.

In the class we had to make a list of five firsts. They could be anything. Then we later chose one and wrote about it. Since it's been on my mind lately, I wrote about my first major paycheck for dancing. And I actually volunteer to read it to the class - which I don't think I've EVER done in my educational life, haha. I figured I should get as much as I could out of the 1 hour free class, since I won't be able to take the full 6-week course like I want to. I know I'm the most gigantic dork ever, but I desperately miss being in school. I love learning and discussing and hearing other people's points of views about things. Especially in a writing class, it's fascinating to me to see how 10 different people can take the same assignment and come up with such drastically different and interesting things.

Anyway, I thought I'd share mine here...

It came in a purple-speckled envelope marked "MSG." B. handed it to me and I saw my name and new upper-west side address peeking through the plastic window. I couldn't tear it open fast enough. There were bumpy perforated edges on 3 sides but I ripped just one (not neatly) and peeked inside. Everyone around me was doing the same.

$000! Oh my God! I hadn't made that much money in my entire 20-year life combined to that point. Here I was dancing in rehearsals for The Radio City Christmas Spectacular for just half a week and I got my first professional union pay check. As if the music, the Broadway roster of co-workers, the gigantic stage, and the joy of dancing weren't enough.

The muscles in my cheeks twitched as I tried not to beam. They were all used to this kind of thing. Chatter about lunch and 4-show days and physical therapy trips went uninterrupted by pay day.

I sat in a split on the crunchy rug of our (less-than-glamorous) dressing room. The floot was hard, in the basement of a church, and uncomfortable to be on. my little green tennis ball smooshed the meat of my aching left calf to the sides as it massaged the muscle. With one hand I took a bite of my salad - the other dug into my right arch where the nail in my pointe shoe had scraped raw. The stench of overpowered the room.

"Oh honey," J. said, dumping Aleve into his mouth straight from the bottle. "They don't pay us enough for this."

I stifled a laugh. Was he kidding?!

"I know! This is only 1/2 a week we started with," complained one of the pretty blonde dancers whose name I couldn't remember.

"Don't worry - it doesn't include bear-head pay, sheep pay, overtime, holidays..." J. explained. "Once we get into shows you'll get more."

More? This was more than I could ever ask for.

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