Morning, Hart Beat. Happy Friday! How is your day going? Last night I was scrolling through my newsfeed and found a video and interview that made me stop and just stare for three minutes and twenty seconds. And then three minutes and twenty seconds more again and again until I had watched the entire thing four or five times.
I grew up dancing and ballet was always my favorite. I sometimes wish I could go back to it but it’s not a physically easy thing to do. When I was living in New York I did try to go see a live ballet once a year with some of my friends and it was always a highlight. Being in Western Massachusetts for part of the summer I’m hoping to get to Jacob’s Pillow at least a few times to see the dance.
The video, which you can watch here below, comes via The New Yorker‘s Facebook page. According to the magazine, “To witness what’s so good about Russian ballerinas, one only has to watch Diana Vishneva rehearse ‘Onegin.’ The principal dancer leaves American Ballet Theatre tomorrow, after thirteen years, with a performance of the John Cranko ballet.”
What did you think of the video, Hart Beat? It’s arresting to watch, isn’t it? There’s something about the body movement and Diana’s words brought such emotion to me. Here is transcribed one of the things that she said near the end of the video. For me, what she says about dance expressing things that nothing else can is often how I feel about poetry or novels. I love hearing someone else’s thoughts on seeing the world this way.
I have always had some kind of idea of what I want, where I’m going. At this point I want to be more than a performer. The world is different now. Every artistic statement is a statement of the present moment.
The moment when the performance unfolds is when life and time stop for me.
Why do I dance? The things that dance can express are almost impossible to express by any other means. What it is that tugs at the human heartstrings, the delicate edge of your soul. This became my path, my life. I have found meaning in it.
— Diana Vishneva
Photos, video, and quote all via The New Yorker Facebook.
Hi, Hart Beat. How are you this Monday? I’ve been seeing on Instagram today that it is hot hot hot in the rest of the country but, here on this idyllic island in Maine, it’s chilly and the fog has decided to hang over the island all day. It’s okay though, I’ve gotten lots of writing done this morning and this afternoon I’m going to hold up and read the pile of books that I have next to me.
Speaking of reading, I wanted to write to you about a book that has just come out that I am loving. Do you know David Sedaris? I wrote about him briefly once back in 2013 and I’m surprised he hasn’t come up since then. Sedaris is hands down one of my lifelong favorite authors. My parents introduced my brother and me to the author when we were young. My mom has always loved him and bought all of his books on audio to listen to them in the car. To this day, I still listen to Sedaris reading his own books almost every day. As you might know, Hart Beat, I have a hard time falling asleep so often I will listen to books on tape to help fall asleep. For the past three years or so I’ve been rotating through all of Sedaris’s books. Right now I’m on Naked and laugh still to this day on most of his writing, even though I’ve heard it a million times.
There’s something comforting about Sedaris and the stories he tells about his family, his boyfriend, and his life now. Last month, Sedaris’s newest book was published and I’m currently halfway through listening to the stories. The book is a little different from his usual memoir style short stories. Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977 – 2002) is what it’s title suggests, David Sedaris’s daily diary entries from the years 1977 to 2002. Sedaris is famous not only for his hilarious and gut-wrenching prose but also for his commitment to daily diary writing. We are lucky as humans that the author has decided to let us into his private writings and inner world. Often times interestingly mundane, the collection of diary entries allows us as readers to sit beside Sedaris during his early days as a struggling author and his early days of success.
If you’re a Sedaris fan there are two other pieces I’d recommend to you. The first is his newest short story, “Why Aren’t You Laughing?” published in The New Yorker this past June. The second is his most recent interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air from this past May. I loved listening to it.
Anyway, that’s all the news from the Island today. Hope you’re doing well, Hart Beat.
Photo of Sedaris via the author.