Monday, October 21, 2013

Writer's Block - Dancing Bears

A year and a half.  That's how long it's been since I've been a writer.  I thought that I was so intrinsically a writer that, even without the act of writing, I would always be one.  Maybe that's the case, maybe it isn't.  But it's been a year and a half since I touched my novel.

That changed today.

And despite the fact that I haven't touched the thing for so long, it's still been with me this whole time.  Still rattling around in my head.  Still picking up flavors from randomly accumulated impressions.

Weirdly, I still believe in it - still believe that I have a good book in me and have the chutzpah to put a good book down on the page.

What finally got me going was this video:

The bear running across the field, directly at the camera, an image out of every hiker's nightmare.  And then the surprise of the wild beast transforming into a pet.  The weird physical intimacy of the trainer and the bear.  The way the german shepherd and the bear share the same coloring, emphasizing the similarities in their snout shapes.  The indignity of the bear jumping and clapping.  The endearing way the bear sits and holds the trumpet followed by the awkward march.  The way the bear paws seem both like hands and so unlike hands.  The child's chair.  The hula hooping.

When I was living in Moscow I went to a large craft market outside the city.  As you entered the market there was an area where street performers set up.  One of the regular performers was a dancing bear and his trainer.  The market was huge and floods of people would stream past.  The bear was popular and there was always a large circle around her.  Seeing a bear in the midst of vast numbers of people was disconcerting, watching a bear dance for the reward of squash was even more jarring.

But at the same time there was something magical about it.  Like the world was full of frightening things that could become friendly.  Like anything was possible.

Here we go again.