Claire McEwen’s Blog

Lindy Hop Love

Last Thursday evening I drove almost two hours, with a big storm threatening to hit at any minute, just so I could go dancing in San Francisco.

I know it sounds crazy, and it probably was, but I was desperate! Revisions for my next book, More Than a Rancher, are due in a week and I’ve been having trouble getting motivated to work on them. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I love the characters and don’t want to say goodbye? Maybe it’s because the subject matter – dancing, ranching, cooking, family expectations – all feels so rich to me that I can’t figure out how to do it justice?

I decided that if I immersed myself in one of the settings for the book, and did what my heroine loves to do, surely I’d be ready to dive in and revise. My heroine is a dance teacher at a ballroom in San Francisco. So I put my out-of-shape self in my car for a road trip to the city, just to dance.

I’ve done crazier things for dancing. Many years ago, I took my first Lindy Hop dance class in San Francisco and fell in love. It was a HUGE love. For a few years, I danced most evenings, sometimes until three in the morning. I attended dance camps, I performed, I taught dance, I lived and breathed dance. My day job, my relationship, my family, everything became secondary to dancing.

It might have been a bit selfish of me, but it was a fabulous time of my life! And my love affair with dance has never really died, although it has cooled and taken a back seat to other responsibilities and priorities.

On Thursday night I tried to do my research and refresh my memory. I looked around the old San Francisco ballroom I’d danced in for so many years with a new eye for the ragged carpets, the scratched up dance floor, the old, ornate plaster columns and chandeliers. And I tried to take in the way it felt to follow my partner, to feel that relationship with another person – a tiny relationship, so intense and so important for the minutes of a dance.

But honestly? I mainly just had fun! I loved seeing my dancing friends again. It felt so good to hear the old familiar songs, and to try to remember all the steps. Just their names make me smile…Swing Out, Charleston, Suzy Q, Falling off the Log, Shorty George, Shim Sham, Tick Tock.

I don’t know if my trip to the city really helped my revision motivation, but I drove home with a huge smile on my face and big band music playing on the car stereo, vowing that I won’t let so much time go by before I go dancing again. My night out reminded me that in lives busy with careers, parenting, family, friendships and chores, it is so easy to forget the hobbies and activities that really make us come alive.

What do you love to do? What activities (G Rated, please!) make you come alive and put a huge smile on your face?

And just in case you feel like doing a little procrastinating, I’ll leave you with a couple of fabulous Lindy Hop videos. The ILHC 2013 Invitational finals, and a flash mob of lindy hoppers at the Denver International Airport. Enjoy!

Note: This post was originally written for and posted on the SuperAuthor’s Blog.

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