HAUNTED BY CHRISTOPHER WHEELDON :)

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Last night I read from my new novel (which is still VERY much a work in progress) with the Writers Room at the Cornelia Street Cafe, and it actually went okay! Better than I expected! Several of my wonderful friends showed up to give me much-needed encouragement and support (maybe someday I’ll be confident enough actually to post here ahead of time when I’ll be reading…) and they all seemed genuinely to like the piece I read. And several people I didn’t know came up to me afterward — including a filmmaker who gave me her card! — to tell me how much they liked it. One woman said she wanted to read it as soon as it was out! Though she told me the way she didn’t want it to end. I assured her it didn’t :) So, I just have to write the rest of the book now…

But I was so worried because the subject matter is kind of controversial and the character whose piece I read from is a young black man with a certain kind of voice that my face and body certainly don’t in any way fit, so I worried I just wouldn’t be able to pull it off. And I am a horribly sucky reader and always will be — I’m just shy and I’m not an actress and that’s just that. But people still got what I was trying to convey through the actual words, so I am extremely happy about that. That’s all I can ever ask for!

Anyway, funny thing is that there was this guy sitting up front who looked just like Christopher Wheeldon. Seriously, just like him except about 10 years younger. And it really freaked me out because then I started thinking of this. And then I started thinking what if someone reacts to me like that! I mean, you can’t please everyone of course, and there are always going to be people who don’t like you, but, well, all I can say is that the more I write (and the closer my first novel gets to publication), I am feeling a lot less critical, at least of new works :)

Anyway, now that this all-too stressful event is over, I’ll blog about the Natalia Osipova / Herman Cornejo La Sylphide at American Ballet Theater Monday night. She was good, he was insanely excellent. It’s like with Kathryn Morgan the other night in NYCBallet Dancers’ Choice — I don’t know if there are words to describe him. If you want to see sheer perfection, go see him in something — anything. I can’t imagine anyone better in all the world. I mean, every great dancer brings something to the stage, and he simply brings perfection, in the Webster Dictionary definition of the word: “an exemplification of supreme excellence.” One of my Twitter friends (who’s a very established ballet dancer) told me he’s a “dancer’s dancer,” which I can totally see. He’s a non-dancer’s dancer too :)

Anyway, more tomorrow, I mean later today. I have to sleep now.

8 Comments

  1. Congrats on the successful reading! If I had known I would've come 😉 Glad it went well.

    And agreed, Cornejo is amazing. Loved him as the slave in Corsaire.

  2. Congrats, Tonya! That's super exciting, and it's always nice to hear that people enjoy your work. I hate acting too – I'll still have nightmares about “accidentally” walking into a drama master class given by Ron K. Brown's Evidence dance company – our dance criticism class (the group that writes rather than dances) joined without knowing what it really entailed. And of course I got paired with a professional dancer to act out a really intense scene… *shudder*

    Anyways. That's funny about Chris Wheeldon. I think it's a good experience though, because as critics/journalists, we are “artists” in a sense that others can read a critic's writing and have opinions about it as well, e.g. that was a bad review, that was written well, etc. People are free to not like someone's writing and even react negatively to it. And I think experiences like yours can breed a sort of empathy for the people that critics write about. Writers and dancers share a sort of vulnerability that opens us both up to judgment for the general public. Hm, I hope that made sense.

    ugh it's always so awkward, b/c I feel so uncomfortable saying that I'm a critic. I'm not. I'm a citizen journalist with opinions. 😉

    Herman is amazing. On top of perfect technique, it's his artistry that floors me.

  3. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    Thanks you guys! Yes, Oscar Wilde and H.L. Mencken both said that critics are artists as well, Jolene! Claudia La Rocco pointed me to that (or at least to Wilde's writings on the critic as artist). And Dorothy Parker might have said the same… And I do think it's true. Creative artists (the choreographers, novelists, etc.) need to remember that and respect that as well. I think the key word is respect — as long as everyone treats everyone else with a fundamental respect. Like, I'm not ever sarcastic or mean-spirited; I'm just trying to take the art seriously, trying to figure it out, and looking at it with a critical eye in terms of what's best about it and what could be improved.

    I know, I don't really know what to call myself either :) Citizen journalist with opinions is good!

  4. Hebgen Lake Marina

    Cornejo is really one of the best, The show is really great I was really impress with the other characters, If ever I had a chance I will watch it again

  5. Anne Coburn Whitmore

    Christ! – I'm such a moron … I don't think I've yet to ever say congratulations on your readings, on your book! So sorry! This is so exciting! I very much enjoyed the excerpt, and am looking forward to more! …

    [side note: That's so funny about the “Wheeldon 'ghost'-sighting” – things/experiences like that seem to happen to me, too – and freakishly way too often. ;)]

    … I think I share your love of pearls 😉 … of Oscar Wilde ! … and, of course, of ballet!! —
    I wish I shared your talent for writing!

  6. Anne Coburn Whitmore

    Christ! – I'm such a moron … I don't think I've yet to ever say congratulations on your readings, on your book! So sorry! This is so exciting! I very much enjoyed the excerpt, and am looking forward to more! …

    [side note: That's so funny about the “Wheeldon 'ghost'-sighting” – things/experiences like that seem to happen to me, too – and freakishly way too often. ;)]

    … I think I share your love of pearls 😉 … of Oscar Wilde ! … and, of course, of ballet!! —
    I wish I shared your talent for writing!

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