“Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board.”1
By Helen French, March 26, 2021
I find starting things challenging but dreaming and anticipating the start of something is invigorating. In the dreaming resides a wealth of possible ways one might accomplish a task, and all these possibilities aren’t encumbered by the realities of time, skill, money, access, etc. They are just there, ships at a distance, providing me hope and delight. The decisiveness of officially starting something, means that I have chosen a pathway or first step forward, at the expense of another.
The truth is, writing a blog for the next 20 weeks is daunting to me. Where should I start? What do I want to share? I am an artist whose artistic currency is movement, not the written word. In fact, I spend an exorbitant amount of time figuring out how to turn the written words of others into movement. It is a rarity for me to write for any reason other than an administrative task or an academic assignment. Sure, I brainstorm and journal around my choreographic ideas but once the movement starts taking shape I abandon all journaling and surrender to physicalizing my thoughts.
I have a collection of half-filled journals from every creation I have ever made. They all start the same, with research and lists of ideas and inspirations, and then onto diagrams and drawings of how I envision the dance covering space, and then there is an abrupt stop. Blank page after blank page marking the time I am physically making movements. Then the writing returns and there are a few pages of notes, corrections, and details about the work, lighting ideas ,and maybe a costume sketch or two. Unceremoniously the journal ends, the work has been fully birthed into movement, and there is no need for my written word as a support system.
Although writing is not one of my passions, I am a voracious reader. When I was a child I was never without a book. If I wasn’t dancing I was reading. I was constantly being reminded that it was not polite to read at the dinner table, or in church, or in a restaurant, or on a date. So, it makes sense that when I started thinking about how to begin my professional artist blog opening lines from beloved works of literature, poetry, and songs began rattling around in my head; calling to me like old friends.
“Let’s start at the very beginning, A very good place to start.”2
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”3
“somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond”4.
“But, you may say, we asked you to speak…”5
“Call me Ishmael.”6
Call me Helen. Join me in the coming weeks as I share a little more about myself.
 Zora Hurston Neale, Their Eyes Were Watching God, 1937.
Rodgers, Richard, Do-Re-Mi, 1959.
[4 ]somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond”, cummings, e.e.,1931.
[5 ]Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own, 1929.
 Herman Melville, Moby Dick, 1951.