today, now.

Without much certainty of the future, this strange year has led to a great deal of looking into the past. Comparing ancient plagues to the current pandemic, digging up old friendships during quarantine, and heck, I wrote the book on studying a past version of myself. But what about now?

If you are not local, you may not have heard; This summer FBP said goodbye to its Artistic Director of over 20 years, school director, and beloved ballet master. Quite the shake-up, to put it lightly. It goes without saying, but here I am writing a blog and here you are reading it, so…well here we are: so many changes in the midst of a pandemic has been jarring. But perhaps most surprising is how adjusted I have become to extreme change.

Uncertainty has asserted itself as a central fixture in my life.

What I’ve also realized, though, is that uncertainty has always- and if we’ve learned anything from the patterned nature of history, will always- exist. It’s not as if this uncertainty has recently taken up residence in my mind, I’m merely much more aware of it now than I’ve had to be before. I have been privileged enough to live in a state of mild uncertainty, a rarely unsettling state that has moved out of rotation this past year.

So here I am, September 2020, making friends with uncertainty. I’ve waxed poetic before about “being prepared to be surprised“. But somehow those lessons learned- the ones that felt colossal at the time- now feel a bit more like a warm-up. A gentle barre before the grueling effort of a 4-act ballet.

I’m envious of this earlier version of myself, one that was simply frustrated with her body’s slow process of returning to ballet. A dancer who had taken a bit too much time off in the summer, but who saw her fall season laid out ahead of her. A series of shows to promote, classes to attend, choreography to learn, and steps to hone. A plan.

Like so much of the world, ballet has been placed on hold. Some companies are returning to work slowly, in pods or using technology to create virtual performance experiences. Some companies have cancelled their annual Nutcrackers entirely. Digital Season was once a foreign concept, now I’m sure you’ve read enough announcements not to stumble over its meaning anymore.

I am motivated to continue dancing not because this is a particularly inspiring time, but because it is one that requires creativity and I am nothing if not a gluten for thinking outside the box. I’ve never been interested in arithmetic, but there is something about solving an artistic equation- one that demands flexibility of mind and resilience of spirit- that pulls me in every time. I can’t seem to resist the call of a problem whose solution lies in c r e a t i o n.

Something new where there wasn’t something before.

Since ballet is all about connecting- with our fellow dancers, with our audience- right now I’m leaning into other ways to connect (that don’t involve breaking the 6′ rule). Two things (I hope!) will never be off limits: connecting with the music and connecting with myself.

There are things in the works at FBP. The school has recently seen a major shift and with the addition of a new “Leap Year” program, I am hopeful for its success. I am confident in this little company’s ability to rise up in the face of change. I have seen us create greatness from the most meager of resources, and I know that we will do it again. But until then, it’s time to look not to the past or the future, but to the girl in the mirror today. The one who loves the work, with or without the certainty of audience. The one who misses dancing in the moment, dancing in the now, dancing for herself. I’m diving in. No more baby steps, wondering when…how? Today, now.

photo collage by Li Dai

ramen on the hill

I’m a nester.

I may fly here and there but rest assured, I’ll always find myself back in sweet, sunny pvd. This little city wears my heart on her red-bricked, tree-lined, ramen-drenched sleeves.

After hosting a mini get together for a few friends Friday night, we spent most of the morning on the couch watching bad romcoms. Yep. Sometime around 3pm, we dragged ourselves out of the nest and down to Benefit Street, one of my favorite Providence neighborhoods, for some DENDEN.

I have mused on my love of Benefit too many times to count…I hope you’ll indulge me in (at least) one more. Even C laughed when I lifted my phone to capture yet another photo of College Hill, but hey, sometimes you’ve got to be a tourist in your own city! Especially in this age of staycation…

Speaking of staying close to home, anyone else have a sudden case of nesting fever? After months of being forced to stay in, I’m finding so much joy in rearranging furniture, making old spaces feel new, and making room for some recent musical additions to the household, including a piano, drums, and drummer…stay tuned. ;)

we are family

when i set out writing “the silhouette inside” i had no idea i would be seeing it on a shelf. what started as lines written in the back of my mind has become an external piece of me. this book is so personal, like the pages of my diary turned inside out and illustrated. i’m so excited to share that my book is officially on stock at books on the square in my beloved home, providence, ri!

i would be remiss if i didn’t pay some thanks to this little corner of the internet, which i created 10(!) years ago to document my life as a dancer and keep my writing skills somewhat in tact as i began my professional career. back in 2010, a month before my first day of work at festival ballet providence, i opened a wordpress account and started typing. a decade ago, back when blogs were a thing of the future (hah), i could have never imagined that this site would grow into what it is today.

nostalgic to my core, i still look back on posts from the past fondly, some so clear i can almost read each word before i see it and others sweet reminders of memories long lost. somewhere along the way, this space grew from an online journal to a community of readers, entrepreneurs, and friends.

in honor of that relationship, i am giving you all a special discount on my book, “the silhouette inside“. use the code STBFAMILY (in all caps) at check out for 15% off the book. and pssssst…if you’ve been here for a while, you’ve already got a sneak peek into book number two ;)

she’s out!

my book “the silhouette inside” has officially been released! so many months of work have led up to this.

i am thrilled to announce that the book is available at my favorite Providence shop, Frog & Toad. it’s such an honor to be stocked by this beautiful little store, one that is curated with love and spends time supporting small businesses and artists all over rhode island.

while i would love to do an in-person reading/signing one day, until that becomes an option, head to my instagram to see a little video we put together to celebrate the release. the video features the first poem of the book, and one that was largely the impetus for putting the poems together and creating the narrative. i hope you enjoy!

if you’d like to get yourself or someone you love a copy, they are also available here.

teeeeeaser

As I’ve mentioned here before, while navigating the process of self-publishing my first book, I decided to create my very own printing press, matchbox press.

As soon as I created the graphic for the matchbox press logo, I pictured it on a t-shirt. It’s simple, but a bit edgy, and the perfect way to support this independent publisher, while I continue to print and sell my book. Thanks to my love for all things cozy, the shirt we came up with is super soft, light, and printed right here in Rhode Island. C can’t wait to dress his up with a suit and chucks for gigs ;)

If you are interested, get your tee here and enter the code SPARK for free shipping. Limited stock, so act fast!

ps- I am so excited to announce (soon) that my book has been officially stocked in its first brick and mortar shop- and it’s one of my absolutely FAVORITES! STAY TUNED to hear where…

falling into the process

falling

i love learning about the creative process. every artist has one- or many- depending on the project. most of my book was written in pvd cafés (wildflour, i’m looking at you), but the collecting, illustrating, and production of it was done right here in my home. so i wrote a book during quarantine, call me a cliché, but it helped get me through!

i’m a big rituals person. i find setting intentions through repeated actions surrounding a goal help me to feel both productive and calm- two moods that tend to be mutually exclusive in our hustle-based society. for whatever reason, every time i sat down to work on #thesilhouetteinside i had andy sheaf’s “the party” on repeat. the soothing tone and loose narrative of the concept album help guide the flow of my own story.

in a way, this book is like an album; it’s a collection of pieces that relate without exactly repeating, combining together to comprise a whole statement. up for interpretation, contemplative, but concrete. thank you andy shauf for the endless inspiration.

 

all rights reserved. illustration by kirsten evans.

preorder perks

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my book “the silhouette inside” will be available for preorder TOMORROW August 9, 2020 at 10am.

like free stuff? yeah, me too. good things come to those who act fast!

~ the first 10 people to preorder will receive a FREE matchbox press t-shirt and a personally signed book

~ the first 60 people to preorder will receive a signed book

thank you so much for following along on this crazy fun experience. i can’t believe i’m about to publish my own book! click here to check out my author website and join the email list the be notified when the preorder period officially begins.

MY BOOK COVER IS HERE!

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they say not to judge a book by it’s cover, but c’mon.  designing a cover for my book felt like a colossal undertaking. i’m not a designer, and i would never purport to do an adequate job at something many talented people have spent their lives learning to do. but since i had written an illustrated every page of the book thus far, something felt phony about hiring another contributor to put a face on my work.

first impressions are everything. i wanted my book to represent not only the poetry within, but my brand as a writer. i looked to artists i admire for inspiration. i wanted something modern, but with a vintage twist. something simple, clean, and subtle, yet speculative enough to make you want to turn the page…

i created the cover image using a vintage strawberry plant wallpaper from the 1970s (strrrrrong strawberry vibes in this book, guys) and the outline of a photo my mother took of me jumping up into the air. the result appears almost like a cut-out (hello, henri), which felt perfectly appropriate for a book about a silhouette.

i hope you love the cover as much as i do! preorder info coming soon!

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book release: september first!

pinkie L

i am so excited to announce that #thesilhouetteinside will be officially released september 1, 2020! it’s been such a labor of love this past year, and a thrill to have you along on the journey the past few weeks.

stay tuned for a COVER REVEAL coming very soon (wink) and preorder details (hint, perks) to follow!