Archive for June, 2009

Infinite Summer

At the beginning of 2009, I set out for myself a rather ridiculously impressive list of goals I hoped to accomplish in the year to come. I’ve done really well on some of them–for example, by my becoming fully financially independent and buying a house of my very own (and let’s not play around, that’s pretty impressive given that I’m 26)–and less well for others, like, say, writing 150 posts in this blog.

One of my goals was to finally read, in full, Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. I bought the book a few years ago, and like so many other people, I got to approximately page 163 and then happened to set the book down and never pick it up again. This year, though, I was determined to get the book read. As meaningful as the work of David Foster Wallace is to me, I can hardly call myself any sort of fan when I hadn’t managed to finish The Big Book. While other goals fell by the wayside, I remained committed to reading Infinite Jest over the summer.

And that is why I was ecstatic when I discovered that there was an online community of people planning to do exactly the same thing.

Given that my job is kind of crazy right now, and I’ve been frantically busy moving into a new house and helping get another one ready to go on the market, I had been concerned that the Infinite Jest goal might be another one of my resolutions that ended with not much more than a pathetic attempt. But not now!

There are few things in life I love more than being a part of a community. It’s why I’m fascinated by online fandom, and why I loved going to midnight release parties for Harry Potter, and why I even kind of enjoy going to the mall on the day after Thanksgiving. I feel such stupid, giddy contentment in sharing an experience with strangers. And so, if I have to work through this book in order to share the experience with others, THEN BY GOD, I WILL GET THROUGH IT.

As today was the first day of summer, today was the official kick-off for Infinite Summer. I spent the day packing boxes and stressing out about the fact that the air conditioning is broken at my new house and feeling completely overwhelmed by everything I have to do before I move into my new house this Friday. However, at 9:20 tonight, I sat down with my dinner and I read the first 16 pages of Infinite Jest.

In the company of a community of readers, I can’t help but resist the possibility that I might be left out.

So! 16 pages down, 1063 or so pages to go.


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Can Dance

Oh god, I love “So You Think You Can Dance.”

With every season of the show, my love grows greater and more absurd. The first season I watched it, two years ago, I enjoyed the hell out of it. Last year, I actually voted a couple of times for my favorite dancers, and I drove two hours in order to go see the tour.

This season, I have apparently turned into a crazed fangirl who votes dozens of times for my favorite dancer, the fantastic Evan Kasprzak, and who feels Very Strongly that Evan must at least make it into the top 10, because my life requires the opportunity to go see him on tour. Furthermore, I am pre-fangirling for season 6, when I have high hopes that Evan’s insanely talented and, frankly, kind of dreamy brother Ryan will be in the top 20.

Things in my life have been so hectic and stressful lately that by the time Wednesday night rolls around, I am praising all manner of deities that I don’t believe in for the arrival of SYTYCD and the blessed, blessed escapism that it provides.

The biggest reason that I am so grateful for SYTYCD, though, is that it really was the inspiration for me to start dancing again. It made me miss dancing. It reminded me of how much I love to perform. And so, around the end of the summer last year, I happened to notice an advertisement for adult hip hop classes near my house. As soon as the concrete idea of taking dance classes again was put into my head, I decided that it really had to happen.

I didn’t think my old dance studio offered any adult classes, but I decided to call just to check. It turned out that, yes, my dance teacher does have adult classes. My sister and I spent a few months last fall in that adult class, before my dance teacher asked us if we might want to go back to the class we were in before we stopped dancing, the class that is sometimes called the “senior class” at that studio. Of course we did.

In less than a year, I went from sitting on the couch admiring, and occasionally sarcastically criticizing, other people’s dancing to being challenged to work hard and improve as a dancer myself. I’ve spent the past few months actively trying to get in better physical shape and practicing tap in my kitchen so that I would be ready for the dance recital, so that I would just be better. I’m spending every Monday night of this summer in a conditioning class because I don’t want to lose what I’m just now getting back.

Going back to dance has been one of the best decisions I have made since graduating from college, because it has given me a goal to work toward, which I am realizing is critical to my feeling content. If I don’t have something to try and achieve, I am pretty useless. But not now. Now, I get to experience the triumph of dance competency.

As you can see, I’ve got the trophy to prove it.

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