Some Things Never Change

“Dancing is the last word in life…in dancing one draws nearer to oneself.” -Jean Dubuffet

I hate endings. I hate using the last of the toothpaste, I hate the last day of classes, I hate the last show- even of a performance I don’t really like doing. I hate goodbyes.


I do not like seeing experiences and people and things come and go from my life, always afraid that I will never see them again or that things will never be as good. Therefore, I am chronically nostalgic. New Year’s Eve is supposed to be this blank slate, a fresh start as we wrap up whatever lies behind us.

2012 was a big year for me– a year of loss and slow rebuilding, experimenting, and questioning. I postponed graduate school to focus on teaching. I refound my purpose in dance and am performing again with a new company. I moved into a new apartment. I started a new relationship. And it wasn’t all a blossoming  flower garden– I was mugged at gunpoint, my Grandmother died, I no longer have that safety net of being on Mommy’s health insurance, and I defriended more than a handful of people on facebook. (how tragic!) When all is said and done, it was a year lived mostly in my head as I slowly re-lit the fires in my heart.

christian gooden

photo 1

Do you know what else we all had to say goodbye to in 2012? My favorite hometown place to get stickers, candy, and paint- Ben Franklin. This was THE place to go when I was a child for penny candy in unhygienic bins. No more swedish fish and germs for me. Also, my favorite local bookstore- Pudd’nhead Books– closed last week. I stopped in to show my last drop of local literary support and picked up ‘Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses’– a collection of poems by Ron Koertge with illustrations by Andrea Dezso. I bought it because I liked the cover, the drawings, one other poem I’ve read by Ron, and hey, it was cheap.


Here is the other poem that I like by Ron Koertge from my post that ended 2011. Funny isn’t it, that he seems to be the poet that starts and ends my separate years? Some things never change, but my life- judging by this post- certainly has. ( I still fall asleep during Matt Damon movies, though)

So last year, his poems helped me build and fall and laugh and rebuild. I don’t feel as though I’m really starting afresh this year, and I don’t want to. I’m proud of everything that I worked towards last year and happy that this year, I’m going in with more confidence and an even- clearer direction. Starting over is sometimes good and necessary but I wouldn’t make a habit of it.

This year, I plan on being more proactive in the opportunities I have as a dancer, teacher, and choreographer. I am going into 2013 more self-possessed and driven than I remember being in a long time. I just hope that along the way, I keep some humility and sense of humor.

No goodbyes or brand new hellos for the moment; just ‘it’s nice to see you and I look forward to seeing you again soon’. Here’s a funny poem to tide you over until that happy occasion. x0-the ogre Queen jess

new books for xmas

new books for xmas

excerpt from ‘The Ogre Queen’

I bided my time. At last my husband died. Good

Riddance to him. And the prince showed up with

His brand-new family. They looked delicious.

No droopy old SB with goop in her eyes, but

The other two. My grandchildren. The morsels.


They sat in my lap and told me how everything

And everybody in Mommy’s castle slept behind

The wall of briars. Everything. Even the fire.


I loved that, because a fire in me had been sleeping,

Too. Waiting for Lollytot on a bed of rice. Tyke

With Sauce Vierge.


Of course that didn’t happen. Ogres never win

In fairy tales. I ended up in a pit of vipers. Like

That’s a bad thing. Vipers are the pasta of Ogreland.


And I didn’t die. I never die. Right now I run

My own consulting firm in Washington, D.C.

I see members of Congress now and then, but

Most of my business comes from the Pentagon.

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