Know Who To Call


Sometimes I have these moments that I like to call a, “Jerry Maguire Moment.” I’m talking about that part of the movie where he gets inspired, writes that memo, then wakes up the next morning in a cold sweat realizing what a nutty idealistic thing he just did. (I also have “Tom Cruise Moments” where I jump up on couches and yell, “I’m in love!” but that’s another blog). I’m just saying that sometimes I get these ideas and then I act on them and at some point along the way I go, “what was I thinking?!”

It’s always good to know who to call at times like these.

There are those friends that are your cheerleading squad and then there are sisters.  My sister is the best because she can definitely lift the pom poms but will tell me when something sucks.  She has saved me from some very insane things. Like the essay I wrote for my grad school application.  She read it, looked at me and said, “You sound crazy.” (in a desperate effort to “stand out” I thought the board of admissions would want to know that my grandfather was a apothecary. . . in other words an alchemist/wizard!!!) She also discouraged me from trying to publish a series of essays I wrote years ago entitled, “Flirting While Breastfeeding.” Ewww, Holly nobody wants to know about that!

But there are times when you’ve already jumped off the bridge and no one, not even your sister, can save you.  I’ll never forget when I was producing Eyes of Eve at Cowell Theatre in San Francisco.  It was about three days before the show was to go up, I was in hell week and completely freaking out.  This was the first time I was producing at a big union house: I was presenting five other choreographers, and my own work – with teenage dancers! I was also dancing in the show AND had put my own five year old son in the show.  After writing that, I can’t believe I actually did that to myself! Well, so all of a sudden the enormity of what I was attempting all came flooding over me in a wave of panic and I called my sis:

“I can’t believe I’m about to do this! I’m producing a show! What makes me think I can do  this? What am I doing?!!!! Aaaahhgg!!!” Drowning noises.

“Yeah,” she agreed, “I can’t either! I was wondering what you were thinking.”

So perhaps she wasn’t the right one to call in that moment.  Or maybe sometimes it’s true what you say: you really do have to just listen to yourself and go for it.  I have a trick: When I’m the only one that thinks something is a good idea then I just pretend that it’s because everyone else is jealous.  This is actually  only really true maybe 15% of the time.  The rest of the time people really do just think I’m crazy. But it doesn’t matter really, it gets me through it.  And once in awhile I prove people wrong so that feels good. I had a colleague once that would say, “Just fake it till you make it,” and she ended up winning Miss Cougar of the Year so I’m thinking she was onto something.

I have to admit: I didn’t really plan on doing this 365 project. It wasn’t some idea I had drifting around for a long time. A couple of weeks ago I was between projects and feeling a little adrift, but also feeling like something good was coming. I had just taught a summer workshop on flamenco fan that went really well, I had taken a workshop at the Tamalpa Institute which was leading me in a new direction, I was swimming with my kid a lot, my garden was fruiting. . . life was good if not exactly hurtling forward. I was in no rush to do something. I wanted to be inspired! That’s when I watched that Julie & Julia movie and the idea for 365Dances hit me. The very next morning I was up at 4am writing parts of the blog and that same day I posted my first entry on the web.

In the past two weeks I’ve been writing and getting the whole video thing squared away and I’m really glad I’ve given myself this grace period before I really launched it. It’s as though I needed to make sure it wasn’t temporary mania – a Jerry Maguire Moment.

And just to be sure I asked my sister what she thought of my blog.  She is an actual professional writer so I was nervous.  I got her on the phone and she said, “I think it’s a fantastic idea! And you’re hilarious! Oh my god!. . . but you do sound a little crazy.”


About Holly Shaw

Holly Shaw is a San Francisco Bay Area dancer and choreographer who has performed as a soloist with Yaelisa and Caminos Flamencos off and on for several years. Shaw is the creator of the Eve’s Elixir project, a platform for artists of contemporary world dance wanting to bring new ideas to traditional dance forms, and has produced several shows in San Francisco. Her flow between contemporary modern dance, flamenco and Middle-eastern styles makes her a unique choreographer. Shaw has spent years training Bay Area dancers in technique and improvisation, challenging them to dance from a deeper level and uncover their unique style.

2 responses »

  1. Huh! Either times have changed or I have, but now I’m sort of intrigued by the “Flirting while breastfeeding” idea! Sorry I discouraged that! (I may have worried about overzealous CPS workers.)

    I’ve always admired the way you just GO for it, sister! I hope I never hold you back from anything you really want to do! That show at the Cowell theatre was AMAZING — (and I was mostly just teasing you when you called me and I said I didn’t know what you were thinking, either! You’d already done the hard part by then, everything was ready to go… ah, sorry if I freaked you out more!). I can’t wait for you to start posting vids after seeing your trailer you did lat night. Wow, just beautiful! I’m so inspired by you, sister! You can totally do anything you put your mind to, as long as your heart is in it! You know I believe in you!

    • Heh! Yes, as a disclaimer my sister did really like the Eyes of Eve show and is my biggest supporter. Clearly the abbreviated version of the story reads funniest so you know, I leave out all the mushy stuff as you can see!

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