Thursday, March 5, 2009

Tap dancing and writing

Yesterday was the first Wednesday in ages that I haven't had a school visit or had to write.

So I decided to go to tap dancing class.

I've been tap dancing for FIFTY years.

I take a class whenever I can, which, alas, isn't too often anymore.

My tap shoes cost more than any other pair of shoes I own.

I sent them to a special shoe shop in New York City to have Savion build-ups (which means adding to the sole in a way that adds weight and gives a better tone - named for the tap dancer Savion Glover).

I keep them in a beautiful hand-woven bag from Guatemala.

What does this have to do with writing, you ask?

Okay...I'll tell you.

Author Ann Cameron is a dear friend and mentor of mine.

We have the same editor at Farrar, Sraus & Giroux (Frances Foster).

We became e-mail buddies and grew very close. She was living in Guatemala at the time.

Because she's such a nice person, she sent me a lovely hand-woven bag from Guatemala.

When her book, The Secret Life of Amanda K. Woods, was nominated for the National Book Award in 1998, she invited me to join her in New York for the festivities.

I jumped at the chance.

She agreed to pick me up at the train station.

But these were the days before websites and blogs and Facebook and all that stuff, so we hadn't seen photos of each other and didn't know if we would recognize one another at Penn Station.

She suggested that I carry the bag from Guatemala so she could find me (which I did).

I had a fantastic time on that trip - schmoozing with Ann and the other nominees: Jack Gantos, Louis Sachar, Anita Lobel, and Richard Peck!!


That's how tap dancing and writing are related.

And by the way, that little gold coin in the photo? That's a coin from Guatemala that Ann must have put in there and I never knew it was there until yesterday!!!!!!


Janet, said...

Have fun tap dancing. How nice to be able to say we have the same editor.

jama said...

You continue to amaze me. Tap dancing!! Love the Guatemalan bag story.

Anonymous said...

Never heard of Savion build-ups. My tap shoes are in a stinky old nylon gym bag. One day, I want to bring my shoes to your house (when no one else is there) and have you teach me a thing or two.