I would like to be a beginner. There is a joy and an exhilaration that comes with learning something completely new.
I am constantly doing research for my writing, and I have to go through a lot of content before I come across something I didn’t already know. I may glean a tidbit here and there, but it all fits into a context that I have already developed.
For my short story involving fish nets, I had to tie a few knots, but I had already watched someone make a net and I had studied the process. I knit, so I knew about tension and stitch size. I spin so I knew about yarn, cording, and S and Z twists.
I know enough about open hearth cooking or wood fired oven baking to bring off a decent Jumble (snickerdoodle) or Lobscouse (ham and beef stew). The last workshop I attended I learned how much heat is drawn out of an oven by metal pans, heat that could otherwise be used for cooking. Not a very useful fact, since we must use pans these days.
I attend two writers’ conferences a year and the number of useful or interesting things I learn is decreasing. I love the inspirational stories of the writers who have made it. I love hanging out with old friends. I thrive on blood splatter and DNA. But the last speaker who taught me anything was the locksmith who showed us how to pick locks. I may or may not want to pick locks or write about it, but I was intrigued by the fact that it was something I knew nothing about.
I don’t mean to sound like a know-it-all. I have a long way to go with both the history and the writing. I no longer look at them with the wide eyed innocence of the novice.
For my birthday this year I treated myself to a class in Tai Chi. I love the sequence in mystery shows where the cops are chasing someone through a park and past a group of people moving in unison with such grace. I want the camera to stop following the chase and show more of the extras.
I have several problems that make Tai Chi difficult for me. I have poor balance. So far I haven’t done anything on one foot, but it’s coming. I can’t tell my right from my left, so I am always doing the moves backward. I seem to have no body memory. I can do the moves fine in class but when I get home they are gone.
But week after week I go back and I love it. Having a patient teacher helps.
There will come a point where Tai Chi doesn’t feel new to me any more. I hope by that time I have learned enough so that I could be in the background of one of those movie set.