The Truth Board

A Blog by the Editors of
The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Skating With Words.

Skating With Words

            Several weekends ago, the US Figure Skating Championships were showcased in Omaha, Nebraska, and as one of those former ‘twirl girls,’ I found myself defending, yet again, all the positive characteristics of this often-overlooked ‘sport.’ While watching the Champions’ Skate one Saturday afternoon, I, unlike my half-asleep peers, sat in awestruck wonder, amazed at the determination and grace that was exhibited in each routine. I was reminded, in those moments of happy nostalgia, how appealing skating had been for me-- and how it can, at least for some people, remain such a beautiful art of expression-- even after all of these years. As I watched the skaters glide off the ice and into the arms of their beaming coaches, it got me thinking: Writing, in a sense, is also an extraordinarily unique form of self-expression. Like skaters, writers often go unacknowledged, and good literary pieces, like skating, are often horribly misunderstood.
            But if writing were truly like figure skating, I couldn’t help but wonder: Wouldn’t it be wonderful to receive a hug after every writing session? Or to have a boatload of roses thrown around our desks after five hours of sitting in our chairs? Then again, it wouldn’t be so grand to hear a groan or a moan every time readers aren’t impressed with a character or a certain plot turn-- like the crowd usually does every time a skater bobbles or falls down.
             Despite the questions surrounding both forms of ‘expression,’ I, as a writer (and a skater), have always seen both activities as a journey of self-discovery. Not only do skating and writing both communicate to a specific audience, but they also, in my mind, help individuals learn valuable things about themselves. As a young girl, skating brought me a sense of confidence, and as a young adult, writing has been known to provide me with feelings of calm, accomplishment, and utter satisfaction. The process of putting a pen to paper allows me to dance with words, spin with anecdotes, and twirl out all of my frustrations. On the ice, my thoughts are expressed through kinetic movements, and when writing, an illuminating idea is first born into the mind and then successfully transcribed onto a piece of paper.
              Yet, within the creative processes of both, I may, at times, falter. I might miss a few steps, lose my balance, swivel off beat, and fall down on many jumps. The worry of an upcoming deadline, like a competition, often causes me to begin doubting my abilities when the task becomes too difficult. Yet, on some days, when I’m lucky, the words can fly as gracefully out of my mind as an axel or a Lutz jump can after weeks of aches and bruises. These triumphs, however, do not stop me from continuing to trudge on with blood, sweat, and a lot of tears. Because as with writing, the jumps and the spins only get better when sufficient time and motivation are put into the creative process.
               Figure skaters may be famous for caking on their makeup and wearing frighteningly immense amounts of glitter. Writers, on the other hand, can pen something even when sporting pajama bottoms and soft ballet slippers—which I have been known to do at the most unusual of morning hours. Yet, if you think about it, it all comes down to the same thing-- loving the process enough to stick with it even through the worst of days. To be able to remain tirelessly in that chair even through the most horrific case of writers’ block. Or to keep your skates on the ice even when your knees are sore and your legs are both black and blue. In the processes of both, we are just hoping for the outcome of a flawless routine or an insightful, cleverly written work of fiction (or nonfiction). But at the end of the day, we are generally just thankful to have gotten the job done well. We are thankful to have been given the opportunity to bring stories to life on the ice or onto the page. Writers and skaters are one and the same. We sway to words, we feel the meanings we wish to express, and we most definitely type to a certain rhythm with every piece we intend to create.



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