May 2, 2014

May 2014 IWSG - a life half-lived

This was supposed to be a blog post about insecure writers finding their courage. (And I know this is early, but I didn't want to wait.) So first, I was going to share quotes about courage. And then I was going to give quotes about fear, but that made me think of a quote from one of my favorite movies, Strictly Ballroom. And that led to an evolving blog post (kind of like my novel, but not nearly as many times).

Strictly Ballroom is a quirky Australian film from 1992. (Major spoilers here--) Scott Hastings is the “crown prince” of the local ballroom dancing community. His parents are the king and queen. They’ve been training Scott, from the age of six, to win the Australian Pan-Pacific Gran Prix Amateur Latin Dance Championship. This year, everyone believes “it’s Scott's turn to win.”

Scott has always followed the rules to win, but something inside him wants to dance his own steps. Unfortunately, the local ballroom dancing world is controlled by a few who say you won’t win if you dance your own steps. Scott is determined to buck the system—until his long-time partner refuses to dance his new steps and leaves him for another dancer.

Along comes Fran, an ugly duckling, Cinderella, beginning dancer. She’s been taking lessons in the same studio where Scott trains. But she also does the grunt work—cleaning the coffee cups, mopping up, etc. No one notices her. Everyone steps on her. Scott looks down on her because she’s been “dancing with girls.”

One night while Scott is practicing his steps, Fran watches him. When Scott catches her and asks who she is, she won’t even give her full name. She’s “just Fran.” She knows she’s invisible. But she also has the guts to approach him about an idea she’s had. She offers to help him win the Latin dance championship, dancing his own steps.

She offers to be his partner.

The following dialogue ensues:

Scott: Look, a beginner has no right to approach an Open Amateur.

Fran: Yeah, well an Open Amateur has no right to dance non-Federation steps, but you did, didn't you?

Scott: But that's different.

Fran: *How* is it different? You're just like the rest of them! You think you're different, but you're not, because you're just, you're just really scared! You're really scared to give someone new a go, because you think, you know, they might just be better than you are! Well, you're just pathetic, and you're gutless. You're a gutless wonder! Vivir con miedo, es como vivir a medias!

Translated, the last lines means “A life lived in fear is a life half-lived.”

While Scott’s mother works to find him a new partner in time for the competition, Scott agrees to train Fran. He’s reluctant at first. Dancing with her is like a chore. But he keeps at it. As time goes on, Fran starts to change. When Scott meets Fran’s Hispanic family (from the other side of the railroad tracks), he starts to change. They teach him about dancing from the heart. Not living in fear is the family motto.

I won’t give away the rest of the movie, but let’s just say that by the end, Scott and Fran are different. And so are a few other people.

None of them would have changed if Fran hadn’t had the courage to follow her dream.

I was going to give some catchy wrap-up here, but I don’t think I need to. Maybe all I need to say is:

and if you need more encouragement, there are a lot of great posts at the IWSG website.  (plus, i just found a fountain of more great quotes along this line at Optimism Revolution.)


J.L. Campbell said...

Interesting post, Michelle. It's important to do what we have to, even if it's the road less trodden.

When I saw your post, I wondered what day it was and if I'd missed the IWSG Post. :)

Shell Flower said...

Yay to meet another "Shell" :) I probably would never watch a movie about dancing, but now I want to watch this one. I'll be posting Wednesday. See ya then!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You should just go do them. Those are wise words and great encouragement.
The journey will change you. And if it doesn't, you're missing the point.

Nick Wilford said...

That's one of my wife's favourite films, but I've never seen it. I should get her to watch it with me! Never realised it had such a great message in it. You need to try new things, otherwise you won't know what you're capable of.

Nice to meet you through the IWSG!

Margo Berendsen said...

This definitely sounds like a movie I want to see. I have been incredibly blessed that I all things I've wanted to do... I've had a chance to do them. Except travel to Alaska. Need to get that one done :) and publishing... it's awesome that self publishing is a really viable option these days, so even that dream can come true.

Juneta Key said...

Love the post. Makes me want to go watch the movie again. It has been so long I do not remember it well. Love movies about dancing for some reason, lol.

Here is to following our dreams.

Happy Writings,
Juneta at Writer's Gambit