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.)