Over the past few weeks, my daughter Morgan has been sharing her writing with me and with her older sister, asking for feedback on her application to a graduate program in dance. Reading Morgan’s writing has given me another window into who this woman is, how she sees her life and the world, where she has been, and where she is heading. It has also shown me the power that comes with writing your life story.
In Morgan’s application, she weaves through her life story in an interesting way. She begins the piece with a conversation she had with a professor in college, realizing that she could do SO many things in this life. She then walks us through her life at the moment, working for a up and coming fashion design house, living in a beautiful old city in Italy, traveling the world, and all along the way, no matter how busy her life gets, finding ways to sustain her need to create and to move. It is here that she shares her epifany: Her desire to dance will not take a back seat. She needs it, intellectually, physically, and emotionally.
Morgan then takes us on a short tour of her childhood, looping back to her early dreams of being a dancer (“I had never seen such beauty as the lightness and subtlety of Gelsey Kirkland, and I thought that there could be no better luxury in life than walking around in the middle of the night with a silk nightgown and a candlestick.”) and then an ice skater (Tara Lapinski was her idol here.). And then there is her decision to study dance in college, and the eventual meeting with the dance professor whose conversation launches this essay.
As Morgan drives toward her conclusion (including, of course, why this university should accept her application), she describes her ideas as an artist. I am blown away by the way she conceives of her dance. She talks about how she often thinks of dance in a structure similar to that of a short story collection, where “small snippets of human emotion that are not necessarily related, but work together to inform one another, create an entire sphere and environment that the reader slips into.” She talks about how she thinks about dance, along with her physical and emotional need to study this art form in a community of artists, and to then share her understanding and passions with her own students at some point in the future.
Reading Morgan’s writing has helped me to understand my daughter in new ways. It has also pushed me to examine my own life and ask the big questions, “Am I pursuing my dreams? Am I letting my real desires take a back seat? Am I doing everything in my power to live a full and meaningful life, for myself and for others?”