…and up on SELF’s web-edition, too: The Things We Do For Love.
I had a lot of fun thinking about and writing this one, and after a long time of hoping to work with my former personal essay teacher, SELF editor (and a beautiful, insightful writer to boot) Paula Derrow, I finally happened upon a subject and angle that was the right fit. We went through multiple drafts and versions, and it was a great experience. As anyone who’s read Mexican High can probably tell, the younger me wasn’t exactly an athlete–so finding capoeira through somewhat odd circumstances at age thirty was a happy surprise, even if finding out that the guy who introduced me to it had another girlfriend wasn’t. (Yet in the end, was, as, “in truth, I should thank him, because if we hadn’t met, I never would have ended up traveling to Brazil with two capoeira friends … And I would never have dreamed that an art that comes as close as possible to teaching a person to fly would turn out to be the very thing that keeps me grounded.”
PS – Another reason why I’m in heaven this week: I’m at Copalis Beach, WA. I am reading an incredibly long novel, and now – off to hiking and the beach! Seriously contemplating a move to Seattle. At least temporarily, maybe in the spring.
The morning after I arrived on a very delayed, very turbulent flight to AWP 2012 in Chicago, I awoke to find a girl I’d never met before in my room. She was a friend of a friend, who woke up and introduced us, and in conversation she mentioned she had a book of essays coming out from this great independent press, Future Tense, and she was at AWP to give a couple of readings and promote the book, Legs Get Led Astray. “I write about authors sometimes,” I said. “Then you should take one,” Chloe said. “It’s the first copy I’m giving out at AWP.” I read it in one sitting, thinking, this girl is brave. She’s done and written about things most people fantasize about, she romanticizes nothing, and she’s hilarious to boot. I got to interview her for Publishers Weekly, which you can read here, and on September 1st we’ll be reading in the Hudson River Loft Reading Series Chloe founded, the final one she’ll host before she moves to Portland.
I went in looking for a workout that wouldn’t make me bored. I ended up finding so much more than fitness: amazing friendships, love of Brazilian culture and Portuguese, plus a new obsession to write about! (Capoeira Brooklyn stars in my forthcoming essay in September’s issue of SELF magazine) A little over two years since starting capoeira, I can’t imagine life without it, and if you’ve talked to me during this time you probably haven’t been able to evade my inevitably somehow weaving it into conversation (“Oh, you like fly fishing? But have you ever tried capoeira? It’s, like, this Brazilian martial art but also a dance and a game….”). You probably also know I don’t like asking for stuff! But this is really important to me and an entire community, and I would deeply appreciate any generosity you may feel toward making our September Batizado (cord-advancement ceremony/celebration) happen! We train hard and this is the culmination of a year’s worth of investment in improving at this challenging physical art form. Check out the Indiegogo campaign. Thank you!