Hey! Writing's Actually Useful!

I love writing, but aside from crafting novels doomed to obscurity, it's a skill I rarely find useful. Knowing how to write a query letter doesn't keep my boys from killing each other. And being able to describe the smell of coming rain doesn't help when the toilet's clogged (that requires a different scent entirely).

But every once in a while...

So my wife teaches dance. You probably didn't know that. I love seeing her do something she loves, but of course I can do nothing to help her since all my dance knowledge comes from watching Center Stage.

But the other day she was trying something new. She wanted to choreograph something with sort of a story, about a girl with no self-confidence, who fails no matter how hard she tries. To me it felt a lot like Hagai's story (the song she's using was even part of my own inspiration).

She had a problem, though, because what she had so far made it look like the girl was just trying to fit in to the rest of the group, even succumbing to peer pressure. I suggested she do what I do when one of my good guys looks like a jerk: show them doing something nice. Make the group sympathetic by showing them trying to help the girl -- that it's the girl's choice to give up, not the group excluding her.

My wife loved it, and we started talking about other ideas for the dance. I got so excited I didn't realize I was trying to outline the whole thing for her. I completely forgot that anyone who's seen a single season of So You Think You Can Dance is more qualified to choreograph than I am.

Fortunately, she forgave me.

I don't know if she'll use everything we talked about, but for that moment I felt useful. Like I had exactly the skills needed to help her. Who knew fiction was good for something besides, well, fiction?

Have you ever used your writing skills for something other than writing?


Matthew MacNish said...

Great post, I love this story!

Being creative can be really helpful if you have to lie to your parole officer, - er, assuming someone out there has one that is.

fairyhedgehog said...

That sounds really cool! I'm amazed that my other half wrote part of a story the other day - he usually confines his creativity to his guitar playing. I'm not sure that's relevant but never mind.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I love it! And what a cool story to put into a dance. :)

My help usually comes in the form of helping my husband while he curses at the grammatical errors in a report he's reading. But occasionally, I help him craft the "story" of a presentation he's making to the big cheeses. Since I know the tech side too, I can help him pull the two together so that the numbers support the narrative, but that the narrative is what's driving his point home.

Yeah, I'm a powerpoint monkey sometimes. ;)

Myrna Foster said...

Actually, my kids and I bond over reading and writing stories, so it can be a good parenting skill. Of course, just last night, my son's teacher was complaining to me that she couldn't get him to finish his "true stories," so maybe I need to quit emphasizing fiction quite so much.

Thanks for sharing your story. Your wife, every time you mention her, sounds amazing.

K. Marie Criddle said...

That sounds really cool, Adam! My sister teaches dance as well and we often talk about the "story lines" of her pieces as well. It's absolutely fascinating to see a story "come to life" as cheesy at that sounds.

I use writing (or at least character development) in most of the paintings I do...unless I have a story behind it, it's really difficult to finish any sort of piece.

Victoria Dixon said...

What great fun! The closest I've come to doing something like this was after I'd finished creating a book trailer for myself. My bosses wanted to produce a mini movie for the business, so I used all the story boarding, editing, etc. skills I'd developed and created them a mini movie. We're still cleaning it up, but they're really happy and it was the most fun I've had at work in a LONG TIME. LOL

Adam Heine said...

@K. Marie: THAT'S why I have trouble drawing random character sketches. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Just to help teenage daughter with creative writing. But gee, other creative skills sure help with the writing.

I've had a long line of creative occupations and they all nfeed into each other. That's why your creative ideas for your wife's choreography are a helpful input regardless of your expertise in the area.