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Black Carpet
Dancing With Darkness
King of Vanity
N Word
Tasting Metal
How to Cook a Turkey in Two Minutes Flat

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Life, viewed sideways. Emotions, amplified. Answers, questioned. Me, between the lines.

- A Wounded Heart, Who Can Bear?
- Drowning Under a Tidal Wave
- Clawing My Way to the Sunlight
- Yes, Santa Claus, There Is a Virginia
- Fugu
- Touching the Spirit
- A Hole in the Universe
- Riding on the Dreams of Others
- Turning Into a Shark
 - A Heart, Ripped Asunder
- Surrendering to the Roller Coaster
- Hunting in the Jade Forest
- Dodging the Shark
- Dancing With Invisible Partners
- The Captain and the Harliquin
- Courting the Devils
- The Captain Makes His Mark
- Mad Dog to the Rescue
- Innocent in the Big City
- Dropping the Ball Briefcase
- Scrambling Brains
- Cheating the Reaper, Again
- What If the Man Behind the Curtain Is No Wizard After All?
- All of Us Have a Soundtrack
- Working With Broken Machines
- Happy Anniversary, Baby
- Standing on Stars
- Running the Film Backwards
- Identity Crisis ("Who am I?")
- Can We Ever Really Admit the Desires of Our Heart?
- Forgiveness is a Rare Thing
- Having Your Heart Caressed By the Creator
- Working With Broken Machines
- A New Leg to Stand On
- The Real Spirit of Christmas
- Chatting With Infinity
- Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
- We All Have a Great Capacity for Loss
- Brushed Lightly By Might Have Beens
- We See the World Through Our Own Looking Glass
- Every Storm Passes Eventually
- Accidents Can Introduce Destiny Into Our Lives
- Freedom Depends on the Walls Around Us
- Pulling Aside the Velvet Curtain
- Riding the Razor's Edge
- Dying With Strangers
- In Your Face
- Between the Lines
- The Bobcat
- Angel With a Coffeecup
- Innocent in the Big City
- Chains of Gossamer
- Playing With Knives
- Stumbling Through Memories (Ooops)
- Picture This
- Running the Film Backwards
- Playing the Score, Tasting the Music
- Coins and Corals and Carved Coconuts
- My God, I Confess
- Exotic in Thin Air (Part 1, Speechless)
- Exotic in Thin Air (Part 2, Taxi)
- Exotic in Thin Air (Part 3, The Pan American)
- Exotic in Thin Air (Part 4, Guano)
- Exotic in Thin Air (Part 5, The Andes Express)

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More About Cliff Hursey

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"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."

Walt Whitman (1819-92)

"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."

Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)

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Sunday, October 31, 2004

Dancing in the Spotlight

Function: noun
Etymology: Middle French masque -- more at MASK
2 : a short allegorical dramatic entertainment of the 16th and 17th centuries performed by masked actors
3 : my life, sometimes

I can remember a time, long ago, when I could take the deep breath of calm confidence.

I looked at the world around me as an exciting challenge, and I was fascinated by its constant change, addicted to immersing myself in its hidden wonders. Life was good, it was wholesome, I slept soundly each night.

At least, that's how I remember it. I do think there truly was a moment in time like that one, and I lived in it.

I lived in it. I was the hero. I was the good cowboy. I was the astronaut.

Now, though, for so long, things have not been so pure and life has been sometimes so great a challenge that it threatens to overwhelm me.

I am no longer hero, cowboy, astronaut. No, I feel as if I am no more than an actor trapped on a stage, forced to perform a play without a script, pinned under the garish glare of the stage lights. In their heat, I sweat, and even though I try with every single fiber of my being, it's never enough.

It's never enough. I dance, I say the lines I am supposed to say, I play the part of the hero, cowboy, astronaut. But like an old threadbare pair of socks, I am wearing thin and I deeply fear that the real me is showing through.

We all put faces on when we start our days. So I do this as well. The mask fits badly now, and all the old roles feel uncomfortable, like someone else's shoes. I want to abandon the mask, to clear all the paint and prosthetics, to rise like some sort of modern day phoenix from their wreckage. I want nothing more nor less than to be me.

I want nothing more nor less than to be me. Yet, I have a terrible fear that, once the mask falls, what is left will be worthless, horrid, repulsive.

What if there isn't really a hero, cowboy or astronaut in there?

What if I cannot measure up to my own expectations of who I should be? What if I am inadequate for the needs and desires of my wife and family? Do I dare do this?

Or do I clasp the mask with all my strength, staggering through the same old dance every day, hoping against hope to keep getting the steps right?

I want.

I crave.

I yearn.

And I don't know what for.

Years ago, I used to frequent a night club in Greenville SC that had a Broadway musical style show each night. There was one girl in the show that was an incredible dancer, just like a little China doll on a music box. Yet, if you looked into her eyes, they were empty. Her body was there, her body danced, her dance was perfect in every way, but she wasn't there at all.

I am beginning to feel that way. And it frightens me.

I am disconnected.

Dance pretty dancer
Dance and turn for us all
Don't let us know that the way that you're moving
Is not what you feel at all...

Dance in the spotlight
Dance with both eyes trained on empty space
In dance is your healing,
It heals all the wounds that time can't erase

Cliff Hursey, excerpt from the song "Dancer", 1980

Permalink: 10/31/2004 10:16:00 PM |
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