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Yee-haw. I’m done.

Yesterday, Cory got the financing approved to buy our Sarasota Building. All systems are “go”. There will be another fine dance institution to take over where we left off in Sarasota this fall. We look forward to helping him in any way we can, and the plans we are cooking up together to set his dreams on course are very exciting. It gives closure to dance for Mark and I in the best of ways. We are delighted. But I have no time to talk about it now.  I am leaving this morning to go to Boston to finish my MFA requirements and then to graduate. Yippee for me!

As a person who often assesses meaning and purpose in the coincidences fate tosses out, the timing of my educational experience has been remarkably interesting. Low residency MFA’s are very competitive and difficult to get into. I applied to many schools, but was declined. I was even declined to Lesley. Then, on the very day the soon-to-be new owners of FLEX made an offer to buy our business, I came home to an unexpected acceptance call (I was on a wait list for Lesley and someone had decided not to attend). It was a last minute invitation which meant the commencement of my writing journey would begin the very same week we turned over the keys to FLEX. I believed this was a sign. It provided new opportunity to be excited about, which made it far easier to say “Yes” to the FLEX offer.

Two months later, I attended my first residency, and the very day I began writing classes happened to be the day we closed on the dance school sale. I had to leave a seminar to fax my signature to the closing. Again, I felt that this was a “sign” that I was meant to do something different now. FLEX was no longer ours, and here I was in a writing program I wanted desperately to attend, learning what I needed to know to forage a new career.

For the entire two years I have been in this MFA, trying to focus on writing, I have been pulled back into the turmoil and frustration of FLEX as things went sour. I thought getting my MFA would be a celebration of my freedom to pursue new dreams. But instead, it was an endless time of heartbreak, frustration and financial stress which made concentration on writing difficult. But I kept at it (even though I thought seriously of quitting more often than I like to admit.) And don’t ya know, of all things, I wrote a thesis novel about dance. What was I thinking? (More salt on the wound than even I was ready for.)

The FLEX eviction happened the very week my thesis was due. Talk about two poignant endings to wrestle with at once. Now, this week, I am finally closing the book on our former school. I am closing the book on my book about dance at the same time. It is as all things are pointing to dance being really over in my life. And I find it amazing that the day before I leave to get my diploma, we seal the deal to sell our building to an old student, which finally closes the door to our involvement with our former school forever. We will visit to teach, give Cory our guidance and consultation, but our future is no longer dependant upon the dance decisions someone else is making. Our financial stability and the ability to invest in a new business is no longer limited because everything we have is still wrapped up in that building.  FLEX had a slow and painful death. My entry into the writing world had a slow and painful entry. I can’t help but think the timing of these two significant elements of my life are strongly intertwined. The timing is too coincidental.

Today, as I prepare to go to the airport, I feel as if a huge gust of fresh air has finally swooped up, allowing me to breathe at long last. After this week, I’ll be able to return to writing what I feel inspired to write, with new confidence in my developed skill and understanding of writing as an art form.  I am so ready to “retire” my dance book, or at least set it aside for awhile, to concentrate on something less painfully personal. I am grateful that I don’t have to actively mourn our former school anymore – I will always miss it and feel sad about its end, but the FLEX years can take their place in the vault of important memories and life altering experiences in my mind. And I have every confidence that the new school taking its place will be an evolution of our past that will bring a smile to our face and help heal our feelings of loss.

It seems this is the end of our transition period. No one will even know how difficult it has been for us, or how we welcome a fresh start at long last.

I am going to graduate now. I’ll be back in a week (with pictures.)
Gee, I hope I don’t trip as I walk up to the podium or get tongue tied as I do my first public reading. But if I do, I will keep going and act as if nothing happened. That is something I learned from dance.
We are all the sum of our life experiences. So, for the good and the bad, today, I am grateful.


About Ginny East Shaddock

Ginny is the owner of Heartwood Yoga Institute. She is an ERYT-500 Yoga teacher, C-IAYT Yoga therapist, RCYT & Ayurveda Counselor who loves nature, gardening, and creative arts. She has an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University, and a BA in Business Administration from Eckerd College. She teaches writing and is the creator of the memoir writing program, "Yoga on the Page" combining the teaching of yoga to writing personal stories with integrity, intention, and heart.

5 responses »

  1. Congrats on graduating! It’s been long and hard……


  2. Ginny, Congrats, close the book the final chapter is over and you can finally move on. YEA!!!!! Congrats on your graduation! You’ve worked hard and now you can get your diploma. YEA Again~!~~~


  3. Congratulations, Ginny, and good luck! And don’t worry, even if you do trip, you’ll probably land in a jazz split and make it look good.


  4. Thursday, June 289:30-11:30—Seminars and Meetings:Keynote: Seeing Many Possibilities: Types of Imagery – Thomas Sayers Ellis 9:00-10:30—Third Semester Students Meet with Director and Assistant Director10:30-11:30—Fourth Semester Students Meet with Director and Assistant Director 11:30-12:30 Graduating Student SeminarsEighty Degrees West and Three Hundred Years—Karie BallentineBooks Born of Blogs—Ginny Hendry Developing the Short Story Ending—Buli Papillon Mad Libs: How Historical Writers Fill in the Blanks—Michelle Parnett Know Your Rights: the Nuts and Bolts of a Publishing Contract—Karon Powell Training and Strengthening the Imagination—Elizabeth Seaman- Good luck tomorrow morning. It feels strange saying this, but I’m very proud of you.


  5. Erin wrote:HI Ginny, I am a student of Marks from Cardinal Mooney H.S. We also knew the same family….The smiths, Lee and Sara…Well I just found this from a coworker who has her daughter in dance. I just wanted to say Hi to you and mark. The children have gotten so big wow well hope all is well. Your house is beautiful. thanks



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