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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary

Today I'm re-thinking the purpose of my blog. I started out with the intention to write about my progress as a belly dance student. Now, after several weeks of writing and dozens of blogs, I’ve come to realize a couple of things: 

·       I don't have enough material to write about belly dancing every day, unless I resort to borrowing from other sources. To detail everything I do belly dance-wise would be tedious, even for a fellow dancer.  

·       Instead of writing about belly dance every day, I write about whatever comes to mind. Usually I don't know what that is until I begin. Then the writing takes on a life of its own. So my blog has turned out to be about my everyday experiences, unremarkable as they are. It’s not what I set out to do, but that’s what happened along the way. (That last sentence could describe my whole life!) 

Maybe that’s not so bad.  Most of us live rather ordinary lives.   

Yes, we may have the occasional big moment, the news making event.  I wrote a book about one of those larger-than-life events a long time ago.  My husband at the time had kidnapped my children and taken them to Bolivia, his homeland.  The book chronicles my efforts to get them back.  I hired investigators, including an ex-FBI agent, and flew to South America to re-kidnap my children and take them home.  It was a harrowing journey.  It was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure and a once-in-a-lifetime story, and I wrote it all down.  I was lucky enough to have it published by a major New York publishing company.  That was the first and last book I've written. (The book is Where Are My Children, by Cassie Kimbrough, and you can still find used copies on  I'm in the process of turning it into a digital version.) 

Since then, people are always asking me, "When are you going to write another book?" And my answer is always, "I don't have anything exciting to write about."   

It’s true.  My life is made up of plain, everyday events.  But isn’t that true of everyone?  The special ops soldier spends his time training and waiting for those few moments of action that may make him a hero or a martyr.  The movie star spends most of her life a prisoner inside her own home, because fans and paparazzi would mob her as soon as she sets foot outside.  The creative artist spends most of his time plugging away at his craft, fulfilling though it may be.  Everyone’s life involves a large measure of routine, effort, and work. 

So no matter how glamorous or impressive our lives may sound like on the outside, the moments of our days are made up of the mundane and repetitive.  Things we all have to do to maintain life.  Things we can all relate to.  That’s what I write about more than anything else.   

If I were to restate the purpose of my blog, it would go something like this: 

I believe that you can find a nugget of beauty, humor, or inspiration out of the messy detritus of any ordinary day.  After all, it’s in the ordinary that our lives intersect.  And if we’re paying attention, it’s in the ordinary that we sometimes catch a glimpse of the extraordinary.

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