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Confessions of a Chronic Dabbler

October 7, 2010

When it comes to life, I am what some would call a dabbler. That is, I enjoy trying new things but then quickly tire of them and move on to my next obsession. Some of my passions are one-shot wonders, like a full-day massage course that I took at the local college (in my 20s…with my mother…don’t ask…). Others have been commitments of a longer term (i.e. I drop a load of cash to do them and feel guilty if I bail). Here are but a few of my more imprudent pastimes:

Hip Hop Dancing:
I signed up for this with a friend in the 90s thinking that In Living Color would be begging us to be their next Fly Girls. My moves – which had seemed so effortless and awe-inspiring in a dance club on the weekend – were decidedly less so once I moved into a harshly lit, well-mirrored studio (not to mention I was sober). We actually had a recital – with costumes – on the last night and I invited my then-boyfriend. Needless to say, we broke up a few weeks later.

Militia Wannabe:
When I moved to Toronto, I met a group of women and every month we’d do something out of the ordinary. Going to a gun range was our first diva date: we fired live ammunition at paper targets that were shaped like bad guys for a few hours, then went for manicures and Bellinis. Although I played Charlie’s Angels as a kid (running around in a tank top knotted under my non-boobs, shooting everything in sight with my hairbrush), I hated holding a real gun. Instead of being exciting or glamorous, for me it was just…yuck.


Sarah Palin, I am not (in oh so many ways).


This was another diva date disaster (at least from the instructor’s point of view). It was also right after I’d impulsively cut my hair really short so my feminine mojo was a bit depleted. We gathered in my friend’s basement (it was actually for her wedding shower) and our teacher, a former stripper, arrived toting feather boas and a male blow up doll she called Bob. She then lined us up and put us through the paces. Poor Bob had to endure hours of our clumsy grinding and awkward lap dances. Despite my past experience with strip bars, I didn’t remember a single move – much to my husband’s chagrin – but I laughed so hard I pulled a muscle (I blame Bob).


What could have been.


Belly Dancing:
Did you know that belly dancing is actually a birthing dance? The undulating of the pelvis mimics the baby’s journey down the pipe during labor. I was massively with child and thought it would be a brilliant idea to compliment my all-natural, doula-assisted birth plan with some belly dancing. The classes were fantastic because we were all in the same, bloated boat and it was freeing to waddle around with scarves (okay, sheets) tied around what in theory were our midsections. Our teacher was a beautiful, very pregnant professional belly dancer and I heard she literally danced through her entire labor. I ended up telling my doula to screw off and got an epidural.


Like this, only with incense.


This one was the most fun and useful for me. I took an introductory acting class at my local college and in Toronto I did all of the improv levels at Second City. I tried some community theatre and briefly went the whole headshots-agent-soul-crushing-auditions route, but getting pregnant for the second time put the brakes on any acting aspirations. I read that Janet Evanovich took improv classes and they greatly helped her to write realistic dialogue and honed her sense of timing. This is where I think my dabbling has paid off, and will hopefully help transform the hobby nearest and dearest to my heart from recreation to vocation…


Now that I'm off the scene, Kate can relax.


Creative Writing:
A few years ago I decided to write a book. I’d heard about a Saturday workshop being taught by Brian Henry, a former editor, and I went to check it out. That day I started to believe I could be a writer. Not corporate communications, which I’ve done for years, but making up a story that others might want to read. With the help of his classes (and my restless writers), I’ve learned how to show not tell, revise until I wanna barf and (knock wood) find an agent. Although I got to keep my clothes on, it was recital-free and firearms were banned, I was more nervous taking his class than any other; probably because it meant the most to me, even then.


Ahhhhh, that's better...


15 Comments leave one →
  1. October 7, 2010 9:47 am

    I love dabbling although I rarely get beyond the thinking about it stage.

    • October 7, 2010 8:10 pm

      I go to the doing stage but then often lose interest before the see-it-through-to-the-end stage…

  2. marinasleeps permalink
    October 7, 2010 12:39 pm

    I like dabbling too. A little bit of this and that. I think of all it makes you a well rounded person!

  3. October 7, 2010 2:05 pm

    I should have guessed you took Improv classes at Second City with your wicked sense of humour. It is amazing how anxiety ratchets up when there’s something at stake (i.e. it matters).

    I once went to Michael’s to buy some card making supplies because I was going to a Christmas card making party. I think my husband nearly slipped a disk from laughing so hard when I came home with coloured. It’s a standing joke in our house that I barely have opposable thumbs. Needless to say, the coloured paper is still there. After all, I am the anti-crafter.

    You’ve found your niche (and vocation) in writing, that’s for sure!

    • October 7, 2010 3:58 pm

      Please make arrangements asap to pack up and move east…we need you out here! I’m surrounded by Crafty McCrafters and can barely colour inside the lines. Also, did I mention we have a lot of wine in our drinking writing group?

  4. October 7, 2010 3:18 pm

    I love dabbling in stuff. I keep telling myself if I dabble in enough stuff, I will find something that sticks. I haven’t yet, though. huh…

    This part was hilarious: “I ended up telling my doula to screw off and got an epidural.” Yea for epidurals!

    • October 7, 2010 3:59 pm

      I would also like epidurals for bikini waxes…

      p.s. yay dabblers!

  5. October 7, 2010 11:02 pm

    Janet Evanovich is my naughty bedtime reading secret! I’m on the waiting list for ‘Sizzling Sixteen’ (which should really be ‘Sizzlin’ Sixteen’) at the local library.

    • October 9, 2010 12:14 am

      Oy – I have more bedtime reading secrets than I care to admit – I’m a sucker for a cheesy love story 🙂

  6. Maelle permalink
    October 30, 2010 11:33 pm

    After reading this… I can most definetly say that I am dabbler as well…. some of those “activities” were hilarious !!!


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