One night I was layin' down,
I heard Papa talkin' to Mama,
I heard Papa say to let that boy boogie-woogie.
'Cause it's in him and it's got to come out.
~ John Lee Hooker
In 1978, I came home from Mrs. Patterson's 2nd grade class and informed my mother that I was going to audition for the Newcastle Elementary School's talent show.
I would need my 45 record of "The Boogie Woogie," new black gros grain ribbons for my tap shoes, and oh, yes, a dance skirt for my blue leotard.
And then I went and practiced for 2 weeks on an MDF board in front of the full length mirror on my parents' closet door.
I had no history of performance or bravery or even talent for that matter, but I did have a history of vomiting every morning before school because I was such a strung out bundle of nerves. It was my mother's familiarity with this latter history that raised eyebrows at the idea of me up on a stage. Alone. Tap dancing. But she didn't say a word.
Sometimes something's just in you and it's got to come out.
I still don't know where that bravery came from. And I don't know where it came from in the 3rd grade (Tap. Solo performance ... can't remember the music) or in the 4th grade (Disco. Solo performance ... to Rick Dees' Disco Duck).
And then I never danced on a stage ever again. I can't even tell you why (although my choice of music may have had something to do with it), but I can tell you that I felt bad for many years thinking I should have pursued tap dancing even though I didn't want to anymore (Disco? Hell, yes).
But the way I see it now is that I had something in me and I got it out. And then I was done.
And that's enough. That is a success. Let me repeat this idea because it's kind of a foreign one:
It. Is. Enough.
For those of us raised or semi-raised with the idea that you do something for years until you get really good at it and then you just hit cruise control while you continue to do it -- sometimes with much misery, it's really hard to let go of that thing and move on. But listen, there's a whole lot of boogie-woogie out in the world, and there is even more trying to come out of us. So, here's my question to you -- what's your boogie-woogie? Do you know? Are you letting it out?
Or, alternatively, are you so terrified of moving on, of becoming a one-hit wonder that you're milking that one boogie-woogie to the point of it becoming a mushy-gushy-boogie ... loogie?
Think about it for a second, then do this:
Show me your boogie-woogie.
I'll post it here.
Show me your best boogie-woogie -- what you absolutely had to get out of you, even if it was only once -- with a description of what this meant at the time or how it formed your artistic journey. (Send the image to email@example.com, subject "boogie-woogie," with links, your name, all that good stuff).
Keep in mind that I have small children and a husband so do not send images of body parts, orifices or smut. I may be banned from blogging and emailing (like, forever) and that's not playing nice for anyone. We can all be totally edgy and still classy at the same time.
Besides, we're all about putting our best foot forward around here. Even if we only do it once.