Find joy, receive joy, host virtual dance parties

I read out my partner’s horoscope to him the other day (I mean, how great is Rob Breszny, who writes the horoscopes that appear in the Pique?) because, even though my fella has pretty much zero interest in the astrological omens, this was just so good:

Author Leo Buscaglia told us that among ancient Egyptians, two specific questions were key in evaluating whether a human life was well-lived. They were ‘Did you bring joy?’ and ‘Did you find joy?’

Seriously, imagine if this was how we measured our lives: did you bring joy? Did you find it?

I have a friend – she might be your friend, too… – who is a natural joy-bringer. Her positive energy is infectious, she’s always got some positive angle on things, and bonus, she’s an includer.

There is a line from a Marge Piercy poem that I encountered the other day: ‘it starts when you say we and know who you mean and each day you mean one more’. 

I mean, it’s a killer poem. Take a moment with it. (Especially if you’ve just watched the Trial of the Chicago Seven, or have read the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women report, or are still a little gob-smacked by that post-election riot on the US Capitol building, or you paused your instagram scrolling on IWD for a moment when this one popped up🙂

The Low Road

by Marge Piercy

What can they do
to you? Whatever they want.
They can set you up, they can
bust you, they can break
your fingers, they can
burn your brain with electricity,
blur you with drugs till you
can’t walk, can’t remember, they can
take your child, wall up
your lover. They can do anything
you can’t stop them
from doing. How can you stop
them? Alone, you can fight,
you can refuse, you can
take what revenge you can
but they roll over you.

But two people fighting
back to back can cut through
a mob, a snake-dancing file
can break a cordon, an army
can meet an army.

Two people can keep each other
sane, can give support, conviction,
love, massage, hope, sex.
Three people are a delegation,
a committee, a wedge. With four
you can play bridge and start
an organization. With six
you can rent a whole house,
eat pie for dinner with no
seconds, and hold a fund raising party.
A dozen make a demonstration.
A hundred fill a hall.
A thousand have solidarity and your own newsletter;
ten thousand, power and your own paper;
a hundred thousand, your own media;
ten million, your own country.

It goes on one at a time,
it starts when you care
to act, it starts when you do
it again and they said no,
it starts when you say We
and know you who you mean, and each
day you mean one more.

Which brings me back to my friend, and the power of “we.”

She, Claire Fuller, who I hereby am accusing of being positive and inclusive, randomly encountered a video of the folk singer Rose Cousins – who had done a cover of Whitney’s classic “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and filmed herself, with a stellar blazer game, dancing, alone, (or with her dog), to it. It’s kind of the perfect COVID anthem.

Cousins dropped it on Valentine’s Day. Cousins, in case you didn’t know, (I didn’t), is a Grammy-nominated and JUNO Award-winning songwriter. Cousins also writes for film and TV and her songs have appeared on the programs “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Supergirl”, “Reign” and “Nashville” among others. She has shared stages with songwriters such as Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin, Lori McKenna, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Jann Arden and Ron Sexsmith. 

Claire didn’t know any of this either. I think a random Facebook algorithm suggested it to her. And it brought her joy. And an instant feeling of kinship, with Cousins, that she shared, and then grew… and suddenly, she was sending out an open Zoom invitation to anyone who wanted to wear leatherette leggings, acknowledge that it’s Friday, and talk about a dance-off, inviting anyone to take a page from Rose’s iphone, and film themselves, in homage, dancing, alone… to the track.

Marvellously, she followed up by posting her own dance to her page.

A week later, she hosted a launch screening, having edited everyone’s contributions into this GEM. Which, when I watched it, ran to an underlying soundtrack of the horoscope I’d just read: bring joy, find joy, bring joy, find joy.

This is how we do it.

it starts when you care to act,
it starts when you say We
and know you who you mean, and each
day you mean one more.

Huge props to all the amazing dancers – men, women, kids, cats and dogs, in the video, who gave permission for this to be shared more widely, in the interest of sparking joy and inspiring dance parties and blazer-rescue fashion days, everywhere.

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