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19 October 2000

The mist is billowing off the water down at the dam and the bridge is wet with it. You can see it rising above the trees, into the clear sky from my house. On the way home from Ma's I watched the bright stars twinkle and tried to blow smoke rings with my breath. Can't do it.

Today I began learning a new story, The Magic of Spider Woman. It's a Navajo story, a teaching. It begins like this: "This is the story of Wandering Girl, who became Weaving Woman, and of the terrible thing that happened to her when she broke her promise to Spider Woman..."

This morning I read the story aloud to begin finding my voice, but it's been so long since I performed that I forgot to use my tantien, what in drama school they used to call the diaphragm, and all the words were catching in my throat and had no power, and it was a strain to make myself heard and I stumbled over the words.

Voice support. How many times was I reminded by my drama teachers to "Support your voice! Breathe from your diaphragm!" I used to be good at it once. I used to do it without thinking. And, you know, it's true, when you support your voice from your tantien, you can make yourself heard throughout a noisy room, even if you whisper. I'll have to practice. It ought to be even easier now, what with all my T'ai Chi and QiGong practice.

I'm looking forward to performing again, but I'm scared, too. I haven't been on stage in a long time, and now, I won't exactly be on stage, I'll be telling stories to people who are right beside me. I hope I can pull it off. I've wanted to do this for a long time.


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