Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Finding the Line

I have recently, in a fit of what can only be termed poor judgement, decided to take up golfing. Historically, golf has not been a great sport for me. 1997 brought an awful lot of tears as my poor dad valiantly dragged me around a course. He learned his lesson as we haven't been out since. Somewhere about 2002/2003 the taller half decided we should go for a quick 9 holes. We were lapped by 9-year-olds. All previous experience points to golf being similar to that year I ran track in high school: a total disaster. The only thing I mastered in track was the bit where we stretched.

I've taken a slightly different tack on golf this time around. I'm getting lessons from a local golf pro and, to date, there have been no tears. In fact, he tells me I'm a natural. What? I suppose it's in his best interest to butter me up so I keep coming back for lessons. Except, the taller half agrees. What? I suppose it's in his best interest to butter me up so that I don't return to the days of tears.


On my 4th lesson, my teacher announced that we needed to change my swing. Change my swing? Who am I, Tiger Woods? Apparently, I swing like a baseball player - ahh, that's more like it. Softball was one of the few sports where I was pretty good. Now I'm supposed to be doing some sort of wrist-flick thing that the taller half assures me is how the pros do it, that my teacher assures me will cure my tendency to go right all the time, and has, thus far, mainly resulted in me digging up a lot of grass as I drive the club directly into the ground.

When I do make contact with the ball, however, it now goes waaaaaaay left. Oddly, this is exciting because I actually feel like I have some control over where the ball is going, even if it's just that it's not going right anymore. When my teacher first switched me to the flip he said, Now, don't worry if it goes to the left, that's what we want at this point. You can pull it back in later.

It was like hearing myself teaching in a writing workshop. One of the things I always encourage students to do is to go to where they feel like it's too much and then to push just a little harder. I try to do this in my own writing as well. You can't possibly figure out where the line is unless you've crossed it. Art is all about pushing boundaries but how can you do that if you don't know where they are.

If I don't ever hit the ball to the left, I'll be forever on the right side of straight. My shots will always be just 'less right'. If I go right and I go left, then I can figure out where the centre is.

So here I am, in our not-quite-big-enough-for-sports flat practicing flipping my wrists and thinking about ways I can trample all over the lines in my writing. I'm looking for that sweet spot in both.

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