You don't have to be born with angels singing in celebration or the heaven pouring tears over your birth to be extraordinary. And so it was with the Word Dancer.
She was born to a very normal pair of parents in a very normal hospital room at 10:43 a.m. on an unremarkable Monday morning. She progressed like all children do, clumsily but surely. In fact, words didn't always even mean something to her. They were just- what else- words. Or more like noises. You know, things you fling out when you happen to be hungry now and your mother simply doesn't understand. Or that you whimper when you don't want the nice doggie to leave. Actually, the first time that words started to shape the Word Dancer was quite a time after she learned how to read.
It was most likely with her first book that she picked up that didn't have pictures to accompany the words like ladies to a ball. She would not be able to tell you the name of the book- it's not important, anyway- but she remembers taking in the words and realizing for the first time that words by themselves can paint pictures. They didn't need those illustrations to draw out a scene in her head. And that's when, for the first time, she lifted her head as she faintly heard their tinkling melodies.
The words began to show up everywhere in the Word Dancer's life. They bled into her chubby fingers as she pressed them underneath each word she read. She inhaled them from the air as conversations floated by her.
Her father was the one who taught her that words are linked to music. He always played his favorite songs when she buckled up in his old Ford truck with him, and he loved to play the ones with a story. She can't even remember how many times he would skip to a track and say to her, "Now, listen to this one. Tell me what it's about." And the words told beautiful stories, that not only painted pictures but made harmonious sounds as each hung from a different note.
With poetry, she had her first word dance. Its graceful rhyming words led her into the steps, and with each line break she felt the swooping sensation as it descended to the next line. The stanzas ran like smooth running water beneath her splashing, dancing feet, and each time a new one began, she leaped gracefully into its lines. She would often claim later that novels were her first love, her first partner on the floor, but it was really poetry that taught her to dance.
The Word Dancer had many, many word dances. Dances with bright and gay children's books, with sparkling fantasies, with black-robed mysteries, more, as she danced with a steady unbroken concentration that was scarcely interrupted, and the interruptions were often fiercely punished. Often she laughed at the sentences floating by while she danced. Sometimes she cried. Regardless of their character, she danced with all the words, whether they were printed, sung, spoken, or echoed from images. The only ones she politely declined the hand of were the words that could not manage to sweep her off her feet and whirl her away with their song- most often these were textbooks.
In the late autumn of her eighth year, she learned to sing with the words as well as dance. Again, poetry was her faithful teacher, as she hesitatingly wrote a Christmas poem for the man she admired most; her father.
The Word Dancer ended up loving word singing as much as she loved word dancing. For many years, she would impatiently wait for an inspiration to hit her so that she could whip out a piece of paper (regardless of where she was, such as the middle of history class), pick up her pen, and sing. In her early years of word singing, she only sang long ballads of stories, often halting after a little less than an hour and wondering where on earth to take the song next. And she would ponder it, and go back the next day, but as she learned, she was too much of a Word Dancer to be a Word Singer. She would go back to the song, and start quickly singing through it to reach where she'd left off, when she'd be bothered by the fact that this sentence, its words clashed, and it wasn't very good for dancing. She'd painstakingly cut a word, sing a new one in its place, have the same problem, and repeat over and over again until it finally became a whole melody. Often she never even made it to the drop-off. No, novels ended up not working for one as quick and fleeting as the Word Dancer.
She continued dancing as she struggled through her singing studies, as she gradually realized that the novelistic ballads didn't suit her and began to flirt with singing poetry. She didn't think that she would enjoy it that much, but it turned out to be a strength of the Word Dancer- she loved to release vast amounts of intense emotion that flooded into the short songs that she loved to dance to with such passion as to make the birds cry. Word singing quickly became her mental outlet as much as word dancing. The songs were filled to the brim with her life; happy times, sad times, painful times. And she loved culturing the words, twining the growing vines around her trellises just so, singing words into being as she danced with them.
The Word Dancer believes that she will be able to stay a Word Dancer forever. That she will never be much of a Word Singer, at least not as much as she is a Word Dancer. Word Singers are something very different, she believes- much more talented, born to be someone special.
She has yet to realize that one day, it will be her talent as a Word Singer, born out of the life-giving phoenix fires of the Word Dancer, that will change the world.
And that you don't have to be born special to be great.