Friday, June 9, 2017

Improvising by Debra H. Goldstein

Improvising by Debra H. Goldstein
My calendar for last week was full.  It was going to require careful juggling to be on time for everything scheduled. For some silly reason, I was tired, but I ignored it. Overbooking and multi-tasking is the story of my life.
Then, my son invited me to come to Denver to see him in an improv show. This was the graduation performance for the second improvisation class he’s taken since realizing he’s reached an age where pick-up basketball games can be dangerous to his health.
I almost said “no.”  I had a calendar of excuses – not to mention I doubted I’d be able to find a cheap airline ticket, but because he’d invited me, I knew it was important to him.  More important than anything on my calendar. So, I threw frugality to the wind and bought a Birmingham to Denver ticket.
It was the best thing I could have done. I was only there for four days, but we had some wonderful mother/son time and I was so proud of him – he was darn good up on that stage.
From a word or concept, using the forms he’d learned, he managed to convey ideas and thoughts of common place things through energized sketches that had the audience in stitches.
During the days I visited, we shared meals, went shopping, entertained 30+ of his friends who either wanted to meet me or who I already knew but hadn’t seen for a while, and talked. Nice. What was also nice were the hours of solitude I had while he worked.
I wrote, but not much. Instead, I took advantage of the view from his condo. I stared for hours at the point where the mountains and clouds merged.  I didn’t turn on the television or listen to music, I simply hung. Those hours were as precious as the ones I spent with my son because I gave myself permission to relax without an obligation to do anything.
The days of my visit passed too quickly. I’m home, but my mind remains shrouded in the moments of mindlessness I experienced in Denver. The irony is I’ve resumed my planned schedule with a bounce in my step I didn’t have before I went away. I am re-energized.  My tasks are being done effectively and my mind is as clear as the view I had of the mountains. 

Sometimes, stepping back or improvising let’s one truly be alive.  For a writer, that translates to new and more imaginative ways of working. Too often, writers are so worried about our works in progress that we fail to give ourselves the gift of downtime. The result often is bad writing, stilted thoughts, and frustration. I’m glad I stepped away for a few days because I now am re-dedicated, have a newly found sense of purpose, and am finding it easy to creatively improvise. What a peaceful and wonderful feeling.


  1. well-stated, Debra. So happy for you and your son.

  2. And you gave him the most precious gift of all . . . your time.

    1. playing catch up. Haven't forgotten what we were talking about.

  3. cj Sez: Downtime is second to family time, and you managed both in less than a week. Yay Debra!

  4. What a lovely interlude for you, off the grid in a strange place, with quality family time.