I promised myself that I would start blogging about my silver muse, Byrne Miller, by the end of this week. (the previous two entries were trial runs by my talented web designer Carla Holzer) And now it’s Friday – time is running out. I’ve been procrastinating, nursing a cold as an excuse. And then I remembered the person I’m blogging about. Nothing so plebian as a common cold would have held her back.
In fact, the one saying I remember most of all was one I didn’t fully understand for years.
“Life is hard to bear: but do not affect to be so delicate! We are all of us fine sumpter asses and assesses.”
I had never heard of Neitzsche, let alone his writings. This 80-something-year-old modern dance pioneer had to explain that sumpter asses was another term for beasts of burden. She used those words to bolster her confidence and take on challenges that would have crushed most ordinary people. She fought on through her daughter’s mental illness, her other daughter’s death by a drunk driver, her husband’s Alzheimers, and her own physical battles with cancer, spinal injuries, blood clots and finally blindness. Life was indeed hard, and she was never delicate.
It’s not that she didn’t notice or care about setbacks. And she certainly made time to comfort others when they needed comforting. It’s just that she had so much to get on with! I couldn’t even fit it all in one book, the memoir I’m writing about my relationship with her. So “Womenisms” is a chance to fill in the gaps, give you the backstory. If anyone reading this knew Byrne, please share your comments. She’s priceless and timeless.