Dear Stephen Fry,
I am writing to you because of how many twinkles you’ve caused in the eyes of people around the world. I too want to become a mass twinkle creator.
I am a 20 year old Canadian young lady, currently dancing with a professional ballet company. I trained at a professional ballet academy, and boarded there since I was 12. While I was a student, I had this ballet teacher named Vera Timashova- one of the most inspiring, and passionate people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. One of my favourite compliments I ever got from her was when she talked about my shining eyes. She said ‘I see you listening to music, feeling it in your body, eyes shining.’ I saw her eyes well up as she said this to me, and then she started taking me through one of her favourite roles. I watched her intently as she marked through the entire first act of Giselle, playing multiple characters, and explaining her artistic intent at each moment. She was like a child playing an imaginary game in her bedroom, totally uninhibited, bounding around the studio. I was beguiled that my gangly, clumsy, yet passionate 14 year old dancing awakened her artistry, and was inspired by how it spilled out of her. Ever so naturally, we had this beautiful connection. It was spiritual. That’s the only way I can think to describe it.
This spiritual, eye-twinkly feeling is the feeling I live for. It took me a restless teenage-hood of depression and angst to figure this out, but now I feel I can live with more of a direction. I can live my life with the intent of passion as oppose to… I don’t know, acquiring a status or filling my house with people and things that don’t have much meaning to me.
Although dancing is a wonderful outlet for creativity and artistry, some days it is simply hell, especially when you’re moody and self-deprecating like I tend to be. The plight of achieving technical excellence and a picture-perfect image often takes precedence over the pursuit of passionate, selfless expression of movement. During the time when I can’t seem to get out of the latter mindset, I read, and write, and watch QI, in hopes of finding the eye-twinkle in some other medium. I can always count on your Internet presence to spark my imagination, and make me feel… well… alive!
I feel like now more than ever, people of my generation are unknowingly living dispassionately. I find it very difficult to connect to people in the way that I want to. It feels as if media has quietly and systematically diffused some sort of mind-numbing gas over our cities and towns and it’s getting difficult to see each other through the fog. I feel like the people I’m surrounded by don’t feel restless the way I do. If they are upset by something at work or school, they watch some TV illegally on their computers so they can forget what they’re faced with for a few hours. After, they won’t be able to recall what they had just watched. I don’t understand how they get up in the morning and monotonously go through life. They seem so stable in their mindsets, and that mindset seems to help them achieve exactly what is expected of them each day. They never seem to question why they do the things they do. I think it’s because oftentimes they’re afraid they won’t like the answer.
I feel like I’m one of the only ballet dancers of my age that has this unrelenting need to learn and discover. In this way I feel isolated. It seems there are no Emma Thompson’s or Hugh Laurie type figures near me for me to fall in creative love with and explore all my curiosities and ideas. I’m cursed by this restlessness, and that’s intensified by the fact that I am restless alone. I’m never comfortable. I never feel good enough, or smart enough. I feel this way about myself as a dancer, and as a person. I feel like I need to educate myself since a full time education isn’t possible for me in this profession, so I’m always searching for meaningful things to learn, and meaningful relationships with people... meaning, plain and simple, I guess! I also feel like I want to have about ten different careers, and I’m interested in far too many things to have the courage to make decisions and carry some of them out. To truly explore any of those ideas I would have to quit ballet altogether; what I have essentially dedicated two thirds of my life to, the crux of my identity.
I’m thinking that these ideas will come across quite naïve and trite, but I’m 20, and this is just the place that I’m at right now. I know it’s unlikely you’ll find the time to respond to this… but this has truly been a great exercise nonetheless! Writing letters to Steven Frye is a great vehicle of self-help! I should spread the word… If anyone else has any insights to offer, or a connection to what I’ve expressed here, please comment!
Anyways Steven, you’ve enriched my life and helped shape another outlet for my artistry in the creative word. You’ve inspired me in how you approach your life with such a curious spirit, and with such honesty and inhibition. It gives me hope that there are people like you in the public-eye to look up to. In one-way or another, I hope to be someone like that too someday.
Thank you Stephen.
With warm regards and much appreciation and respect,