Friday, November 13, 2020

Do you know how to Shim Sham Shimmie?

My Grandmother, dancing on stage in Vaudeville in the 1920's.  She knew how to do the Shim Sham Shimmie

Unless you're a tap dancer or a fan of the soft shoe, you probably don't know how to do the Shim Sham Shimmie.  And for purposes of this blog post, it really doesn't matter whether you know any thing about the Shim Sham Shimmie.  In fact, it's almost better if you don't.

This is where the magic of this creativity prompt comes in.  Just imagine what the Shim Sham Shimmie looks like.  Try it out in your living room.  Oh, and put on some cool shoes first.  Now, create a reason why you are doing the dance.  Is it to impress?  To set the record straight?  To convince some powerful choreographer to let you in the big show?  

This mystery is where story is born.  And it's the name--it conjures up all sorts of ideas.  But it's also the sound and the alliteration that intrigues.  And, when you don't know the answer, this drives the imagination to figure it out.  

This not-knowing pushes your creativity in many directions.  The problem is so often, today, we are impatient to get information, and so we run to Wikipedia and get all our burning questions answered immediately.  But where's the fun in that?  My recommendation is that you slow down, be patient and spend a little time in that place of mystery, not having the answer at your fingertips, but letting your imagination go roaming down the corridors of your mind to find an answer.  The crazier the better.  

So, here's my prompt for today:  Take the word "Bushwa."  Write for fifteen minutes about this word.  You can use it in dialogue or description.  It can be a noun or a verb or an adjective.  Please resist the urge to look it up until after you're done.  Oh, and it is a real word. 

And in case you're wondering why I'm researching the Shim Sham Shimmie, it's because the hero of my novel-in-progress is the only dancer at the Parisian Charm School who knows how to do the Shim Sham Shimmie.   Here's a little video to show you the dance:


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