Writing saved me in Jerez, ... And then it got in the way.

Today I want to talk about how writing can become, well, detrimental in class.

Yes, detrimental

I'll begin with another excerpt from my notebook:

April 19, 2011

Mercedes scolded me once again in class this morning, calling me back out onto the dance floor. Clearly I was to be dancing, not writing.

Yes, once again, Laura and her book has come up.  It comes up a lot.  No one else writes anything down in Jerez.

They don't get me, I know, but I totally don't get them either!

"Es que ella siempre está escribiendo en esa libreta," Mercedes said to the class later as I was, but again, with pen in hand, frantically trying to write down which arm went where and with which foot. "No sé que escribe pero siempre está allí escribiendo." 

She must think I'm the strangest student in the world. To her I must be all about paper and notes.

Especially after the paper raining incident...

You see later in the day during clase de castañuelas, where the book rarely comes out, (as you can imagine writing with castanets on isn't the easiest thing in the world to do) my clothes literally began raining paper. Sticky notes to be exact.

We were warming up, and I noticed in the mirror that my chest looked funny, so I pulled at my top to see what was going on when a sticky note fell from the bottom of my shirt and fluttered onto the floor in front of me.

Naturally it caught Mercedes's eye. Nothing goes by unnoticed in her class.

"Y qué pasa con esto Laura?" she asked.

Oh my goodness.

Por Díos! What is up with this chica and all of her papers and notes?" she must wonder.

So I then had to explain how I had stuck the note to myself earlier so as not to forget that I wanted to ask Maite something before class began. (the best way to get to Portugal) I knew that if I didn't stick it to myself I would forget.

Needless to say, the note served its purpose.

So, the thing is this

Writing helps me to learn.

I love it.

It is a great tool.


I think I got a little carried away with the whole writing thing that time in Jerez.

At times I became so obsessed with jotting things down, with recording stuff, that I didn't allow myself to fully be there.

I was getting in my own way of really being in class

Looking back, I may have been in too many classes, or just expecting too much of myself. I certainly felt overwhelmed, and this note-taking was one method of making things seem doable. I was helping myself, but I was also getting in my way.

I won't stop writing.

Oh no,

And I won't stop using writing to help me with flamenco.

But less of it when I'm in a class or workshop is a good thing.

Allowing my body to be fully present without the distracted and anxiety-inducing feeling of needing to write everything down.

Giving myself the opportunity to remember things in a different way.

Trusting myself a bit more.

Trusting my body a bit more.

And reflecting a bit more after class.

That is what I'm thinking.


The (sixth) FlamencoTour happens this spring.  Let's go to Jerez and drive Mercedes crazy by taking lots of notes in class! (Kidding) Though I will be taking some little books for sure.  

Your turn

What do you think? How has writing helped you or gotten in the way of your learning? What methods do you employ to help you remember things from class? Leave a comment here.

You might also like:

An Interview with Bailaora Mercedes Ruíz

I Have a Secret

It Wasn't Like My Fantasy

It's Never Too Late To Do What You Want


This is a reworking of this.

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