If you’re on the hunt for your new “third place” or just want to grab a great cup of coffee in a gorgeous garden setting, check out The Grounds at Garden Living in Fayetteville. I recently wrote about the new coffee shop in uptown Fayetteville for Only in Arkansas:
Tucked away in uptown Fayetteville is a lush little courtyard; an urban oasis complete with greenery, blossoms, brightly colored bistro tables and now, coffee. This secret garden of sorts is ensconced behind an iron gate, and hedged in between a flower shop on one side and, on the other, a garden shop that is now home to Fayetteville’s newest destination for coffee.
You would totally make my day if you read the complete article here.
Coffee and cake in the courtyard soon? I heard that they’ve added waffles to the menu too, but that doesn’t exactly fit the alliteration. Who’s up for a coffee date?
Yeah, that would be me. Last night I mustered up my courage and set out to go to an adult ballet class. Can you imagine? I was so nervous about it and I probably changed my mind about going 20 times. I was rushing around trying to get dinner done and then I completely blanked on which dance studio the class was being held at so I was also frantically googling and scrolling through Facebook trying to find the ad for the class again. I was so close to throwing in the towel and staying home.
The thing is, I am writing about a ballerina right now and I knew this class would not only be fun, but also possibly give me a little insight into my character. So I went. I found the right studio and made it right on time. Only when I got there I found out that the instructor had been in the emergency room all day and the class would not be meeting after all. Let me just say that while I was disappointed I was more relieved than anything. “Phew, I don’t have to do this scary thing I drug myself out of my safe, comfortable house to do tonight.” Plus, I hadn’t had a chance to eat any of the dinner I made. However, the owner’s mom was there and gave me two certificates for free classes since I did show up, so that was nice. She told me all about the studio, her daughter, the other instructors and dancers while giving me and the one other adult who showed up a tour of the whole space.
I am still excited for the class for the class’s sake too. To be honest, I have secretly always wanted to be a ballerina. I don’t know how many times people have remarked that I should have been a dancer. I have always been afraid to let myself dance though. One of those things where I feel like I will most certainly fail at this so I’m not even going to try. At this point there is no worry about failing though. Sure, I may look like a fool trying to plié and attempting ballet positions (I don’t know any of the other names for them yet), but there is not a career or a recital or anything really at stake here. It’s just like any other class I might take—I am going with the intent of learning something new. I think that is what is freeing me up to go ahead with the class. Gaining knowledge to help me with my character is really a bonus to that end.
Not to mention, the best things happen while you’re dancing.
This month is National Novel Writing Month or #NaNoWriMo for those in the know. This is my first time to attempt the ambitious goal of writing 50,000 words during the month of November. I am also going to post here every day this month along with the novel writing challenge. I already kicked my writing into gear last month by enrolling in a free online writing class through the University of Iowa. There is a certificate that you can earn, but my main goal for the class was to put pen to paper and actually write instead of just talking about it. My other main goal was to finish one complete work of fiction. So far I am faring well on the first goal, but I have started three separate stories and still have not finished one. The class is still ongoing, and I plan to continue on with it while also working earnestly on the last piece I started.
After writing and posting my first piece for the class, an excerpt about a girl starting a new school in a new town, I decided to pivot and write from a different perspective. Then, I decided I hated all of it and never submitted another writing assignment to the class. I did not want to proceed with either piece. I felt stuck. I needed some inspiration. So on Monday I decided to go explore Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
I started out on the trails because nature is one of my favorite places to find inspiration, plus, I needed the exercise. The morning was still cool when I hit the Tulip Tree Trail and then part of the Art Trail. Though I have walked the trails at Crystal Bridges many, many times, I discovered new things on this particular walk. I could hear the sounds of a construction crew and the occasional kid shrieking, but it was mostly quiet enough for me to immerse myself in the natural surroundings. I could hear the creek flowing, leaves falling down from the trees and the crunch of the rocky path beneath my feet as I walked along. I felt inspired almost immediately and decided to come back to the the Tulip Tree Trail Shelter with my notebook to write. However, when I got back to the car to get my notebook, I was suddenly thirsty so I went inside the museum in search of water.
What happened next was pure serendipity. I found that the current temporary exhibit on display is titled, “The Art of the American Dance.” I had a new character forming in my mind already that just happened to be a ballet dancer. I had not written a word of her story at this point, but she was there in my mind. I forgot all about the water I came in to find and walked up to the Guest Services desk, paid $10 to view the new collection (Though there is no cost to visit the permanent collection at Crystal Bridges, there is a fee to view the temporary collections. However, you can visit this collection for free on Thursdays from 5-9 p.m.), picked up a headset and went directly to the gallery.
I have always just walked through the galleries on my own without a guide or an app to tell me about the art. I do recommend using the app (or one of the handsets you can check out) for this particular collection though. It really added to the experience because you are able to not only look at the art, but also see videos of the dances portrayed in the artwork, hear more about the time period the artwork is from, and listen to the music that would have been played. They even have a Spotify playlist you can listen to featuring some of the major dance songs from the 1940s to now. It would have been fun to listen to beforehand to get in the spirit, but I am enjoying it afterwards too. There is also this great playlist on YouTube to watch dance videos from Fred & Ginger, Beyonce, Swan Lake, Singing in the Rain, Westside Story, Elvis and many I have never even heard of before.
Once I had toured the entire exhibition, I grabbed a cup of soup and some water at the museum restaurant and got to work. I filled several pages of my notebook before leaving the museum. I hope to share some of my story here someday soon!