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Today, two dear friends of mine met me at a coffeeshop to revive our improv writing group. This is not “improv” like acting but writing. One of us prepares or proposes a prompt, then we write like the Furies for a timed number of minutes, then read aloud what emerged to each other.

My brain and hand almost always surprise me.

Sometimes it flows, other times, not. But mostly, something interesting comes out.

Today, it was clear why we three do this with each other. After hearing our first attempts, I said, “Our edges fit.” We have very different styles, but somehow, sometimes, our stories fit together like one story.

Earlier in the day, I made a meme for my book’s Facebook page, with a quote from a friend who had meant it as caution and solace. “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.” It’s the featured photo for this post. (You can see on the Facebook page itself here.)

My improv gals and I discussed it during the catch-up beginning of improv, enough that it became our first prompt. And, true to the past, what popped out of my mind onto the page was a surprise. I began making it into a scene, a conversation, but then crossed it out. And another voice took over. Here it is. Enjoy.

The Circle

“Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.” So the sages say.

But does this work? In real life, I mean.

Is it Truth? Is smooth always fast?

I get it, I do. It’s a circle, and we should go slowly with no thought of speed or results or effort.

I think it’s bullshit.

And I told him so.

You see, we read this assuming its reverse, that smooth is slow. That going slow is always smooth.

Which is bullshit.

What about bulldozers? Planes? Anything that cuts through the air?

I once went hang gliding. I thought it would be peaceful and fun and quiet and…well, peaceful.

Instead, I no longer fear turbulence in airplanes; because holy hell, it was loud and rough and even felt violent, like we were actually cutting the air as we flew–because we were!

Not slow.

Not smooth, though it looked that way from the ground.

And that’s it, of course. Go fast, and smooth looks slow…but only from the ground.

When you fly, whether in the air or on the ground or through life, fast is not always smooth and smooth is not always slow.

Quite the opposite, if you want to fly.

And that’s what I told him.

slowly smoothly

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One thought on “The Circle

  1. Well, in my chosen sport (auto racing), smooth is fast because not smooth upsets the car. It has to do with maximizing the friction circle at all times, which is easier to demonstrate that write about.

    I guess the “slow is smooth” is about the control inputs (steering wheel, brake and accelerator). Those have to be “relatively” slow for the result to be smooth.

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