From: Sanford Lung, Honolulu
Having read all of your novels, I congratulate you on your excellent writing and encourage you to carry on to the next. I especially enjoyed your description of the aikido experience. I excerpted it for a friend, who is a 7th dan and sensei in a couple of dojos in Honolulu. He fairly beamed, saying that you get it.
I'm delighted to hear it. I practised aikido here in Seattle for a little while, until my MS made it difficult. Then I switched to yoga--less dangerous if, in the middle of a move, my nervous system shuts down. Which happened once at aikido: I got thrown and instead of neatly rolling to my feet as I'd done a thousand times before, I lost all coordination and just...crashed. It was awful. Oh, no permanent damage, but it shook me. I mean, I knew how to fall and I'd crashed. It was like forgetting how to breathe; like waking up to find the sky green.
But I loved aikido, loved the flow, the sense of skin taste between two people, that feel of another's cellular hum, that electricity that we usually only feel (at least I do) during sex, the give and take, the harmony and joy of it all.
It's interesting to be working now on a novel where there will be no martial arts. It's set in the seventh century, and the main character grows up to be an abbess, not a shield maiden. She doesn't fight; she doesn't see the world in those terms at all. Pretty strange after spending so many years in Aud's head.