Susan's Blog

Thursday, February 7, 2008


As I’ve said before, the very first Middle Eastern song I ever really liked, or ever really noticed, was the Misirlou. I first heard it over a year ago, when I began taking classes with Melina, my current Wednesday night teacher. Misirlou is a very old Greek melody, but one that has been interpreted over and over in many different iterations, one of the most recent being from the movie Pulp Fiction. Misirlou was the very first song I choreographed for myself, the first song I danced to with my own vision of movements.

I found out from Melina last night that Misirlou means, “Muslim Egyptian Girl,” and it is a song about a Greek man who longs for a forbidden love, with a girl he cannot have, from another culture.

2006 and part of 2007 were tough years for me. Despite the success of the book — or maybe in part because of it — I learned some pretty hard lessons, and had some difficulties getting myself together. In early 2007, though, I joined my gym, and found a new release to some of my anguish by exercising in the bright, wide open, sunlight-filled space up there. What completed this new passion was my iPod shuffle, which had both Misirlou and Pump It, by the Black-Eyed Peas, which I had gotten from Max. Pump it reminded me of Max only, not anything bad that had happened to me, and when it came on my shuffle, I would just explode with energy and thoughts of beautiful Max, one of the best things that ever happened to me. (I look at him in total wonder sometimes, like “How can someone as incredible as you actually be from me?” We don’t talk a lot these days, but when I do check in with him, I still have that same, deep comfort and ease that I had with him even as a newborn.)

I had Max make Pump It my ringtone. I don’t know how he did it. It is exactly the way it sounds on the shuffle. I was thrilled. Pump It began to be my guiding light, my way out, whether it was a dreary winter’s day and a slow work-out, or a more nefarious depression.

One day, Pump It came on right after the Misirlou. I had a flash of recognition: the bass guitar of the main theme was the same, just sped up! (Maybe this is obvious to some of you, who have actually seen Pulp Fiction and heard the surfing version of Misirlou, but to me, it was a revelation.)

The other day, I played the classic, George Abdo Misirlou for my Baby Bellies. It was the first song that they actually asked to hear again. I began to have an idea. With the help of one of my Baby Bellies, we all bit-by-bit came up with a choreography that they could follow, set to the Misirlou. On Tuesday I wrote it down and that afternoon I went over it with them.

They actually practiced it four times.

People stopped to watch us, delight apparent on their faces. The BBs were listening to me, and working off each other, helping one another remember what came next and how to execute each move. “Now we do the flower thing, now it’s the flower into the middle of the circle!” or “Now we go in a line!” or “Now we spin, pedal turn!”

We are going to perform for the parents at the end of the session. Maybe the staff in the office, too. My first production. Once again, I come back full circle, to the Misirlou, a sad song about love and things that cannot be; it has snaked its way into my subconscious and brought me to a new place of joy where I discover new loves and new things that absolutely can be.


Music is very powerful – brass band music pumps me up, Talking Heads makes me drive faster, and Cake (the band, not the confection) is good any old time. I’m so glad your BB’s are in the groove you’ve laid out for them.

You and Ned have produced all kinds of great things, just thank God one of them knows how to program things.


— added by Anonymous on Thursday, February 7, 2008 at 4:56 pm

I gotta see those belly babies! They sound incredibly sweet. I’ll have to show you my misirlou choreography with veils, you’ll dig it.

— added by Melina on Thursday, February 7, 2008 at 10:48 pm

Regarding your post, “Over”, which looks like you deleted:

You never know who is out here reading. You never know who you’re helping by just writing. Writing about the struggles especially. It helps us feel not so alone.

— added by Anonymous on Friday, February 8, 2008 at 8:34 pm

There’s a fantastic band in my area that you may like to know about: the Reptile Palace Orchestra. Here’s a link to one of my favorites of their albums, with a very mysterious and magical Misirlou on it: .


— added by Gloriana Beausoleil on Wednesday, February 13, 2008 at 1:32 pm

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