Lights on in Buenos Aires Thanks to Psyche who recommended it, and Gabriella, who delivered it, ‘The Artists Way’ by Julia Cameron is beginning to set my ‘artist’ free. And the key tool for me seems to be ‘the morning pages’. This is where I sit and write three pages and basically empty my head before I start the day.

Who would have thought that writing three pages of totally uncensored ‘brain dump’ could be so powerful? But my God it is. Out onto that page comes anger, frustration, sadness, joy, nonsense, confusion, prayers, complaints, dreams, beliefs, affirmations, fear, love… all of me. I don’t stop to think. I just write. Yes I am doing all the other exercises too, and they are revealing and helpful. I think that this course has real power to transform. I have more energy. My passion for life burns stronger. My creative lights grow brighter.

A month ago I was feeling very blocked. I had declared my intention to write a transformational book, but it was going nowhere and I had no confidence. I felt I had no good ideas, and nothing to say. I was confused. I felt stuck. My creative soul shrank. I was starting to prefer ghastly Argentine TV to facing a blank page.

Today the TV is off. I have started work on a real book and this time I have greater belief. Twelve months ago I wrote notes for this project but did nothing. Now I have got those scribbles out again and with another year’s experience behind me I am on the case.

I am working on writing a small but ‘essential guide for the tango traveller’ to Buenos Aires, the Sallycat way. After all, who better to do it than me, who came here as a beginner in tango with no knowledge of Buenos Aires, but who survived? Who better to do it than me, who meets and emails with hundreds of tango travellers all over the world who ask me all sorts of questions that I find myself answering over and over again? Who better to do it than me, who has an open mind about all things tango, and will be able to draw on the experience of many friends whose preferences are slightly different to mine? How better to do it than in the Sallycat voice: simple, honest, open?

I am well aware that every tango traveller will craft their own journey here in Buenos Aires, will discover their own tango joy, will have their own adventure, as I did. But oh how I would have loved a little guide I could hold in my hand: to give me some tips before I left home, to be read on the plane, to offer some idea of what to expect, to inspire and motivate, to be agreed with, to be disagreed with, to grant me the feeling that I was not alone. Oh how I would have loved that.

And I hope that you will love it too.

I want the guide book to be small and not overwhelming. I want it to be practical, useful and realistic. It will not consist of long lists of every milonga in town, or of every teacher available. No, no, no… these are available on line and in the Tango magazines. Rather my intention is to gift you an insider’s insight, into where to start and how to get the best possible experience out of your ‘tango holiday’, ‘tango journey’, ‘tango adventure’ in Buenos Aires… from an ordinary tango dancer ‘on the ground’, from one who has been through it recently, from me.

I know what I want to offer in this book. But I am open minded and if you want to tell me what you would like to see, I will listen. I hope to include some ‘Friends’ recommendations’ and so I may contact you for your input. I know I don’t know everything, and I have learned that to ask is the answer, so I will ask. I want the book to be highly regarded in the tango travelling universe. I want the book to be valuable and offer something you cannot easily find in one place, anywhere else. I want to do my best for you guys out there who have yet to arrive in Buenos Aires. So help me if you can.

I have no idea yet, if this book will make it to mainstream publishing, or whether I will self publish it, or whether it will be an ebook. For sure it would be nice if it made me a bit of cash. So far, all the help I have given to tango travellers, I have given from my heart: it costs you nothing, and me a bit of time. I don’t mind that. I love to connect. But life is life and in the end I will be over the moon if I can pay at least one bill a month from selling this book. I hope you will support me by buying it when it arrives.

I am learning that my artist is very vulnerable. It is young, just beginning to grow and needs help to keep flourishing. I have had some fabulous support for this project so far (Tangobaby, I salute your inspiring creativity and thank you and love you), and I pray that you guys out there will support me. If you don’t, and if the book never sells a copy, well that’s ok too. At least I will have tried. And I will have a lovely memento of my own tango travels. With this venture I am going to try to stay unblocked, shut my inner critic up, and just have fun researching and creating. I am passionate about doing this. It is coming from my heart, from a desire to smooth the way for others. It will bring me joy. And as you all know, I believe that if I do the things that bring me joy, God will take care of me. I have nothing to lose.

I remembered in the past few weeks, that once, many many years ago, I was on a ‘personal development’ training course offered to me by my employer IBM. In one of the exercises, which was a wonderful experience involving talking about key joyful moments in our lives, we arrived at our ‘core process’ as they labelled it: perhaps our soul’s purpose, perhaps our heart’s desire, perhaps our reason to live. Writing my ‘morning pages’ brought mine, long forgotten, back to me. Do you know what it was?

Giving my spirit in magical creation

In the moment I remembered it, I cried. I realised that I am actually here in Buenos Aires walking hand in hand with my soul. Twenty years ago this was my ‘core process’ and I had it written on a piece of paper, but back then I was selling computers and feeling very lost: when I read the words, I knew they were me, but I could not see how my life and my soul would ever meet. Now, well… Oh my God. They have. They have actually met. I am in touch with myself. My life reflects my soul’s longing. I am following my heart.

And so I will have a bash at writing this book.

Let me know what you think eh? I can take it and I will love to hear your voices.

Find out more about ‘The Artist’s Way’ and Julia Cameron

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18 comments

  1. caroline’s avatar

    I think it’s an excellent idea. Will share some of my thoughts when I see you next week. :)

  2. elizabeth’s avatar

    Sally, This is a great idea for a very useful book. I think one thing to consider is that people go to Buenos Aires and to the tango scene there with differing goals or needs. One person might be very happy with seeing some great dancers perform or dance at a milonga. A single woman, a young man, people in a couple, will all have individual reasons for being there. You might be general, and sort of cover the basics, or you could have some categories? Just thinking.
    The morning pages! They are so amazing. I just have trouble maintaining the practice over time, but now you have me fired up. Thanks.

  3. tangobaby’s avatar

    “I could not see how my life and my soul would ever meet.”

    Dear Sallycat,

    You are living proof that such a thing is possible and very necessary. Your book idea as you have presented it here, with all of your energy and openness, is wonderful. And it will be wonderful, in as many and all formats that you make it available to the world. I love how you’ve described it and I cannot help but think that many, many people will find it useful. And look, you are already getting suggestions!

    See! It is happening! YOU made it happen.

    I will do what I can to help your further your process and of course I will be buying a first edition for my library.

    Sallycat, keep amazing us.

    xoxo

  4. stilllifeinbuenosaires’s avatar

    Sally–

    I think this is a fabulous idea. I’m glad you’ve unleashed your artist.

    Un beso grande,
    Still Life

  5. Psyche’s avatar

    Oh, hurrah! I’m so pleased.

    A friend of mine at home is currently experiencing an unlocking thanks to another of JC’s books, The Right to Write, and it’s so wonderful to hear her expand. JC’s method really is incredible. I certainly wouldn’t be living the life I am now if it weren’t for the Artist’s Way.

    Some other recommendations while I’m at it, since that one seemed to help: fluentself.com, and comfortqueen.com. I’ve just discovered them, and love them! Neither of them are specific to creativity, but they’re in the slightly wider field of freeing yourself to live the life you want, and supporting yourself while you do it. Great stuff.

  6. Claudia’s avatar

    I’m so happy to hear that your creative soul is unfolding and growing again!
    Your book will be what it’ll be and it’ll be wonderful – and useful. I’m sure it will help loads of people have a better (or maybe just different experience) of dancing and being in BsAs. It’s an intense and sometimes overwhelming (well at least it was for me) place and when I was there last year I sometimes felt I was being dragged through somebody elses (my boyfriend’s) city…and didn’t even start to discover what ‘my’ BsAs would be like (don’t know whether this makes sense). This was partly because I didn’t really know where to start…This time it’s going to be different – and I’m ordering my sallycat guide now (no pressure!!).

  7. Tanguera’s avatar

    I think there could be no one better to write this great guide. I cannot wait all our inspiring, soul-full insights!!!! :)

    Hugs,

    Tanguera

  8. sallycat’s avatar

    Just want to say huge thanks to all of you who have commented and emailed with your thoughts and encouragement.
    Better get on with it then!

    SC

  9. Emily’s avatar

    I am reading this book too Sally! A friend of mine used it to help her write her Masters thesis on something called ‘The Inner Game’ (which is the small ‘inner’ voice we hear telling us we can’t do something…or that it will go wrong…or we’ll look stupid if we do it – the ‘game’ is how we overcome the voice). She found it very useful. I like the morning pages as well. I haven’t started any of the other exercises, but you’ve spurred me on – thanks!

  10. habanera’s avatar

    I am looking forward to seeing your book out and certainly will buy a copy!

  11. sallycat’s avatar

    Hi Emily, hey nice to know you are still reading me!
    Yes ‘the voice’. I know exactly what you mean.
    And those pages are powerful. It’s funny at first I just started the pages only, like I didn’t really want to commit fully to doing the whole thing… but after I realised how powerful the pages were, I trusted more and began the tasks too.
    Mind you those pages are churning up all sorts of stuff! But that’s ok, it is what the author promises and she’s right… so I know I’m no different to anyone else.
    The only hard part for me is the ‘Artist’s date’. Same old story… happy to work work work and deny myself me time and play play play. But even to notice that is interesting, and it is ok. I will get there.
    And so I am sure will you. Hug to England.

    Habanera
    Thank you for your encouragement.
    It means a lot to me and my artist!

    SC

  12. Bob Stein’s avatar

    What is better than a great new book rec? One for a book one already has! And just last night I couldn’t think what to read. Ok, Artist’s Way goes to the top of the pile.

    Thanks for the three-morning-pages idea. You said so much that resonated so deep. My inner artiste lives like an urchin, but I am building her temple. … She’ll see it when she believes it.

  13. sallycat’s avatar

    Hi Bob

    So happy that I may have reminded you to open The Artist’s Way once more.

    As the weeks go by, I am stunned by what this book is helping me to achieve: on the outside I am doing more, writing more, seeing more, and touching more; on the inside I feel invigorated and up for my life, I belief in myself afresh, and I know that I am being blessed with synchronicity that I can’t perhaps explain.

    I am convinced that the morning pages are the key. I have grown to love them. They show me the way.

    I wish you and your inner artiste the most exciting and rewarding of journeys. Mine made me buy a Barbie doll last week. I’m not sure quite why yet, but I’m sure I will find out!

    SC

  14. Bob Stein’s avatar

    Wowee. Reading this book makes me wonder: is anyone not an artist? Isn’t an artist anyone who wants to make their inner world bigger and their outer world better? Who feels as mortal as they dream divine? Is an artist any nutball with angst? Your endorsement is mouth-watering, jaw-dropping good. If you’re wrong I’ll take the delusion as far as I can run with it.

    Because I tinker with everything I love, I’m trying written pages on even days and typed pages on odd days. They feel very different.

  15. sallycat’s avatar

    Hi Bob, yep I have to agree I think this book can benefit anyone!

    I am delighted that you are enjoying the process. I am so grateful that someone recommended it to me in the first place. Follow up endorsements like yours should help keep the baton being passed.

    SC

  16. Bob Stein’s avatar

    Well hello there Ms. Sallycat, you are just an oasis of delight. I look forward to reading more of you.

    There’s an unblocking, renewing feeling to writing with all the filters unplugged and all the inner-editors taking a break. I keep thinking of all kinds of new stuff. I’ve told three people about the T.A.W. book just today.

  17. sallycat’s avatar

    Yep. It’s a good feeling!

    SC

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