Sallycat’s Adventures has been quiet this summer, I know. Stuff happened that, on the face of it, didn’t seem to fit with a blog, originally written from Buenos Aires, that aspires to climb to the giddy heights of inspiring others to live their dreams.
My UK family has found itself up close and personal with the (pretty grim at times, and especially so for my mum who has undergone surgery to build a new tongue from part of her arm) realities of oral cancer. Somehow, it seemed just too much to expect readers to leap from tango connections of a blissful kind, freshly-published tango guide books and dancing for joy in Buenos Aires, to the National Health Service (impressive though it has turned out to be), intensive care units, and the gruelling side effects of thirty-three days of daily radiotherapy to the mouth and neck, and the accompanying chemo treatments. Know what I mean?
And yet I do find blogs that drift away into the ether with fewer and fewer posts a little distressing. When the updates stop, I ponder over the authors. Have they got writer’s block? Have they lost their passion for the subject they once championed? Or, have they changed their whole life philosophy/direction and can’t bring themselves to come clean? And of course, perhaps most importantly, Are they OK? I don’t want you to be wondering those things about me. So, whatever the circumstances, I’ll briefly share with you where I (Tango dancer. Writer. Adventurer.) am in the light of finally (and, oh how fortunate I am that I’ve been given until the age of 47 to discover it) being faced with the truth that neither my loved ones, nor I, will actually live forever.
I’m in England, in the town where I was born. I’ve been here through late-spring alliums into late-summer dahlias and this week, as I walked into town along the bank of the River Severn, I held out my hand to try to catch falling leaves. After four months in Shropshire, supporting us all with his guardian-angel-calm presence, my beloved C. is now back in Buenos Aires. We are lovers, life partners and soul-mates of the most profound kind and we will fill each other’s arms again within weeks we hope, but for now, we are unexpectedly but necessarily apart, connected every day by Skype, and every instant by the powerful knowledge that closeness is certainly not about distance.
Whenever I don’t write to you on this page, it’s usually because I’m considering stuff that I’m not yet ready to tell, or it’s because I’m having to turn my attention elsewhere. This summer its been a combination of both, and in all honesty, with what’s happening with my Mum and the fact that I have temporarily spun from full-on tango dancer, writer and adventurer into eldest daughter, big sister and chief carer, I’ve temporarily lost the personal resources and hours in the day required to blog my heart out about my life journey, even if it is in the interests of inspiring others to Go for it! That’s why there have been no updates here for over a month, and why I can’t promise that there will be more any time soon.
I just don’t want you wondering about my silence. And, if my silence continues for a while, this post is by way of explanation.
My mum’s cancer is teaching me many things, most of which (like in my case, before this happened) you wouldn’t want me to tell you (it’s a human self-preservation thing). But, hey, when it all kicks off unexpectedly and you feel aspects of your own life shrink as if to fit inside a 60ml syringe or put on hold because you need to do your bit for someone you love now, you sure as hell become doubly happy that you did indeed go after your own dreams while you had the chance.
On that subject, the journey of my book Happy Tango, has been a gleam shone into the gloom of too many hospital days and I want to say a huge Gracias to every one of you who have supported me in my efforts to make Happy Tango the classic tango guide book that I, and many of its readers, believe it deserves to be. If you have already bought it, I thank you. If you have given it a great review, I thank you. If you have interviewed me, I thank you. If you’ve ‘Liked’ or ‘Shared’ the book’s Facebook page, I thank you. If you have recommended the book to a friend or a student or a teacher or a community of tango dancers, I thank you. Please keep doing it all!
One thing. When spreading the word, do remember that Happy Tango is not any old ordinary guide book destined to go out of date without a thought for its reader. It’s a guide book with its very own Updates Blog! As changes happen on the ground in Buenos Aires between editions of the book, the Updates Blog will aim to keep readers up to date with major ‘need to knows’. So far there have been updates on Práctica X, El Amague, Tango Brujo and GretaFlora. The book’s Facebook page will publish news, sometimes even faster than the Updates Blog can (as in the case of milonga Loca! last weekend), so do please click here to visit the page and ‘Like’ it (by clicking the ‘Like’ button at the top) to get notice of all the updates direct to your Facebook feed. Be part of the Happy Tango community. Comment on posts and share with other readers. Make sure you stay in touch!
If you’ve enjoyed the book already, or if you don’t fancy investing in it for yourself (!), here’s a suggestion. If you are buying a Christmas gift for a tango dancer this year, then why not make it my guide book? In fact, if you need to buy any kind of gift for any fan of any kind of dance at all, then Happy Tango could be just the thing! Let’s face it, the fabulously entertaining Strictly Come Dancing is on our UK screens again, and Strictly’s Vincent and Flavia will be touring with their own tango show Midnight Tango in 2011, so (in the UK at least) what could be a more topical present than a book that aims to help turn fantasies of dancing the real thing, Argentine tango in Argentina, into reality?
So that’s it. Where I am. For now.
I’m sorry I haven’t been able to write to you for a while. I just haven’t really known what to say. Thanks Christine in LA for commenting on my last post today, and reminding me not to disappear completely without a word.
I have learned, on my journey to Buenos Aires and beyond, that it’s more joyful to keep gaps, changes and separations, whether temporary or not, upbeat. A light and easy, See you soon, works well for me. That way, there’s far less drama and a lot more hope. So, for now, I’m going to stick with smiles, and leave you with Me and my Dad and my darling C. larking about, a few weeks ago, just off the A1 (M) in northern England, in the company of the biggest angel I have ever seen.
May guys like him protect you and me and my Mum until we meet again.
Keep flying towards your own dreams my friends, and I’ll see you soon!
Buy Happy Tango: Sallycat’s Guide to Dancing in Buenos Aires, and start flying towards your own tango adventure in Buenos Aires, today!
Click a link to buy Happy Tango from:
BookDepository.com (the Book Depository offers free shipping to many countries). If you prefer to buy from your bookstore, then you should be able to get them to order you a copy, wherever you are in the world. Ask for:
Author: Sally Blake
Published by: Pirotta Press Ltd
Publication date: 30 June 2010
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