One of my basic beliefs about creating art from the heart has been proved true, right here on this blog: if you do what you love and put it out in the world with good intention, you are rewarded a million times over, in ways you could never have imagined.
When I wrote the post The milongueros I love – The Gift (Part 1), a week ago, I knew that it had come from my heart. No question. It poured out in a few hours of intense (up all night writing) activity, and I was powerless to stop it. When I hit the ‘Publish’ button, I knew I’d written a cracker (cracker to me, meaning, my truth, in a language the world might understand and be entertained by). Question was though, Would people be inspired enough to comment on the post and share their experience? In my three and a half years of blogging, I have learned that it takes a fair bit to get a reader commenting on a blog for the first time. Yes, your friends and family might comment, but people you’ve never met, or people who don’t normally comment on blogs, or who don’t blog themselves? It can be a bit trickier to hook them. But, I wanted your feedback. Sallycat, be bold, I said to myself. Ask, and maybe you will receive. I did, and oh boy, I did.
In the three days after I published the post, thanks to your emailing, Twittering, Facebook-ing and posting, it was read around 1000 times, and over the period of a week I received emails, messages and comments galore. I’m not talking one liners either. You sent me essays (often extremely personal and moving), some of which I yet have to digest. Incredible. I spent hours replying to all your generous shares, and I am still doing so. Basically, I couldn’t blog until now, because I’ve been overwhelmed by feedback and I’ve ended up writing almost a book in replies, myself!
Bloggers have kindly blogged as a follow up to the post, and one was even inspired to write a poem entitled, The Older Woman (ah, I may be 47, but I can still inspire a man I’ve never met to write from his heart…). Check out Tango Beat for the poem, and Tango Commuter and Accidental Tangoiste for mentions of my post. Thank you guys and girls. And, if you blogged on the theme and linked to my post, and I didn’t spot it yet, please comment and tell me, and I’ll add you here.
If you haven’t already, do read the 67 comments (at Monday 17th May 2010) written here. There is some amazing stuff, and to be honest, I’m not yet quite sure where it is going to take me. One lovely theme that emerged was how we show to our partner (knowingly or unknowingly) that we have given or received the gift – and just to clarify, to my mind, the gift is elicited (often via the behaviours I mentioned in my post) and received by men, and given by women. Joe Tango surprised and delighted me with his knowledge of ‘the giggle’ – Where are you man? Come to Buenos Aires and dance with me! On Saturday a milonguero asked me why I was laughing as we pulled apart. I explained the word ‘giggle’ to him. After that he insisted on calling me Sally Giggle (or rather, Saleh Gigul, pronounced in lovely Castellano-style), and he giggled a lot too; see Joe Tango, you comment on some chica’s blog, and your spirit ends up with her, on the dance floor of La Leonesa, Buenos Aires, on a Saturday night… I mean to say, I’ve always giggled, and milongueros have always asked me about it, but this time, fired up by the discussions here, I was moved to pop the word ‘giggle’ into their vocabulary. Wonderful!
Another intriguing theme, and perhaps the crux of it all — in terms of whether this ability to elicit the gift and thus to experience even more bliss himself, can be taught or encouraged in a man, or whether it can only develop naturally over time — was the business of how much a woman can influence the man’s ability to receive the gift: he has so many things to think about in the early days of developing his dance, said a few folk, and yes, of course they are right. I’m interested to know, though, how many men in the very early stages of learning to dance tango have actually stopped dancing (and so removed all those distractions), in a safe environment, and simply hugged (or, OK, if hugging seems a step too far, embraced very closely) the woman in their arms, as a piece of tango music they both absolutely love, plays… and if they have, what have they felt? If they did that, could they gain a glimpse of the bliss to come further down the line, and so become more inclined to worship the Goddess of tango gifts, rather than fall at the feet of the God of tango moves? Food for my thoughts.
Then there is the all round matter of what, if anything, can be done to tear down the walls of ego and social conditioning within both men and women, in order that they can shed the blocks to giving and receiving the gift. This is the point that fascinates me. I remember how horribly awkward I felt in my first close embrace. My British reserve? Not a touchy-feely type? Not at ease in such close proximity to a man? More of a tomboy than a woman? Ego-driven anxiety about doing it wrong? I’m thinking about all that too.
The long and short of it, is that I’m not ready to write Part 2 yet, although perhaps this is a kind of Part 2 in itself. The creative process is one I am slowly getting used to, and for me, periods of ‘cooking of ideas’ are required; the cauldron has to bubble for a while.
Meanwhile, here’s a sneak preview of the magic stuff most recently conjured up by my creative process — my first book, Happy Tango: Sallycat’s Guide to Dancing in Buenos Aires. I cannot tell you how excited I am to show you this – the front cover (click here to see it)! Everyone is asking me, When can we buy it, have it, see it, read it, touch it? The answer is, I hope with all my heart, in June. I am willing The Universe to make it so. Please help me by doing the same. I will post news, as soon as I have it! I am longing to touch it too.
Once again, I thank you for sharing your tango experiences with me. Without you lot, all the people I’ve met through tango, there’d be no book, and no tango magic at all. Here’s to us. Tango dancers who seek bliss, wherever we are in the world. People, we rock!
Photo of Me and C. giggling in La Glorieta, with thanks to Julie-Anne Cosgrove.