Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Life Trumps Tango

Feelin' proud of my trench...

This blog is two years old today. I went back to check the date of my first post last night and was caught by surprise. I thought it was later in the month.

So, I'm caught and fraught without much to say on this anniversary. I let the first one pass by without fanfare last year, without so much as a mention. I'm not one to brag about visitor statistics, or where all my hits and visitors and readers are around the globe. Visitation is not much to brag about anyway.

I suppose I should look back at the blogging year, like we look back and reflect on our year when our birthday comes around. But it's early in the morning, I need some coffee in me, and I've got to get my day going. Life calls. Life trumps blog. Life trumps tango.

I've been thinking of a post titled "Maturation or saturation?". It will be, or would be, about the maturation process in tango. Our feelings and needs and emotions and goals change with regard to this thing tango in our lives. It would be about how I don't have much to say on the subject of tango anymore. Believe me, I do rack my brain on a daily basis trying to make something shake loose and spill out. But it doesn't.

The stimuli aren't there anymore. I'm not dancing much. I don't attend classes or workshops or festivals anymore. Partly due to nano-economics, but mostly due to the fact that my brain is saturated with past stuff. There is tons of information up there that I've never incorporated into my dance. Changes of direction. Single axis turns. The Fabian and Gustavo volcadas. Tons of stuff. Practice. Practice and conditioning are needed, but that is a subject for another post.

There has been a burst of fairly good discourse on Tango-L of late. But it's all ultimately a bunch of drivel, signifying nothing. So I unsubscribed the other day.

I'm not reading the other tango bloggers' blogs like I should. I'm not playing the Blogger game and engaging with commentary on their posts, nor the tit-for-tat dialog with commenters on my posts. Oh, I forgot. I don't get any comments on my posts. Not like some of the other more profound and eloquent bloggers. Whining is not attractive, dude.

I'm not watching YouTube, or even keeping track of new videos that pop up. Not much these days on YouTube moves me to post them and/or talk about them. I could bitch and moan about the prevalence of white shoes that I am seeing in the videos, but to what end? To put the white tango shoe cobblers out of business? What about my own (never worn) white shoes? How do I explain that? Better to keep my mouth shut on the subject.

I don't write about my local community. I don't nickname and write about the women I dance with. I don't write about what I feel and think, what it feels like, to dance with them. I don't write about technique or teaching or teachers or community building. It's all too close for comfort. Plus, that's just not me to talk about how some woman's hairy mole affects my posture and tweaks my lower back. Oh yeah, there was "Miss Delicious Mons", I almost forgot about her. (Grin)

I don't write about organizers who stage tango workshops, then cancel them, then don't issue refunds. Or at least not timely refunds. It's called wire fraud, a Federal crime, and this is not a tango crime blog. Luckily, these stories are few and far between in our tango world.

I don't write about or review festivals or workshops, because I don't attend them any more. Not that I ever did much reviewing, or was comfortable about what I did review in the past. The one thing I would like to see at future festivals is a green room. I did recently think about an angle on the proliferation of festivals. It seems they must be getting diluted. I even thought about organizing my own milonguero festival in Austin - with no visiting instructors, no performances - just dancing. Tom's mantra - by dancers for dancers. Malevito has a good post on "not" attending festivals.

Come to think of it, I don't write. One of my goals in this blog was to get more practice writing. Actually WRITING. Composing. Editing. Structuring. Literary type bullshit. That went out the window long ago. Pretty much every post has been off-the-cuff extemporaneous. Oh well. I'll write my masterpiece someday.

I ponder my addiction to tango. It "was" my life for mas o menos four years. (Sheesh, I just realized I'm at the five year mark.) Is this the normal tango maturation process? Where it's relegated to the back seat of our lives? Where it becomes about quality and not quantity? Where it becomes more about friendships and good solid connections than festival/milonga hopping to seek out the next tangasm? More about tango the community and the culture and less about tango the dance and the technical. Maturation or simply evolution?

I came out of the end of the tunnel of twenty-five years of married life and had a head-on collision with Argentine Tango. It saved me, I suppose. In a way. It saved me from my own oblivion. The oblivion of continuing on the path of the average white man with absolutely nothing in his life. (Excepting my beautiful, intelligent daughter of course.) I was living the upside-down life in Aspen, Colorado. Lost. Up shit creek without a paddle. Boxed in in a box canyon.

They say that you don't choose tango, that tango chooses you. They say that everyone who comes to tango has something missing in their life. Some key element that tango somehow fulfills, replaces, rejuvenates, substitutes, corrects, satiates, is the thumb-in-the-dike. The answer.

Tango has enriched my life in so many ways. This blog has enriched my life. I've made some great friends through this blog. Friends I look forward to getting to know much better. Friends I have yet to meet. There's the answer I was looking for in this post. Tango, and this blog, have enriched my life.

I have a life. There is true love and laughter in my life. There is growth in my life - where I was stagnant for so many years. There is deep, contented sleep in my life. I have a place on this Earth to finally put down a tap root. I have my health, and someone who cares about it. Thank God. So many people don't have this.

Tango is a part of that. Albeit a smaller part. I'm coming to grips with that these days, but I have a better understanding of what's going on having written this post.

That first post, two years ago, stated that I was going to use this blog simply as an archive for 'cool' tango stuff that I ran across. A repository. It grew into much more. A dear diary. A too-much-information, Alex. A soapbox. A diatribe-unal. Was that a quasi-Freudian slip? A diatribe-urinal? I suppose I'll keep at it, struggling for something to write about, vacillating on an almost daily basis about whether to delete the damn thing.

Nine hundred forty-four posts. In two years. I've already said a lot of what I have to say on the subject of tango. And life. And the universe. You will have to dig deeply into the archives for the good stuff.

Thanks, friends and loved ones and kind readers. Thanks for being here. In this blog and in my life.

Now for that coffee.


tangocherie said...

Hi Alex,

I enjoyed your post this morning--before my coffee!

Thank you for sharing your life and feelings with us so frankly and so well. I hear you. Maybe you've completed the Circle of Tango in record time?

Time will tell, but I definitely think you should hang in there until at least your 1000th post! I'm looking forward to it.


Heidi said...

This was my favorite entry so far! Honestly. Big hug and happy anniversary!

Mtnhighmama said...

I think, Alex,that this is how it is when Tango really IS part of your life. Not an obsession anymore, but integrated.

Anonymous said...

Hi Alex, long time lurker, never poster. Thanks for the blog. It's been on my regular roster for a long long time. I suspect there may be a lot of us!

Thanks for sharing. If I to the Denver fest next year, I'll look for you in the crowd! -ZD

Anonymous said...

Mazel-tov sweetie. And stop fretting so much about what tango is or isn't in your life. It is always THERE. And your relationship with it is forever changing, even on a daily basis.

Mari said...

Mostly just insert what everyone else said here. And then just this - your blog was one of the reasons I started writing about my own adventures in tango. You never know how far your words reach.

Happy Anniversary in what my friends have labeled, "the cult of tango."

Malevito said...

Hi Alex, how are you?

That's a pretty impressive post, especially pre-coffee. In terms of thematic density and the sincere sense of exploration and evaluation I think it's a fitting milestone entry.

It is difficult to keep going, no? Difficult to keep coming up with insights or non-redundant questions, or a freshness of enthusiasm. I know several bloggers who have been on an indefinite hiatus or have explicitly called it quits because the well of inspiration has seemingly dried for them. Which is not to say that they have given up on tango. But perhaps it's because they have come to the point where, to expand on what Mtnhighmama said, tango is no longer the foreign thing they are trying to come to terms with but rather something that has truly become part of who they are. I mean, can you remember when the music was "exotic" to you? How unusual and distinctive the sound of the bandoneón? At this point I'm sure your mind doesn't need to make that shift where it's like, "okay, I'm listening to *tango*." It's all just music now--wonderful, familiar, comforting music. And in the dance, the feeling of such casual proximity with a woman, the embrace, the intuition of weight placement and axis, the cadence, etc., all things that no longer require the thought or effort from untrained sensibilities and muscles. It's all there now--and at this point as Johanna says, it is *always* there. And though there will always be things to explore, try not to get worked up looking for the thing that sparks your interest. Just be open to following it when it happens upon you.

Entonces, saludos para el aniversario!

Elizabeth said...

Alex, I hope you keep writing, and take it to the next (deeper) level of the art and life of tango. I would really miss hearing from you if you quit.
XOXO and see you again,next year for sure.

Taylor0405 said...

Lord...I totally miss you sometimes! Glad that you have found a safe place to fall & are happy & at peace! You look awesome! You so deserve all things good!

El Professor said...

Well Hell, dude, I found you blog by way of googling around and someone had a link to you blog and skimming thru I saw and read most of this post.

Having done some time in Crested Butte, and recently wandering across this tango thing, I find that the tango world seems to me pretty feminist-centric and what's a guy to do if he wants to learn what to do. Of course I'm not talking about the steps of the dance, but the role(s) to play and the possibilities.

I've bookmarked your blog and hope to come back in a couple of weeks for at least a monthly dose of your thoughts. Quality over Quantity my good man. Plus, there is too much good beer and football to be consumed over the next few months to be totally obsessed with a blog on tango. Balance is everything.....

Hang in there.

Nano-economics, I like that. I hope you don't mind if I steal and use.

PS: Plus DUDE! You have all these hot babes responding. Wow...