Lately I’ve been toying with the idea that certain characteristics of a person can travel independently of the host. A person’s love for gardening, for example, can leave that person to inhabit and inspire another person and that it is not necessarily dependent upon the original host expiring.
I present my Uncle Arthur’s love of dancing as proof. He was always a hit at weddings. My five sisters raved about his ability to lead them in a dance in spite of his old age. One February I was overcome by an incredible urge to learn how to dance; my uncle died the following April just before his one hundredth birthday.
Many of my passions were born after a relationship with someone who had a similar passion. You can say these are examples of learning but I think there is something else at work here, that the passion is an entity capable of moving from one person to another, that it, in effect, has a life of its own and that maybe, our entirely reality is not one of free will, rather, it is a symphony of passionate performances being played out on a universal stage. We are not the audience in this scenario, we are the props.
In my first book, River Tango, I employ the use of a ghost to help the protagonist to understand what is happening to him. I believe ghosts are real; they are not necessarily the remnants of another person, rather, they may be a creation of our own mind, a representation of another person influenced by a passion that has made its way into our brains. Seeing a ghost is often a personal experience, not shared by groups of people because it is something we create on our own.
What has all this got to do with tango? Well, I’ll tell you. Tango is the laboratory where I conduct all my experiments. It is the means by which I meditate upon a specific idea and that idea is a woman’s passion. I can feel it when I am dancing with her as well as the passions of the other dancers in attendance. It is something I struggle to explain through my stories which have not brought me literary success but have given me a place to proclaim my findings.
My latest book, The Tango Doctor, was inspired by an encounter with one of these passions at a milonga. A woman was dying and I believe her passion for tango had left her body for that of another woman whom I ran into on the street outside the dance hall. She was with another lady and telling her about an odd emotion she was experiencing these past few weeks. She said she would cry when she danced and she couldn’t understand why. The only explanation she could come up with was tango.
The woman who was dying was at the dance but not in the same room. One lady I knew went to visit her and returned an hour later, her eyes bloodshot and tearing. There was so much passionate energy in the dance hall that it was burning a hole into my brain, searing an image of the event which I could not let go of until I wrote about it.
That lady is gone now but her love for tango lives on in the body of another. How strange that is that I got to witness it happening? Where have all her other passions gone, I wonder.
There is life after death but it is not the singular one religions try to sell us. Parts of us are gone long before our last breath leaves our body. We may even wind up as a leaf in the forest still inspired by the passion that makes us dance as seen in the video linked below: enjoy:)
For more on my thoughts on tango check out my latest books: