|La Recoleta - Buenos Aires|
I write a blog, 5160 to date, but I am not a writer. At one time when I was not only taking photographs for periodicals I was getting paid a dollar a word. But I am not a writer. It is not my gig.
But this caught my eye today in an interview with novelist Tana French in my NY Times today. I have read three of her novels. I am a fan.
…for the last few months, French has been struggling to write. She’s too anxious about the state of the world.
”I’ve realized how much of this gig is your subconscious, and my subconscious, like everybody else’s in the world is a smoking crater right now, “It’s all used up by dealing with what’s going on around us and trying to process it.”
So while writing is not my gig, writing my daily blog has been a slog these last months. I worry about feeding my-not-too-well Rosemary; I stare at the ceiling while contemplating our two orange and white sibling cats; and I try to remain sane while reading about a circus cat (el gato calculista) who can count in Julio Cortázar’s Rayuela. I believe that anything by James Joyce or William Falkner is simple in comparison to this “contranovela” as Cortázar called it when he published it in 1963. The novel unsettles me but then I am living in unsettling times.
My wife tells me, “Do something. Go to your oficina and write some blogs. You are driving me crazy.”
With the pandemic pretty well eliminating local theatre and concerts, I find that I do not want to listen to YouTube or much less what friends send me in links with no explanations. We are living a time when content (newspaper content is one example) has all but disappeared.
The ushering in of the internet devalued heretofore romantic/lovely
words. As an example there was, “Visit our web page, Vancouver Garbage
Department”. With pandemic visits in
persons all but gone, that early internet word has become central to my
understanding how far we have gone in social interaction. It has been devalued.
One of the most beautiful words in English, to share, is even more beautiful in Spanish, “compartir”. The idea of the word (my opinion) is con- with and partir- break comes from Christ breaking bread with His disciples. That act in the New Testament has these lovely words, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
Now particularly those in social media go to some sites that have music videos, jokes, posters, and then they “share” them without much of an explanation. “This song by Frank Sinatra is my fave.” There is no explanation on why. This sharing lacks context and more important (my view) in content.
Here goes and explanation:
My fave Ástor Piazzolla is Milonga del Ángel.
I can leave it at that or I can proceed with personal content.
In 1966 when I was in my native Buenos Aires, Piazzolla was the centre of controversy. Those who were classic tango lovers (my first cousin Jorge Wenceslao de Irureta Goyena) pointed out that nobody could dance to this “Nuevo Tango”. This was patently not true as I learned (many years later to dance to Piazzolla). In tango the man (who is in charge as in fly fishing and perhaps no other activity) can stop or pause while dancing at will. The partner (no longer having to be a woman in this 21st century) then has to adapt and stop, too. Piazzolla pieces lend themselves nicely to this method of imposing one’s manliness!
My first cousin and I had many arguments but pragmatically we navigated to other subjects like the wonders of his native state of Corrientes.
It was in that year that I fell in love with a lovely Argentine woman even though with my short Argentine Navy haircut I looked even less attractive than I really am. We went to a party in the neighbourhood of Martínez one Saturday. Susy, was hip on new music so she had persuaded me to buy two tickets to a performance of Astor Piazzolla downtown on Calle Florida. When it was time for us to leave she told me that she was having too much fun and that she was going to stay at the party. Melancholic beyond words I waited for the train at the Martínez station. It was a sad evening and I seemed to be the only person on the platform.
At the theatre (Teatro Florida, now gone) I sat down and the seat next to me was empty. She was not there. The concert began and Piazzolla’s tangos made me go further into depression. The Argentine tango can do that nicely. Then the group began this lovely piece called La Milonga del Ángel. Suddenly I felt a slight pressure on my right hand.There she was. During a lull she whispered into my ear, “I could not let you be here alone. I thought you would miss me."
Perhaps that is not great content. But it is content.
My grandmother showered me with all kinds of Spanish advice, sayings and I did not know then that many of her aphorisms came for Cervantes. It seems that Sancho Panza was full of them.
There is one such advice that my abuelita often gave me:
Saludar con sombrero ajeno. (to greet with someone else’s hat).
This is what social media sharing is all about.