It takes two to tango, but what happens when you’re having trouble finding a second? This is the question that’s dealt with in the literal sense by Nancy Green in “On paying for it: Ten cents a dance (adjusted for inflation)”, which was recently published on Salon. The essay talks about the night Green paid her teacher to dance with her, after experiencing frustration over trying to find a partner in a tango environment where there are more women than men. She describes various types of tango throughout the piece:
The Argentine tango is a deceptive dance. From the outside, it can look like an intimate conversation that, once started, is best finished off the dance floor. Deeply woven in each other’s arms, lips brushed up against a cheek, and with its leg-entwining antics, you’d think the tango was all sex. What makes it so intoxicating, though, is that the tango is really an inside job — a hypnotic, dancing meditation. The goal, and then the pleasure, is to dance as one, to tango’s time-honored steps, to be so merged that the separate self is abandoned.
Nancy Green keeps about blog about learning to tango called Nancy Learns the Tango, but this particular piece was developed in Nicole Kear’s Writing Your Memoir course. Green also wrote a testimonial to the great time she had in that class:
Even at 59, the first day of school was as terrifying as it was exciting. The fear lasted for but a minute…well…maybe for 15 minutes.
Nicole, in her delightful and insightful way, and through example, discussion, homework, writing prompts and critique, lead us down the revealing path of how to craft a personal essay or memoir. As it turns out, it’s not so scary. I learned so much from Nicole, and from my fellow classmates. I’d even crafted an essay during the course that was possibly ready for the big time.
I researched publications that accepted personal essays, sat up straight in my chair, dusted off my wits, made a few grammar and punctuation corrections, and hit send.
A month later, I sent a kind reminder to the handful of publications. I heard back almost immediately from an editor at Salon who thanked me for the “nudge” and said she’d love to publish the piece. This was a Thursday morning and the essay made its prime-time-digital-debut the following Sunday.
The course Writing Your Memoir is being offered this fall, along with a slew of other classes that will allow you to hone your writing skills, no matter your age or dance style: