I'm traveling to the heart of Mexico soon...
And, I'm excited!
There are literally hundreds of reasons to go! Like, for example, the bounty of writers, poets, playwrights, comedians, documentarians, journalists, editors, publishers, agents and artists who will meet, mingle and collaborate at the 7th Annual San Miguel de Allende Writers Conference, beginning February 16th.
Nevertheless, like all seasoned procrastinators, I put off booking the trip...until last week, that is, when I landed on Laurie Gough's travel essay, "Think in Colors." I was immediately seduced by the scents, flavors, textures and, yes, colors that triggered my own memories of sun-drenched days and music-filled evenings far away from the daily grind.
Imagine my ability to overcome my serial stalling after Gough's captivating intro:
"To describe the magically eclectic high desert town of San Miguel de Allende, think in colors. As the morning sun peeks over the Sierra madre, the 470-year-old town begins to glow: the towering spires of La Parroquia church in the center of the town blaze fairytale pink; houses along the winding cobbled streets shimmer saffron, tomato red, ochre, butternut, mango; massive jacaranda trees fill the skyline with shocks of purple; canopies of bougainvillea drip fuchsia down the alleyway; a blue doored bakery floods the street with aromas of freshly baked bread; multitudes of long-necked egrets explode out of the trees like white shooting stars; street vendors sell mixed cups of color—pink watermelon, orange papaya, yellow pineapple, all mixed with sprinkles of green lime. Hallucinatory murals of animals and humans splash buildings; walls graced with vibrantly painted frescoes—fantastical visions of Mayan poems and wild creations—bleed color all over the street.
And this is just early morning."
Laurie Gough is author of Kite Strings of the Southern Cross: A Woman's Travel Odyssey and Kiss the Sunset Pig (www.lauriegough.com). You can meet Laurie at the conference this year, or even work with her in the Travel Writing Workshop she's teaching!
And, there are many other appealing workshops planned! Everything from Jayne Navarre's "Thinking like a Publisher: Advice for Writers Seeking Publication" to Kate Fowler's "Ninja Marketing for Writers: Create Your Own Video Book Trailer." As an environmental writer, I'm also looking forward to Wayne Grady's workshop, "Great Lakes: An Omen for the Lakes of the World — and Our Planet." And, because I'm an eternal, albeit reluctant, optimist, and believe that my children's book manuscript will some day be published, I've signed up for Sandra Gullard's "Internet Book Promotion for Luddites." Perfect!
There will also be stunning places to recharge...back to Gough:
"San Miguel's jardin, the center of the city since 1737, is the most popular spot in town. In this shady town square, people drink coffee on benches beneath lollipop-shaped laurel trees as they gaze up at the spires of La Parroquia spiking the blue sky; vendors sell ice cream, balloons, tortillas, and corn-on-the-cob laced with mayo, chili and lime; young people parade the perimeter looking for love. To sit in the jardin on a sunny day or cool evening is to step back to a pre-television era when every small town had a square where people met to gossip, greet, laugh and watch the world go by."
I'm already packed.
And to kick off this remarkable literary festival, this year's speakers include Margaret Atwood, Jo Harjo, Elena Poniatowska, Naomi Wolf and Jackie Robinson's daughter, Sharon Robinson, author of Testing the Ice and Safe at Home.
I'm looking forward to revisiting old friendships and striking up new ones, working one-on-one with editors and agents like Susan Sutliff Brown and Andy Ross and exploring the city with the remarkable Dianna Hutts Aston, whose Coretta Scott King Honor Award-winning children's book, A Moon Over Star, is an perennial favorite in my pre-K classroom!
If you would like to join these writers, and many more like them, follow this link: http://sanmiguelwritersconference2012.org.
If you do, I'll see you soon!