Twenty Four Tamales For Christmas and a Few Things You Learn Along the Way

Twenty Four Tamales For Christmas and a Few Things You Learn Along the Way

You feel pretty buttoned up. Your writing workshop is coming together like a dream. Twenty-two people. A small city tucked into the mountains of Mexico. You spend months organizing the hotel, the shuttles, sending emails back and forth with participants, extolling the virtues of the magical town; the giant puppets parading the streets, the churches lit up all baby pink at night, bougainvillea crawling the city walls. You bring in a bad ass teacher from New York, one of your mentors, one of the most inspiring writers you know, and someone you’re grateful to teach alongside. Weeks before people fly in, you write your opening notes, talking about what it might be like to write in this ancient city, saying things like, “You’ll wake up, you’ll let go. You’ll be asked to step into the mystery.” You love what you write. It’ll be a great beginning to the workshop. Some people might even take notes as you speak. And to sweeten the deal, your family is coming to town for Christmas, a week before the workshop. You imagine yourself strolling the square at night with your niece and nephew, your sister, your mother and your oldest daughter. Churches from the 1500’s line the path, violinists spring up behind park benches for impromptu concerts, churros ooze caramel, everyone walks the cobblestone streets in the moonlight with their arms around each other. You know how to make things nice, so you head to the Church of Immaculate Conception early one foggy morning, weeks before everyone’s arrival, to place an order for Christmas tamales because you’ve heard that the nuns make the...
Reasons Why I Left

Reasons Why I Left

Because if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have met the woman with the large telescope in the street one night, selling us a glance at the moon for 50 pesos. And how far 50 pesos can take you in this town – all the way to the moon, or just a taxi ride up the hill to where my mother used to watch the bullfight. If I’d stayed home, I wouldn’t have understood why the man in the neon green vest was walking up and down the street banging a pot the other morning, reminding everyone that it was trash day. Or how when you enter a store, you place your feet in a shallow pan of water before you go in. You’ll be wet, but you’ll be clean. I wouldn’t have met the hippie dude with the handle bar mustache who makes a huge vat of soup every week – something he started doing during the pandemic when people couldn’t leave their homes because of the three month lock down. If you’re on his WhatsApp list you can tell him how many pints you want, and he’ll deliver it to you if you can’t pick it up. This week its corn chowder. If I hadn’t said “I’ll do it!” when my friends, Dan and Jenny, asked who wanted to sublet their house here in San Miguel de Allende for 11-weeks, I wouldn’t be waking up to church bells, which wake the roosters, which wake the dogs, which wake up Max, the cat I’m taking care of, and the way she takes a soft paw to my nose every morning...
Interview with Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Interview with Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer lives in Southwest Colorado and she writes and shares a poem every single day with a large flock of followers all over the world. She’s that kind of writer – generous and bold – and has much to share with us about writing from everyday life. Her poetry has appeared in O Magazine, on A Prairie Home Companion, in back alleys and on river rocks.  Interview :: April 28, 2020 Her poetry collections include Naked for Tea and Hush – winner of the Halcyon Prize for poetry of human ecology. Visit her at www.wordwoman.com share this...
Interview with Marie Howe

Interview with Marie Howe

Marie Howe is an exceptional poet and human being who has much to teach us about living, writing and paying attention. She is another true menor of mine, and in this interview she is sitting in her apartment in New York during the pandemic, amidst an eerie quiet of ambulances and birds on the street below. At the end of the interview she reads from her gorgeous poem, Singularity, as well as talks to us about our changing world and how we want to re-enter it. Interview :: May 4, 2020 Marie is the author of numerous books of poetry including, Magdalene, The Kingdom of Ordinary Time, and What the Living Do. She was a New York state poet laureate 2012-14, and her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Poetry, Agni, Ploughshares, Harvard Review, and the Partisan Review, among others. http://www.mariehowe.com share this...
I Forgive You, For Everything

I Forgive You, For Everything

It started with the young man working in the post office who, when I asked him how he was, looked up at me with bright eyes and said, “I”m evolving.” And how I cocked my head and wondered if he were speaking to me directly, like some bodhisattva planted in the post office to jar me, to get me thinking about my life. Or maybe it was random, something he said to everyone, which, as it turns out might be true, because one of my students who lives in town, told me he said the same thing to her. And why not? Our own little Yoda getting a whole town of people to go home and have a little think. I’m evolving, he told me, as he stamped my packages, and sent me out the door. And maybe I am evolving too, since evolving means change. Maybe we’re all evolving, whether we’re ready for it or not. Like that moment last week – I have no idea what prompted it – as I walked through the kitchen, then stopped mid-stride, frozen, my hands flying up to my chest and to my belly, and how the words, “My god, my god,” flew out of my mouth involuntarily. How in that moment, I was instantly aware of 61-years of body trauma, self-consciousness, and shame erupting out of me like some pent up geyser that had nowhere else to go, finally. “My god,” I gasped, as this visceral awareness sprung up inside of me, in the middle of the day, in the middle of my life. Out of nowhere, this whoosh of...