As I write this, I’m sitting on a hotel bed in San Miguel de Allende on the eve of a writing / photography workshop that my dear friend Andrea Scher and I are hosting this week. This might be our 10th workshop in San Miguel in the last five years.
Some of the ladies we flew in with – all old friends of ours – have taken to the cobblestones to find dinner. I stayed back because I’m one of those introvert / extroverts who, after a long day of wandering the city as a tribe of gals, has come back to my spot of quiet to listen to music and write. It’s actually not so very quiet; There are loud explosions going off every few minutes, which our friend Erin says is courtesy of the church strongly reminding people to get their booty to the pews in the morning.
Why do I love that so much? I think I like the tension of priests setting off explosions. There’s something very unabashed about that. It’s nervy, you know? Or maybe it’s just their god shouting from the heavens in a way these people can hear.
I also like the half glass of wine I swiped from an art opening in the courtyard of the hotel this evening as I headed to my room. I like that as much as I like knowing that inside of the Mojiangas – the 18-foot tall puppets that parade through town – are overheated, sticky teenage boys glancing at their watches waiting for their shifts to end.
I have a soft spot for those young men as they wander through the cobblestone streets of town, stopping in front of the Parroquia de San Miguel – the great church in el Centro – and which is always crowded with tourists from Mexico City taking selfies. It’s a funny scene, and sometimes sad – all those people taking pictures of themselves now for a future time when they’ll want to remember what happiness felt like.
I love the way the boys teeter in their bride and groom puppet costumes, bending down to let the tourists touch them. This little bit of magic. This joy. The first time I saw them a number of years ago, I followed them for blocks and blocks in the moonlight, just wanting to catch the magic in their wake.
That’s why Andrea and I come back to San Miguel, to remember the aliveness in us which has dulled or that we’ve forgotten. That’s how it happens; routine can rub the spark from our lives. Our light gets a little more dimmed and we forget there’s a whole spectrum out there available to us.
That’s why we write and we wander, take pictures, gather in groups to share what we’ve seen. We need these practices in our lives to help us remember.
And even as I sit here in my darkening room alone, explosions going off around me, the glass of wine long gone, I know I’m in the wake of something beautiful. It’s so small. I have nothing big to report; I’m not in love. The book I’m writing could take me years and years to write. I spend much of my time working, I still haven’t made peace with my body, and I’m only beginning at 63 to surrender my perfectionism. I’m tentative about intimacy and what it means to let people in, but here I am alone in an old bordello turned hotel, listening to fireworks set off by priests, a couple speaking loudly in the room below mine – later Andrea will tell me that their lovemaking kept her awake. There’s a dog barking in the alley next door. It’s nothing, it’s everything, it’s where I begin.
Listen to Laurie read the piece.
A special invite … if you’d like to wake up your aliveness and practice with us, we welcome you to join one of our Small Group Wild Writing Classes starting the first week of April. It begins on the page, like it did tonight when I sat down to write to you, and then we take it into our lives, as I will now.
Thank you so much for this lovely piece!!
Years ago I traveled to San Miguel for 2 summers, for the light, for everything you speak of. You brought me right back there and I lived for a moment, through you, my memories.
PS I too am a ambivert
nothing and everything, always the beginning. yesyesyes.
enjoy the spectrum of san miguel. xo
Wild writing muse Laurie,
Thank you for sharing your joy and magic with us, your tribe.
Hi Laurie, thanks for sharing these observations. our time in San Miguel was magical – actually I can’t thank you enough.
So many beautiful lines. Thank you Laurie.
Wonderful, magical share. That place is alive. Enjoy and thank you!
I love hearing about your wanderings and what your seeing and thinking through that wide lens of yours my friend!
I felt I was there with you, Laurie, transported to the magical place and culture of San Miguel. Beauty is often in the small things around us.
Makes me aware of how I want to brighten my life more with less routine. Thanks you, as always, for taking us on your journey.
Love this story. Sometimes joy arrives disguised in small packages. it’s the littlest deliveries that make all the difference when we’re quiet and paying attention. 💜
You’ve opened my sense of wonder, Thank you for sharing a place I’ve never been. 💖
we do need to remember. I just returned from Amsterdam, Hamburg, and morocco. The encounters I had with people were the best, even though I got to see lovely paintings, old buildings, sparkling canals, and Fields of blooming crocus
“It’s nothing. it’s everything.
it’s where I begin.”
every bit of this piece resonated Laurie, and i loved being taken back to the sights and sounds of SMDA. i’m sure so much goodness and magic will unfold there this week. so grateful glad i was able to be part of the circle there last fall.
Another wonderful “selfie,” in the medium we have chosen. And yes. the magic. Thank you for the reminder. Isn’t that why we travel? In search of those spells and spirits walking the streets among us. (There was magic here today, too, in the fierce afternoon winds that swayed the trees and rattled my windows.) Sending you love and grateful for the memories of that brilliant gem of a town.
Beautiful. I could hear the fireworks, the couple, sense the fading light, taste the wine. It’s cool blue sunset here, the rain inhaling, about to dump again, the windmill in the backyard is spinning wildly, 30 mph is my guess if it was a wheel on a small car. Thank you for sharing and interrupting my online patterns; I am excited to travel, wander, begin again… xo
Oh to be in San Miguel with you right now Laurie! Thank you for such a visually beautiful, reflective piece. You took me there.
Thank you Laurie for sharing with us a bit our San Miguel this week! I almost felt as though I were there! I appreciate you sharing about the priests, I never knew that 🙂 Have a beautiful week.
oh how I treasure the mix of introvert and extrovert <3 the withdrawing to experience the pleasure and fully, in a sacred way. reading your rendering gives me a sense of peace. Joyfully observed and digested. Thank you for the snack of pleasure !!