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Monday, March 1, 2010

More News from Magical San Miguel

Hola familia y amigos,

Lo siento (translated: I am sorry!) for not getting back to you since the 17th of February. Needless to say, our time is filled with continuing adventures, new acquaintances, studies in Spanish and one discovery after another. There is certainly never a dull momentito in this
magical colonia city. It is like "peeling back the layers of an onion---only to discover a new layer", more meating and pungent than the last---legrimas (tears) flow with the joy and excitement of it all. Oh, that's corny but you know me!

Since I last wrote you, the Writers' Conference came and went, our guests Farrel and Joe, from
Sonoma California, came and went and I have almost completed my 2 1/2 week Spanish course which has been the best one yet---an in depth exploration of the 7 major and minor tenses of the Spanish verbs most used! I know that must sound very dry to those of you who do not consider yourselves linguists but it has been fascinating for me and especially when I have been able to apply what I learn daily on the streets of San Miguel, in converstions with taxi drivers and shop owners and most importantly with our lovely house hosts, mi amiga Francisca's daughter and son, Maria Elena and Salvador as well as sweet Araceli, the maid who comes about 4 times a week and is always ready to help me with my Spanish or with anything else I might need, like an extra plate for dinner guests, a tray to take a pot luck fruit platter to our Spanish Class pot luck (must tell you about that!), etc. Was that one long, runny sentence? A "no, no" for writers.

The Writers's conference (Feb. 19-23) was fabulous. One of many highlights was the keynote address by reknowned US author, Barbara Kingsolver whose new book , La Lacuna, takes place in Mexico of the 30's and 40"s . She was articulate, humorous and adept in answering the audience's questions which were many. The next morning there was a detailed Q&A time also for many questions to be answered and then a wonderful panel discussion with several other authors both from North America and here, including most importantly, a Mexican authoress who was wonderful and actually criticized one aspect of Kingsolver's book, the inaccuracies in the translations of Spanish words in the text. Ms. Kingsolver quickly responded that she was well aware of them and because the Publisher assiged a copy writer who did not speak Spanish(not so smart) and in their haste to get the first edition published did not correct. Kingsolver said she has insisted the next edition be corrected. I guess we shall see. The critic, otherwise, loved the book and said Kingsolver accurately portrayed the levels of Mexico's caste system and she found it "rich in detail" and spellbinding!

Lucky for me, I was able to be a voluntary door monitor for some of the events so was offered a chance to attend two of the mini workshops, one on "character development" with writer from Eugene, Oregon, John Reed author of several books, and one on fiction writing with author, Elizabeth Powell, from Vermont. Both workshops were extremely interesting and helpful to my process of trying to write my first novel.

In the meantime, we had a great time with our guests, Farrel and Joe who were low maintenance guests, joining us for the writers conference main events, the keynote and a wonderful play, "Jamaica Farewell", the closing event. Check it out on the web---the playwrite, a beautiful and talented writer and actress, immigrated from Jamaica, tells her harrowing story of her migration in her superb one woman show which will be made into a movie and played on Off Broadway to rave reviews. She was here and acted in her play and shared anecdotal stories with the audience at the end. Farrel and Joe also enjoyed joining us for another fabulous concert with Richard Dowling, famed pianist, who did a concert of Chopins music in honor of the anniversary of his birth. Our visitors got an insider's view of San Miguel de Allende with our frequent invitations to friend's casas and casitas, dinner out at some fun restaurants, shopping in the mercado and preparing meals in our small apartment kitchen with many laughs as we bumped into each other!

Oops---just looked at the clock and we have a dinner date with Maria Elena, Salvador and the mystery guest, who is now not a mystery but a wonderful coincidental, serendipitous new acquaintance from El Salvador who is staying with them for two days---a marvelous story to tell you---but you must wait. To be continued in my next post later tonight or tomorrow morning!

Hasta luego, amigos,
Sher

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