Every year writers from all over Mexico, the USA, Canada, and a smattering of other further-flung spots gather together to discuss every aspect of our craft, to hear world class speakers, and to enjoy the colorful central Mexican ambiance. This is the sixth San Miguel Writers’ Conference… and I’m so glad to be here.
The annual event is sponsored by the San Miguel Literary Sala. Following an enthusiastic welcome from the Sala’s founder, Susan Page, we heard Elinore Lipman’s presentation, “How I Drag the Words Onto the Page.” Author of nine critically acclaimed novels, she had everyone laughing, commiserating and applauding!
Next on the agenda… a selection of mini workshops. I attended Ruth and Dave Wood’s “Be the Best Editor for Yourself and Others.” I don’t know what possessed me to offer the first page of one of my short stories as the example to be critiqued because as soon as Ruth pointed in my direction and asked me to read, my throat closed – almost completely! But, ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’, right? I gained new insight and I’m glad I stepped forward.
Actually, the workshop experience warmed me up for my reading at 12:30. My six minute passage from “Magic Made in Mexico” seemed to be well received and again, I felt that ‘putting myself out there’ was another good learning opportunity.
The role of literary agents in the rapidly changing world of publishing was the afternoon’s topic. Kristin Nelson, a Denver based agent told us “All About Agents”, and dispelled a lot of the myths many of us had about becoming published authors.
Later, I had a one-on-one review of my novel-in-progress with Kristin Nelson. While she pointed out that I still have work to do, her suggestions gave me renewed focus and reinforced my commitment to tell the story.
Sandra Cisneros, the keynote speaker of the Sixth Annual San Miguel Writers’ Conference and Literary Festival held me spellbound. With her words and her bearing, she displayed exceptional bravery. But still more courageous is how she simultaneously exposed her vulnerability. Her summary of the challenges faced by the Latino community was powerful yet gentle. Her voice… truthful but kind. When she read an excerpt from the novel she is working on, I could feel the passion, the sincerity and the ache coming from her soul. ¡Mis respetos!
Friday’s ten hours of intense learning left my head spinning with new ideas, convictions and goals… Ah, but all work and no play… was not the order of the day!
The evening’s “Viva México Fiesta”, held at the Instituto Allende certainly cut the tension and gave my bouncing brain cells, beating heart and fidgeting fingers a chance to calm down and enjoy the camaraderie and charm of this colorful colonial city.
Reviewing Friday’s exceptional experiences has set my mind to wondering about the possibilities in store for today… This is the fourth time I’ve attended a San Miguel Literary Sala event and I am impressed at how the organizers have managed to make it so different but equally valuable to previous ones. I highly recommend you visit the San Miguel Literary Sala Site.