This morning I sat, watching a little yellow bird with black and white barred wings feed on the hibiscus blossoms. I was preparing the workshop I’m giving on revising creatively this afternoon before we explore the botanical garden up the hill from San Miguel.


Our street

Already, here for only one full day, this town has absorbed us into its magical atmosphere. The light is clear and strong, despite the cool desert temperatures. It creeps under my sunglasses, sometimes stinging my sun-deprived eyes.

Connections abound: the woman at our casita who told us that her husband had died suddenly six-months ago, news I received with tears in my eyes before telling her I knew exactly where she was, and the woman seated beside me in the ballroom full of 600-plus people waiting to hear writer Luis Urrea whose sister lives in Swan River, the nearest town south of The Pas.

We walk through the narrow cobbled streets lined with 18th-century Colonial buildings, agog at a beauty I didn’t really take in when I was here before, just 25 and not yet behind my eyes, as a friend of my mom says.

Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel

Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel

Today: the privilege of guiding eager, excited, striving writers from all over through several writing exercises designed to get them digging under the surface of a first draft, then cacti and sun and salty-sour-sweet margaritas before we end the day listing to Elizabeth Hay, followed by dinner in a heated, lush courtyard after the sun has sunk.