A Hummingbird at Macondo

I’m in San Antonio this week as a “chuparosa” – or hummingbird – in Sandra Cisnero’s Macondo writing workshops. I came to flit about from workshop to workshop, seminar to seminar, taking in the great writing and serious talk about writing that Macondo is known for.

Various classifications of people here include “hormigas,” the worker ant people who get much done for the workshops; “mocosos,” or snot-nosed kids, the first timers at a Macondo workshop; “chismosos,” the gossipers, who have come back from previous Macondo experiences; and “famosos,” well-known guest writers who run workshops and seminars; among others.

I’ve met amazing new writers as well some old friends who’re here to teach, learn, and interact, such as Denise Chavez, Richard Blanco, Tammy Gomez, Amada Irma Perez, and more. I love being among serious writers – I don’t get a chance to be among them on a regular basis most of the time.

I also love being among the young writers – it reminds me of the hunger, openness, and fears I had when I first started out. And with my veteran colleagues – it’s good to share what we’ve learned in the writing world, especially from the “borderland” spaces, struggling at the margins to tell our stories, our truths, our dreams (all books are a dream realizing themselves into the world).

The workshop participants and teachers are of all ages, sexual orientations, and colors: one two-year participant was born and raised in China – there are also Native Americans, African Americans, European Americans, and all kinds of Latinos (Mexican, Central American, Puerto Rican, Cuban y mas).

Sandra started these workshops more than 10 years ago. At one time, she had them at her dinner table. It has since outgrown Sandra’s house and is now held at University of Texas, San Antonio and Our Lady of the Lake University. University dormitories and local bed & breakfasts have collaborated to accommodate the participants.

Muggy days aside, it’s great to be back to this great “Mexican” city. Here being Mexicano/Chicano is in the very earth, generations upon generations. Sandra is a gracious host. It’s been 25 years since I was last in a writing workshop as a participant (I’ve taught many since then). It feels good. I will also do a seminar this week and be part of a gala reading near the end. Here’s to serious writing and serious talk about writing.


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