Thanks to everyone who came out to C & S at Robin’s house. The fire (thanks Dan!!!), the smores (yummy!), and most of all, the company were all absolutely fantastic! I had such a great time. Reading poetry by firelight, talking about teaching, writing, and everything in between was excellent. The poetry shared was inspiring and I was glad to find representation from nonfiction, fiction, and poetry students.
I really want to extend a welcome (a BIG WELCOME) out to everyone who has not had a chance to make it to a Chicken & Salsa gathering yet. Or those of you who have only made it once. You seriously are missing out and WE are missing out from not having you as well.
I swear something special happens, at least in my mind, to be able to get together with other MFA students and artists outside of the classroom. I am reminded of my experiences in an Indigenous Identity in the Diaspora course with Cherrie Moraga my final spring quarter at Stanford. Twenty artists (from all disciplines, music, dance, poetry, fiction, etc) were accepted into the course and we gathered each week to discuss our art practices, our inspirations, and I left each gathering learning something new, respecting my art even more, and inspired by seeing and hearing how much everyone loved (and struggled with) their own art as well. I remember thinking (since I had already decided on coming to UNM for my MFA) that THIS…. THIS feeling, THIS community, THIS energy – this is what I hope I can get from my MFA program, or what I will try to start.
Seeing the connections writing and art brings between people from all walks of life, reminds me why I am here: as a person, as a writer. This is my vision for Chicken and Salsa. We all have so much to learn, especially from each other.
There are only FOUR more gatherings left so I encourage you all to come out.
February: The 1st Saturday in February (7th) will be held at Sneakerz bar and grill at 4100 San Mateo NE.
March: hosted by Chris Boat?
April: hosted by Sam and Erika?
May: hosted by Felicia Chavez
SPECIAL NOTICE ON FEBRUARY’S GATHERING:
Saturday night at Sneakerz is Karaoke night! Yes, yes Yes!!! The focus of this gathering will be on stage presence and overcoming any stage fright! It will be about working on confidence….. don’t worry if you “don’t sing” it is great fun, there’s usually a pretty good crowd there, and if all else you can come share a pizza and some beer (or non-alcoholic beverages) with us and watch the rest of us make fools of ourselves. And the more of us who come, the more we can cheer for each other.
Finally, I’d like to draw from one of the writers who inspires me. Cherrie Moraga writes in her “Loving in the War Years”:
“And if this play doesn’t satisfy my hunger for La Llorona’s story, maybe another later work will. Maybe it’s a story I’ll work on for the rest of my life in many shapes and voices and styles. Maybe, as James Baldwin once said, we each have just one story to tell and every writing effort is just an attempt to say it better this time. Maybe somewhere in me I believe that if I could get to the heart of Llorona, I could get to the heart of the mexicanaprison and in the naming I could free us…if only just a little. Maybe the effort is a life well spent”
To borrow from her words, for me: maybe somewhere deep within me, I believe that we are all trying to get at the heart of something (with our writing), maybe the heart of a people, a movement, voice, or simply the heart of ourselves. Working towards getting there – is freeing- but it is a difficult and at times, lonely, struggle; traveling this path with others who are brave enough to share the burden of “the gift” is (for me) a life well spent.