Tag Archives: workshop

Textile Tour in Oaxaca, Mexico, December 2024

Join us in Oaxaca from December 6 to 14, 2024, for a spectacular insider’s view of the textile culture and history of this World Heritage colonial city. We have created this experience in collaboration with Fiber Circle Studio in Petaluma, California, and owner founder Alisha Bright. Lots of touring plus hands-on workshops to keep you excited and engaged in the weaving and textile culture.

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Visit to artisan studios in Teotitlan del Valle including silk and tapestry weavers
  • Participate in a two-day natural dye workshop
  • Learn or enhance your skills in a two-day tapestry weaving workshop
  • Travel to the mountain village of Chichicapam for a one-day spinning workshop
  • Discover key sights – Hierve el Agua, and El Tule, a 3,000 year old cypress tree
  • Visit important museums and shops
  • Wander the Sunday tianguis at the Tlacolula Market, a confluence of art, craft and more
  • Meet a red clay potter in her famous ceramics studio
  • Experience Virgin of Guadalupe parades in downtown Oaxaca
  • Show & tell your work, share your experience with the group
  • Enjoy a grand finale dinner with our group and leaders

Read more details here!

(No prior weaving or dyeing experience is necessary. This is open and valuable to all levels of fiber artists and fiber admirers.)

DAY 1 | Arrive, settle in & welcome! 

Arrive, travel to Teotitlan del Valle on your own, at your own expense. We will provide directions from the airport. Box supper available upon check-in at our upscale bed and breakfast inn. Overnight in Teotitlan del Valle.

DAY 2 | Introduction, visit weaving cooperatives, begin dye workshop

Breakfast, introduction to the textile culture of Oaxaca with a presentation. Morning excursion to 3 cooperatives and workshops to meet weavers in Teotitlan del Valle who create tapestries, clothing, and handbags. After lunch, we will meet at the dye studio and begin the process to create naturally dyed skeins of wool. Dinner will be at our bed and breakfast inn. Overnight in Teotitlan del Valle.

About the Natural Dye Workshop: Participants will dye an assortment of colors using various plants and overdyed techniques. Participants will dye 15 wool skeins of 100 grams, with enough colors and materials to weave a small sampler on our weaving day.

DAY 3 | Natural dye workshop – 15 colors; 15 skeins of wool

Breakfast. Visit the Tlacolula market. Lunch at local comedor. We’ll resume the natural dye workshop to dye skeins of wool exploring locally sourced plant materials of indigo, pomegranate, wild marigold, plus cochineal. The workshop will cover chemistry in dye preparation and techniques for over-dyeing. Box supper at dye studio. Overnight in Teotitlan del Valle.

DAY 4 | Spinning workshop, dip in the waters of Hierve el Agua

Breakfast. Excursion to Chichicapam to meet a family of spinners who work with only the finest quality Churro sheep wool. We will have an opportunity to spin yarn using the drop-spindle (malacate) and purchase handspun yarn. Visit to Hierve el Agua. Dinner on your own. Overnight in Teotitlan del Valle.

DAY 5 | Weaving workshop, ceramics studio

Breakfast. Morning weaving workshop – we’ll be working on a frame loom that will produce a sampler or wall hanging approximately 10” x 18” using the yarns prepared during the natural dye workshop. Lunch at the weaving studio. Afternoon excursion to ceramics village of San Marcos Tlapazola. Dinner on your own. Overnight in Teotitlan del Valle.

DAY 6 | Weaving workshop, visit El Tule, head to la ciudad de Oaxaca, optional Mezcal tastings!

Breakfast. Morning weaving workshop to continue working on and finishing projects. Lunch at a local comedor. Excursion to El Tule to see the ancient cypress tree and visit flying shuttle loom weaver. Dinner at Oaxaca Te Amo. Overnight in Oaxaca City. We will provide suggestions for anyone who wants to do Mezcal tastings.

DAY 7 | Textile museum and shops, Virgin de Guadalupe parades

Breakfast. Morning guided walking tour of Oaxaca textile museum and important shops. Lunch on your own and opportunity to see Virgin of Guadalupe parades in El Centro. Dinner on your own. Overnight in Oaxaca City.

DAY 8 | Show & tell, wander the city, final dinner

Breakfast. Discussion of community, culture, textiles, show and tell of weaving samplers. Lunch and afternoon on your own. Gala Grand Finale Dinner. Overnight in Oaxaca City.

DAY 9 | Hasta luego!

Breakfast. Depart on flights home from Oaxaca airport. We will help arrange taxi transportation at your own expense.

PRICING

  • $4,295 (per person/double occupancy)
  • $4,995 (per person/single occupancy)

REGISTER

  1. Please download this form, complete it and return it by email to norma.schafer@icloud.com 
  2. A $500 non-refundable deposit will reserve your space – you will receive an invoice after your registration form is received. The remaining balance will be due on August 1, 2024. 
  3. PLEASE TELL US YOU ARE REGISTERING DIRECTLY WITH OAXACA CULTURAL NAVIGATOR

CANCELLATION POLICY

For cancellations made on or before August 1, 2024, we will honor a 50% refund. Any cancellations after August 1, 2024, will not qualify for a refund. Details of the cancellation policy can be found here.

Read more details here!

Day of the Dead 2024 Photo Workshop Instructor Featured in Elle Magazine

Elle Magazine Mexico features an interview with photographer Luvia Lazo from Teotitlán del Valle, Oaxaca. Luvia is leading a photography workshop here in October 2024, just before Day of the Dead.

The interview is in Spanish, but you can use Google translate or just get the gist of it by looking at her extraordinary photographs.

Luvia speaks English and the workshop will be taught in English.

The workshop is a combination of street and portrait photography. You’ll meander the village to capture ancient archeological sites, open air markets, shops, studios and galleries. We will also be setting up formal portrait sessions with some of the people here we know and love focusing on multi-generational images.

Together, we will review our work, offer supportive feedback, share meals and mezcal, take a step back in time by exploring this 8,000 year old Zapotec village located about forty-minutes outside of Oaxaca city.

Hone your photography skills and get an insider’s view of the culture.

Day of the Dead Photography Workshop. Register today!

People and Place: Photography Workshop with Luvia Lazo in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca

Three Days — October 27, 28, 29, 2024, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Arrive just before Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, to explore the Zapotec village of Teotitlan del Valle as preparations begin for this grand celebration to honor the ancestors. We take you inside people’s homes and workshops where you might never have access on your own. We explore the 17th century church, ancient archeological sites, the local market, and wander cobblestone streets to find hidden treasures that you will capture with your camera. We arrange portrait sessions with local families where we take you on an insiders journey to document how locals live and work.

We welcome novice and experienced photographers who want to capture people and place. We focus on portrait and street photography, how to look for that great shot and compose it for greatest impact. We do NOT teach you how to use your camera. We teach you what to look for, how to frame a photograph, perspective, how to determine what to shoot close-up and from a distance. We will discuss editing techniques, too. We welcome all types of cameras from DSLRs to iPhones.

Our workshop day is from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. We will meet each morning as a group to discuss process and technique, show our work, give and receive feedback. Then, we will venture out into the village to explore.

Your instructor is Luvia Lazo. She is featured in The New Yorker magazine. You can read more about Luvia and see her work on her website. You can also do a Google search to see and read more!

Luvia is described this way: Photography is her way of portraying the worlds to which she belongs. Her work aims to capture reality from the perspective of the contemporary Zapotec woman, creating a constellation of images through time and spaces in Oaxaca, documenting the generational gaps and the transformation of identities across ages.

She is a recipient of the Jóvenes Creadores grant of the FONCA 2020 (National Fund for the Culture of the Arts, Mexico) and inaugural recipient of the Indigenous photo grant 2021 supported by Leica and Photoville.

Cost: $995 per person. This includes three workshop days, all instruction, three lunches, and one Grand Finale Dinner where we present our best work.

The cost does not include lodging, breakfast or transportation. We recommend several bed-and-breakfast inns where you can book your lodging directly with the innkeeper at your own expense, once you register for the workshop. These are Casa Elena, La Cupula, and Las Granadas.

The workshop will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. We will send you meeting location and other details in late September. We suggest you book your lodging to arrive October 26 and depart on October 30.

How to Reserve Your Space — We are limiting participation to 10 people.

We request payment in full to reserve. Payment can be made with a Zelle transfer (we will send you a request for funds when you send us how your Zelle account is registered), or we can send you a Square invoice to pay with a credit card (4% service fee added). Please advise which payment method you prefer.

Please complete this registration form to participate.

Cancellations.  $500 of your $995 registration fee is non-refundable. If you cancel on or before August 15, 2024, we will refund 50% of your deposit received to date less the $500 non-refundable fee. After August 15, there are no refunds. You may consider purchasing international travel insurance that would allow you to file a claim in the event you are unable to attend.

If we cancel for whatever reason, we will offer a 100% refund of all amounts received to date, less the non-refundable deposit.

NOTE: Covid is still with us. Please bring one Covid test kit and a face mask to use in crowded spaces and inside homes where there is no air circulation. Local people do not have wide access to effective vaccines and are very vulnerable to Covid. We urge you to be up-to-date with all vaccines, including influenza and RSV.

To Register, Policies, Procedures & Cancellations–Please Read

Walking and Group Courtesy: We are at almost 6,000 feet altitude. Streets and sidewalks are cobblestones, and narrow. We will do a lot of walking. We will walk a lot — up to 10,000 steps per day at a moderate pace. We recommend you bring a walking stick and wear sturdy shoes.

NOTE: If you have mobility issues or health/breathing impediments, please consider that this may not be the program for you.

Traveling with a small group has its advantages, and also means that independent travelers will need to make accommodations to group needs and schedule. We include plenty of free time to go off on your own if you wish.

2025 Women’s Creative Writing Workshop Retreat: Inspirations for a New Year

January 2-8, 2025, seven days, six nights in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico.

It’s the start of 2025, a new year, and we are inspired to revisit the years passed and the one that now begins. What are our hopes, dreams, wishes, aspirations. What are our regrets. What memories come up that bring us gratitude, regrets, joy, or sadness. With published, award-winning author Marcia Meier guiding us, we approach our writing with honesty, openness, emotion and directness, to visit and revisit the people, places that shaped us. We express our yearnings, dig in and go deep, and to write in whatever genre speaks to us: memoir, journaling, fiction, personal essay, creative nonfiction, and poetry. We are here to express our relationship with life, love, loss and mourning. The new year is a launching pad to express ourselves.

New and seasoned writers are welcome. Come to kindle and rekindle the writer’s life.

A $500 deposit will secure your reservation. The cost is $2,395 for a shared room, and $2,995 for a private room. Space is limited to 10 writers.

Our Preliminary Schedule

Wednesday, January 2—Arrive to Oaxaca, travel to and settle into our Teotitlan del Valle retreat center by 4 p.m. Transportation from the airport to the village is at your own expense. Welcome dinner at 6 p.m. Introductions, schedule, and questions. Sign-ups for consultations.

Thursday, January 3—Breakfast is at 8 a.m. Writing workshop (including group feedback) with Marcia from 9 a.m. to noon; lunch from noon to 1:30; free writing time and individual 45-minute consultations 1:30-4:30 p.m. (consultations will be scheduled with Marcia during the welcome dinner on January 2; local artisan visit 4-30-6 p.m.; dinner at 6:30 p.m.

Friday, January 4—Breakfast is at 8 a.m. Workshop from 9 a.m.-noon with Marcia; lunch is noon to 1:30 p.m. Special topic “Crafting Your Project”, from 1:30-2:15 p.m. Free writing time and individual consultations 2:15-5:30. Dinner at 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, January 5—Breakfast is at 8 a.m. Workshop from 9 a.m.-noon with Marcia. Lunch is on your own in the village. From noon to 4 p.m. you have free time to either explore the village or to continue to write on your own. We will schedule individual consultations from 2:30-5:30 p.m. Dinner is at 6:30 p.m.  

Sunday, January 6— Breakfast at 8 a.m. Special topic, “Getting Published” 9-10 a.m. We will depart by van to the famous outdoor Tlacolula Market to explore local culture. Lunch will be with a traditional cook whose comedor is near the market. Workshop session will be held from 3-6 p.m. Light supper at 7 p.m.

Monday, January 7— Breakfast at 8 a.m. Workshop from 9 a.m.-noon with Marcia. Lunch on your own. Free writing time and individual consultations 1:30-5:30 p.m. 6 p.m. Final reading of work created during the week, followed by a Grand Finale Dinner.

Tuesday, January 8—Breakfast at 8 a.m. Goodbyes and departure. We will help you arrange transportation to the airport or the city by private taxi at your own expense.

We can also recommend lodging where you can extend your stay in Oaxaca City — come a few days early or stay later!

We reserve the right to make itinerary changes and substitutions as necessary.

Marcia Meier is an experienced workshop leader and published author who has led writing workshops for nearly 20 years. A longtime book editor and publisher, she is skilled at helping new and advanced writers find their voice on the page, learn the basics of craft, and giving effective and thoughtful feedback on work.

During each workshop day, we will have a brief craft discussion, share work and get feedback from Marcia and workshop participants. Marcia will also provide prompts for daily writing, with time to begin crafting your daily writing during workshop, if the schedule allows. Please bring a piece of writing (personal narrative, fiction or poetry) of no more than 1,000 words to get started.

What can you take away from this workshop? Deep understanding of how to craft an effective, persuasive and moving piece of writing; camaraderie with other like-minded writers and creatives; learning in a stunningly beautiful environment; and immersion in a friendly and ancient culture steeped in music, art, crafts, and spirituality. You’ll leave with increased skills, new friends, and deep gratitude for new experiences in a different culture.

Meet Marcia Meier

Marcia Meier is an award-winning writer, developmental book editor, writing coach, and publisher of Weeping Willow Books.

Marcia’s latest book, Face, A Memoir, was published in January 2021 by Saddle Road Press. Face was shortlisted for the Eric Hoffer Book Award grand prize and won honorable mention in the memoir category.

Her anthology, Unmasked, Women Write About Sex and Intimacy After Fifty, co-edited with Kathleen A. Barry, Ph.D., was published in 2018. Her other books include Ireland, Place Out of Time (Weeping Willow Books, 2017), Heart on a Fence, (Weeping Willow Books, 2016), Navigating the Rough Waters of Today’s Publishing World, Critical Advice for Writers from Industry Insiders (Quill Driver Books, 2010) and Santa Barbara, Paradise on the Pacific, (Longstreet Press, 1996). Her podcast, “Girl Talk, Women, Aging and Sexuality,” can be heard on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify and many other podcast platforms. Listen and subscribe here.

Marcia’s poems have appeared in Writers Resist, Prime Number Magazine online, the anthology Knocking at the Door, Poems About Approaching the Other, and Sage Trail Literary Magazine. She has studied with Carolyn Forché (Hedgebrook in March 2016) and Kim Addonizio (six-week poetry workshop in fall 2017). A newspaper journalist for nearly 20 years, she has freelanced or written for numerous publications, including the Los Angeles Times, The Writer magazine, Santa Barbara Magazine, Pacific Standard Magazine online and The Huffington Post.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and an MFA in creative writing, and has taught writing workshops and numerous college and university courses.

Marcia is a member of the Author’s Guild and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. She loves to take photographs, walk on the beach, write poetry and read good fiction.

Learn more about Marcia, her books, and other work at www.marciameier.com and www.weepingwillowbooks.com.

Teotitlan del Valle is our base. It is an ancient weaving village about thirty minutes beyond the hubbub of the city where ancient rituals are practiced much as they were hundreds of years ago. Our location provides a source of inspiration and spiritual connection.

There will be optional daily activities in our schedule: afternoon walks, and mini-seminars on writing topics such as writing effective description and dialogue, grammar, or submitting creative work for publication. Each person will have a private coaching session, too.

We will also schedule visits to local artisans to see how they make their work.

What is included?

  • Complete instruction with five workshop sessions
  • 6 dinners
  • 6 breakfasts
  • 3 lunches
  • 6 nights lodging
  • transportation to Tlacolula Market
  • artisan honoraria for demonstrations
  • mini-seminars on writing topics
  • one coaching session

What is a Workshop Session? The group meets daily for about three hours to actively listen to each other’s writing, giving supportive and constructive feedback about what resonates or not. We offer guidelines for the process. Everyone takes a turn to read and everyone participates. Writers may accept or reject suggestions. Workshops offer an important learning tool for writers to gain feedback about how their words are communicated and understood.

How to Register:  Cost is $2395 person for a shared room, and $2995 for a private room. A non-refundable $500 deposit will reserve your space. Send us an email to say you want to attend and if you want a shared or private room. We will send you a request for payment via Zelle transfer (no fees) or Square invoice to use a credit card (3.5% service fee) to secure your space. The balance will be due in two equal payments. The first payment will be due on July 1, 2024. The second and final payment will be due on October 1, 2024.

Note: If you register after July 1, then the first payment will be $500 + half of the workshop fee.

Required–Travel Health/Accident Insurance: We require that you carry international accident/health/emergency evacuation insurance with a minimum of $50,000 of medical evacuation coverage. Proof of insurance must be sent at least 45 days before departure. Unforeseen circumstances happen! Be certain your passport has at least six months on it before it expires from the date you enter Mexico!

Plane Tickets, Arrivals/Departures: Please send us your plane schedule at least 45 days before the trip. This includes name of carrier, flight numbers, arrival and departure time to/from our program destination.

Reservations and Cancellations.  We accept payment with Square or Zelle. We will send you an invoice when you tell us you are ready to register. After October 1, 2024, refunds are not possible. If you cancel on or before October 1, 2024, 50% of your deposit will be refunded, less the $500 reservation fee. After that, there are no refunds.

To further explain: if we cancel, participants receive a 100% refund. 

Travelers are required to take out international travel insurance. If you are too sick to travel and/or come down with covid, or your flights are cancelled or any other legitimate reason, you would file a claim for reimbursement with the insurance company. 

Covid is still with us. Please confirm that you have had all vaccines. Please bring 3 covid test kits and face masks for protection in densely populated markets.

Terrain, Walking and Group Courtesy: The altitude is almost 6,000 feet. Streets and sidewalks are cobblestones, some narrow and uneven. We will do some walking. If you have mobility issues or health/breathing impediments, please let me know before you register. Traveling with a small group has its advantages and also means that independent travelers will need to make accommodations to group needs and schedule. We include plenty of free time to go off on your own if you wish.

How to Get To Oaxaca: United Airlines operates direct flights from Houston. American Airlines operates direct flights from DFW. Delta Airlines has a codeshare with AeroMexico with a connection to Oaxaca from Mexico City. All other major airlines fly to Mexico City where you can made independent connections on Interjet, and VivaAerobus. Check Skyscanner for schedules and fares before you book.  Note: I always book directly with the carrier for better customer service.

Workshop Details and Travel Tips: Before the workshop begins, we will email you study tour details and documents that includes travel tips and information.

To get your questions answered and to register, contact Norma Schafer. This retreat is produced by Norma Schafer, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC.

Day of the Dead in Five Parts

I wrote the draft of this last year during Day of the Dead during our Women’s Creative Writing Workshop, and recently rewrote and edited it to read at SOMOS The Taos Literary Society last night. It was well-received and I want to share it with you. Creative writing is an important aspect of my life — in Oaxaca and in Taos. That’s why we continue to offer creative writing workshop retreats. We all have something to say, and it’s important to express ourselves in whatever way seems most meaningful. To get on the mailing list for the next workshop retreat in January 2025, please send me an email.

Day of the Dead in Five Parts by Norma Schafer

1. A mirror of my mother

I am adorned in a crown of flowers. Silver skeletons dangle from my ears. My black velvet blusa, Frida Kahlo style, is heavily embroidered with white orchids and doves.  All appears as it should be, still I look in the mirror trying to find myself. Trying to find the woman I used to be. Instead, I have become my mother. Perhaps a reinterpretation of reincarnation. My body has morphed from hourglass to square. My hips have narrowed; my belly expanded. The once imperceptible lines are now etched deeper across my brow. The best night cream does not smooth them. In this reflection I talk to her, mostly at night as I prepare for sleep, as I wash my face, brush my teeth, examine the shape of my nose that more and more resembles hers, elongated with broad nostrils, shaped by stoicism.  I see the silver hair, complexion the color of chamomile, skin like an iguana. This is how she was when I thought she was old. Today is Day of the Dead, and I remember her.

  2.  Death and the ego

Day of the Dead is a celebration of life. Yet, tonight as I lie in bed, I think about what it will feel like to die. I cross my hands over my chest, take a deep breath, and sink into nothingness. For the moment I will sleep, and wonder, Will I awake in the morning? I envision being surrounded by loved ones, saying I love you, saying goodbye. Will they sit at my gravesite, sing and dance, dine on memories? Then, I cannot imagine it and pull back and tell myself, Stop thinking about it. Death will come soon enough. Or maybe I will live forever?  Though no one does, not even the most brilliant, the most beautiful, the wealthy and notorious. All this becomes too overwhelming to imagine, and this is when I begin to question my ego.

Who I am and what I do is valuable and important. But who am I kidding? All organisms die. I am having an intellectual discussion with myself, and I am afraid. Fear grips me. I cry for the loss of self. For the body that is not working as it once did, for what hurts, what needs correction. Is it time to say, I am and beyond is nothingness? They say people with high self-esteem do not fear death. I don’t believe it.

3. I count time by medicine

Every three weeks, I pull out the three plastic dispensers to apportion the medicine into each cubicle, labeled Monday through Sunday. The clock ticks. The cubicle empties. I refill it. I count time by medicine. Mostly, these are vitamins:  Magnesium, D3, a multivitamin designed for women of a certain age. Each Saturday I give myself a Vitamin B12 injection for more endurance.  

I need to fix my aching back, the right knee that’s getting close to replacement time.  These days, I worry more about the tremor in my hand as I grasp a cup of coffee, the cramps and numbness in my feet that set me off-balance, the small pockets of skin collapsing on my face. Sunken cheeks and deeply etched lines are not glamorous for seventy-somethings. We used to talk about our children. Then, about our work. Now it’s about medications, doctors, and appointments. Some of us join book clubs, play dominoes, struggle with Wordle. We may even think we have something to say and write.

4. This is all preparation

At two in the morning, I awaken and think, this is all preparation. I go outside my mind and observe my body from a distance. Is this container all of me? As I yield to insomnia, I walk outside to embrace the stars sparkling clear in the Oaxaca sky. This is a perfect moment to take note of the changes. Yes, my body deteriorates, I am increasingly aware of how imperfect it is and will be.  I tell myself I must make a shift in vocabulary. Stop saying, I’m old. Maybe I’m older will do.  I say, I’m old, forgive me when I forget an important date.  I’m old, I excuse myself when my feet go numb and I land on the kitchen floor, grateful I didn’t break a hip. How do I change the narrative when this is happening to me? If I ignore it, will it go away? They say those who have a positive outlook about aging will live another seven years.

How do I describe myself now, a once-energetic woman with limitless stamina and a capacity to wander, explore, discover, reach, inquire, and connect. The days, months, years go by now all too quickly. I look back at the intersections, the choices I made. I have regrets. Yet now I understand contentment and know that all roads taken, lead to where I am, here, in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, to celebrate Day of the Day one more year, and that is good. What will I say about now in ten years, when I look back?

Suspend your ego, I tell myself. This is my preparation.

If you are in Oaxaca for Day of the Dead, consider our specialized day tours–see the right column.

            5. It’s fresh up here on the terrace

Fresca. Fresh is what they say here in Oaxaca to describe the movement of cool air. Look beyond this roof-top terrace.  See the twelve-thousand-foot mountains of the Sierra Madre del Sur. Clouds float as if they were meringue topping a pie too delicious to eat. This is my pueblo, Teotitlan del Valle; it’s a miracle I live here. But things don’t just happen, they present themselves, and we get to choose to embrace them, or not. A journey of almost twenty years was determined in the moment I met the Chavez Santiago family then.

Now, during Day of the Dead, cempasuchitl, wild marigold flowers, paint the landscape. On November 1, the ancestors will return to visit loved ones. We revere the altar where we honor them, we serve them a meal of mole amarillo yellow mole and mezcal, then on November 2, we guide them back to the cemetery lured by the scent of copal incense, aromatic with notes of cinnamon and brown sugar, assuring them that they will rest in peace for another year and visit us again.

This thousands-year-old ritual tells me that eternal life may be possible if we remember and honor those who came before us. It is said that the memory of an individual will last for only two generations. Collective memory may be everlasting. This is comforting as I sit on the terrace, solitary, quiet, protected. Below are voices, the whir of a moto-taxi, a cooking fire crackling, aromas from the outdoor cooking fires wafting scents of tortillas, salsa, beans, the bark of street dogs, the beat-beat-beat of a loom.

I recognize that all that I am is the sound of the Teotitlan del Valle church bell ringing for Day of the Dead, strong and clear, then fading into nothingness.

If you’d like to give me feedback, please write to me directly by email.

I want to give a shout out of thanks to my two best editors: Carol Estes and Kathryn Salisbury! This piece would not be as written without them.