Thursday, May 10, 2007

May 10 journal entry

May 10, 2007

I realize that many conference goers will not be making entries into the journal until the actual sign-in, but for me, the conference experience began when I dropped my check in the mail. Almost immediately I began second-guessing myself, wondering if I was in over my head, if I was good enough to be a part of this group. My doubts and misgivings intensified when I received my registration packet, and a form letter from instructor Rob Wilder. Rob has given his class reading homework so that we have a common framework to discuss (a great idea), but he also wants each of us to send him an essay that we want to work on with the group. Up to 20 pages. I want to state for the record that I have yet to exceed 1000 words on any essay I have written. We are talking two pages at the most. To say that I was feeling anxious would be an understatement.

I am not a great believer in mystical things, but I do think that most everything we need in our lives is within our reach if we just open our eyes and put forth our hands. Within a day or two of receiving my packet, I read an editorial by C. Hope Clark in one of her online newsletters. She discussed her own feelings of inadequacy, and her fears that she would not measure up when faced with her peers. She reminded herself and her readers that we are works-in-progress, that we can only be who we are. But we each have a unique perspective, a story that no one else can tell. She resolved to get out there and do her best, learn all she could and share all she had.

My second reinforcement came from reading my homework. :-) In his introduction to The Best American Essays 2004, Louis Menand addresses the anxiety a writer faces of losing her “voice”. It helped me to realize that I am not alone, and heaven help me, misery does love company.

Since I am in such good company, I will borrow some of Hope’s resolve, and do my best, for myself and my classmates.

I apologize for the length of this post, but I had to get it out of my system. Remember, turnabout is fair play.

Reading Essays...

...and liking it. I guess the only essays I've been exposed to are the ones that I hear on Public Radio. Of course, I don't hear much because my husband usually switches to a sports station while mumbling some negative comment about essayists just as I am getting interested. I'm enrolled in Rob Wilder's essay workshop so I dutifully ordered The Best American Essays of 2004 from Amazon. After letting it sit unopened for a while, I started reading and now I can't stop. I was amazed by the range of emotion I experienced while reading Lara Hillenbrand's A Sudden Illness. Envy (Kathryn Chetkovich) was hard to read because I identified too closely. To be honest, I'm not sure why I enrolled in an essay writing class. Maybe it's because novel writing isn't fun anymore. Maybe it's because I'd like to finish something for a change. Or maybe it's because Rob Wilder is so darn cute (ooops). Guess I'd better get busy and try to write an essay. Looking forward to seeing y'all in Taos.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Spider Man Made Us Cry

Hey Friends,

Hope this post finds you well. I'm really looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones in Taos. Daddy Needs a Drink just came out in paperback and we're having a "Daddy Needs Your Stories" Father's Day Contest at I also just finished a reader's guide that might get me arrested. My new book Tales From the Teachers' Lounge will be out in the fall as well.

This past superhero weekend, my son London and I went to see Spiderman 3 with another dad and son combo. I won't spoil the film for you but let's just say that London wept at Peter Parker's uncle being shot over and over (enough already?) while my tears sprung from a most unflattering twist scene with Kirsten Dunst in a NYC kitchen, not to mention a narrative as fractured as Madonna falling off a horse. After that, we went to a comic book store for a free comic from a shifty-eyed man with a poorly trimmed beard. On Sunday, London went to a birthday party where Batman appeared with some apparent gender transformation issues. The kids didn't know whether to call the Caped Crusader "Batman," "Batgirl," or "Batwoman," or a combination of all three. Needless to say, London desperately wants him/her at our next soiree.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Colorado Springs?

Hello to all! I'm Sue, moving in the last month from Angel Fire, NM (23 miles from Taos) to Colorado Springs. Rather unexpectedly- never dreamed the house would sell before summer!

I'm a native New Mexican (from age 4) and know all of you from other parts of the country will love Taos. It's beautiful, unique and full of very talented artists.

I'm in Laura Dave's "Beginning your Novel" class and Evelina Zuni Lucero's "So the Story Goes" class. Short stories are my thing, but I am working on a novel. Although I've written all my life, I've only recently taken up fiction and I'm totally addicted.

If anyone has questions on NM in general, or Taos specifically, I'd be happy to answer them. Also, if any of you are in my classes - would love to me here! Sue


This is a very exciting blog! I'm glad someone thought to do it.

I'm going to be leading a weeklong novel-writing workshop, all about organization. I am a New Mexico native now living in Scottsdale. I've got four published novels floating around in the world. (THE DIRTY GIRLS SOCIAL CLUB, PLAYING WITH BOYS, MAKE HIM LOOK GOOD, HATERS)

I just turned in a sequel to my first novel, which will be published next spring. (DIRTY GIRLS ON TOP) In the coming months I will be negotiating all of the following: sale of my second young-adult novel (HATERS IN LOVE); sale of HATERS as a TV series to Nickelodeon; sale of my first memoir (THE PRETTY GIRL'S DAUGHTER).

I'm also hard at work on the screenplay adaptation of my first novel (THE DIRTY GIRLS SOCIAL CLUB) for a major motion picture being produced by Debra Martin Chase (SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS), myself, and Nely Galan.

Please feel free to ask me any questions you like, via this blog post (or my own blog, QUEEN SUCIA) - as long as they're about writing. Okay, writing and food.

Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Studying with Mueller and Wilder


I've lived in Taos for almost three years, but since I never considered myself a Writer, I never attended this conference. I write for the Taos News on a weekly basis, which is fun, and has allowed me to get acquainted with this quirky and wonderful town. (I realize that even though I've been paid for stringing words together for the last six years, and yet have never considered that writing, is an issue.)

I don't know what happened, but all of a sudden I think of myself as a writer (small w, though.) I'm taking Dan Mueller's narrative weekend workshop, and then will spend the week working on nonfiction with Rob Wilder. I'm torn between focusing on memoir (I've just started a long work about my freshman year in college) and short fiction. Maybe I'll do both, we'll see.

Looking forward to meeting you all.


Hello from Albuqerque

Hi everyone, my name is Terry, and this is my very first blog entry ever. Makes me laugh at myself because I am a little techno-phobic. Anyway, I signed up for Rob Wilder's Creative Nonfiction class, and am anticipating a week of learning and lots of give-and-take and maybe even some relaxing. :-)

I took a weekend class two years ago with Sean Murphy that was really enjoyable, met some wonderful people, and got the appetite for more.

For all of you not familiar with this area, I think it is probably the best place in the world to live. We generally have beautiful weather, friendly people, and more good food than a body needs. Bring your sunscreen and a big hat, dress in layers and drink lots and lots of water.

See you all soon,

Deadline fast approaching

I'm Jennifer... from San Diego. I am a blogger... I blog for for fun and for work (but that's fun too). Actually I'm in marketing so I do a lot more than blog at work... but that's another post!

I'm signed on for Gregory Martin's Master Class in memoir. I'm very excited. I started my book, Reconstructing My Mother in Greg's 2005 class. I signed up because the class looked interesting. Then I got the welcome letter that requested we send some 20 pages of our "manuscript" by such and such date. I didn't know I was working on a manuscript! Well, I'm still working on it 2 years later, and looking for a fresh perspective on what I've done so far.

Also looking forward to soaking up the literary environment at the Taos Conference. The readings, engaging with fellow writers, it's all good.

Friday, May 04, 2007


My name is Beatriz and I live in Chicago. I'll be in Pam Houston's short story workshop. I have attended many workshops and taught some as well. This is my first time in New Mexico and I am looking forward to the landscape, the sky, the air, the colors, the light. At least, that's what I've heard people rave about. Anyone else going from Chicago?


New Blogger

Hi, I'm not a Blogger, never been a blogger, never thought I would be one, but I am in Hilda Raz's 2007 summer poetry collection workshop, so here I am. I was at Taos last summer, but in connection with a photography workshop in Santa Fe. This is wonderful country for photography, don't know how I'll be able to stay inside. Any others out there in my workshop?


Greetings frm the Inland Empire

I'm Jeff and I'm from Moreno Valley, California. I am enrolled in Lisa Chavez's weekend poetry workshop and Greg Glazner's week-long workshop. I am mostly unpublished--my only credit being an article I wrote for Cinefex Magazine about the making of the movie Waterworld.

I am taking Lisa Chavez's weekend workshop and Greg Glazner's workshop--both poetry.

I teach high school English, lead a local ukulele circle, and keep a blog here.

My favorite color is blue, my favorite food is hamburgers, and I enjoy long walks in the woods.

This will be my fourth Taos conference.

Hi from New Mexico and welcome to our beautiful state!


My name is Michael Smith and I live in Los Alamos, NM (at least till my house sells...). I write poetry, and have attended several workshops, though this will be my first in Taos. I'll be attending Amy Beeder's weekend workshop. I've published a number of poems, but haven't thought much about a book - perhaps the workshop will push me off the edge...

In real life - see my blog.

Anyway, I look forward to meeting everyone. Ask if you have any questions about northern NM, what to expect etc.

Take care and safe travels,


Labels and Titles

Just a quick announcement - authors, we've added another category to our labels. If you're writing your introductory post, adding the word "greetings" in the "Labels for this post" box will make sure your post comes up in the greetings category.

The blog administrator (who will at least for this post remain anonymous...) just realized that she didn't enable titles for posts. That has been corrected, and there has been a little editing. If you don't like the title we've given your post, please feel free to change it.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Hello from Seattle

Hi -

My name is Leisa Ashbaugh. I am from Seattle and am very much looking forward to the conference. My first. It came highly recommended by a friend who has published several books.

I will be in the weekend publishing workshop and the week long Creative Non-fiction. I am planning a bit of an odyssey for myself, leaving Seattle June 30 and wandering my way down to Taos by way of Moab & Sedona. I know, neither of those is on the way to Taos from Seattle, but I have my reasons. = ) If you're lucky, and I have any of the noteworthy adventures I am counting on, I may even share more about that here.

I am working on my first two books, and my goal is to have two solid book proposals complete with sample chapters to bring along with me to the conference.

I look forward to meeting you all there.

Greetings from Colorado


My name is John Coyle and I'll be attending the weekend publishing workshop with Wendy Weil and also Robert Boswell's Fiction for Serious Writers workshop. I look forward to meeting everyone!

More to come but for now I just wanted to say I'm here ;)

Denver, Colorado

Hello from Western New York

I'm a virgin blogger and this is my first entry into that interesting realm. What better place could there be to start than with the Taos Summer Writers Conference, where'll I'll be a first-time attendee. I'm among the weekend group and look forward to meeting fellow writers and poetry instructor Amy Beeder, whose work I'm now studying. See you all in Taos in July.