Wednesday, July 25, 2007

2:00 am

I woke up at 2:00 a.m. thinking of the conference and the people I met for the first time, and those I happily saw again after getting to know them last year. Thank you for being honest, being kind, giving me the space to both trip and shine, and being a fellow lover of learning.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007


So far, I am completely impressed with New Mexico, the Taos Writer's conference, and Rob Wilder's workshop. I have never dared to call myself a writer before this week. Figures I would try it when I am surrounded by older, wiser, published people. But in a burst of confidence (inspired partly by R. Rodriguez's gallant address), I have decided I don't mind. In fact, I'm glad to be in a community where I am challenged. I can't be lazy, short-sighted, or ego-obsessed in a room full of other, better writers. But neither can I be insecure, hesitant, or safe.
So there I am, balancing my laptop on the wall outside the Comfort Suites in front of God and everyone, deciding to be daring.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Fish Fear This Man

I'm happy to report that John is feeling much less abandoned since he has discovered the joys of flyfishing. He spent the day in Culebra, Colorado terrorizing the rainbow and brown trout.

Brenda from Falls writing with a clean conscious

Organic Prop

I am addicted to writing workshops so imagine my surprise when I heard a term yesterday I had never heard before in a workshop - organic prop. Eureka. I was able to use my new tool to breathe life into a piece I had given up for dead. Just goes to show that my grandmama was right. What you are looking for IS always in the last place you look!

Last night John and I took a long, long, long ride looking for a restaurant that wasn't there. It was a beautiful ride - along the high road from Taos to Santa Fe. But we never found the restaurant we were looking for. We doubled back and stopped at Embudo Station on highway 68 about 17 miles south of Taos next to the Rio Grande. I had been there before. Once a few years ago on my way to a workshop with Natalie Goldberg - and long ago in 1971 when I lived there with a small group in what could only generously be called a commune. This wasn’t the kind of commune that is made up of idealistic hippies in geodesic domes, raising their own food and having mudding parties. There were communes like that - New Buffalo and Morning Star – but this was really a collection of cabins inhabited by a bunch of strangers with nothing more in common than empty pockets and a distrust of authority. There were ten of us. Most of the men all carried guns and they were kinder to their dogs than they were to their old ladies. Alan and Frank were the leaders. It took me a few days to get accustomed to the sight of Frank roaming around the grounds with a pistol in his hand. He was tall and wiry with long curly black hair and a beard. Alan was shorter but solid with close cropped blonde hair. He looked like he had just gotten out of prison or the army. Alan assigned us one of the small cabins behind the main house. There were 6 cabins connected to the main house by a wooden walkway. Our cabin had a narrow bed, a table with one chair and a stove made from an oil drum. The cabin was freezing in the morning. Since I woke up first I would get up and start the fire using brush and pinion wood. There was one window. It looked out on the rocky hills behind the commune. I passed the days wandering along the trails that ran behind the commune. On warm days when the sun warmed the rocks I would lie down on them and watch the clouds.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Workshop Mode

I'm happy in an Amarillo hotel room. It's not a particularly nice one. Setting seems to move down the priority list on an adventure like this. A week where I'll be encouraged to stay in my head is something I've been looking forward to.

I'm in Antonya Nelson's short fiction workshop. This is the second time I've had to leave Texas to do a workshop with a writer that lives in Houston. I live in Houston. What a fantastic excuse to travel.

I'm online because naturally, during the many hours that I've had to myself in the car, thinking about writing and listening to books on tape, I discovered a few ways to improve the short story I'm bringing. The short story that I printed 13 copies of at my local a thousand miles ago. So, I'm looking online for a place to print out the new version of my story once I'm in Taos. The white box full of paper sitting on my passenger seat is now obsolete.

I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible. Huzzay Huzzay!

I'm Here!!

Good morning fellow writers! It was after midnight when I arrived so I haven't seen much of the Land of Enchantment yet. Looking forward to meeting y'all soon.

Brenda from Falls Church VA

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Reading Schedule

Hi everyone,

We've finalized the schedule for our faculty and scholarship-recipient readings:

Saturday, 1 - 1:45pm: Bonnie Lee Black, Taos Resident scholar & Orlando White, Native Writer scholar

Monday, 1 - 2pm: D.H. Lawrence Fellow Philip Cioffari, Hispanic Writer Felicia Caton Garcia, Leo Love Merit Scholars Nancy Best & Marjorie Saiser, & A Room of Her Own recipient Wendy Miles

All of the following Masters Faculty readings, which are scheduled at lunchtime from 1 - 2pm, will begin with a 45-minute open mic:

Tuesday: Judith Van Gieson
Wednesday: Greg Martin
Thursday: Justin Cronin
Friday: Hilda Raz & John Dufresne

Finally, all of our other faculty readings will take place during weekday evenings, 5:30 - 6:30pm:

Pam Houston, Greg Glazer, Barbara Robinette Moss, & Robert Boswell

Anthony Doerr, Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, Leslie Adrienne Miller, & Jesse Lee Kercheval

Laura Dave, Jeff Davis, Antonya Nelson, & Rob Wilder

We look forward to seeing everyone there!