Chingonas, Strong Women, Uncategorized, Writing

A Community of Writers

On my first evening here, I stood outside of my casita at 11:30 p.m., and waited for the Perseid showers to jet across the indigo New Mexican sky. The big dipper appeared to balance itself on a deep purple mesa in front of me. In that moment, I felt the celestial showers celebrated the end of my first day at Ghost Ranch in Abiqui, New Mexico.

My Casita at Ghost Ranch
My Casita at Ghost Ranch

In this moment I am grateful. I am in awe of the experience I will be blessed with during this week. Imagine, a community of 100 women from all over the world gathered here to write, share, listen. By that very act, the community creates, inspires, enlightens.

There’s nowhere I’d rather be than right here, right now. I’m on my second day of a weeklong retreat. Ghost Ranch is a magical place, not only because of its surrounding red and creme striped cliffs, purple mesas, and huge trees, but because of who is here-a community of writers and poets brought together by the A Room Of Her Own (AROHO) Foundation.

Imagine the visual beauty, while walking to the dining hall on a dusty path, while rabbits scurry and deer graze on the surrounding hills. Where the scent of sage, hay, and clean air visit.  While a rainbow leads the way.

rainbow over Ghost Ranch
rainbow over Ghost Ranch

After breakfast, we come together and hear soul touching poetry and words that sink into our bodies, lift us up or carry us away. More than once we feel the presence of strong women (bien chignonas), not in their personalities, but because of their passion for what they do. We carry journals and laptops, pens and little notebooks, jotting down words that fly around us, hoping to capture the feelings and presence of this experience. Others take photos, sketch or use watercolors to capture the essence of this place.

It’s good to be in community.

AROHO, Chingonas, Dreams, Goals, How to be a Chingona, Travel, Uncategorized, Writing

Ghost Ranch, Greek Myths, and Writing

Sunset over Sandstone at Ghost Ranch. Gettyimages.

My bags aren’t packed yet for my trip tomorrow to Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico, because one of the kids beat me to the washing machine this morning. I’m not stressing though because I am still drifting on a dream.

Last January I thought about my goals for the year. The intention word to myself was “Create.” To make the word more concrete, I found and filled out a printable called “Roadmap to My Dreams.”  In the area “bravery is a matter of belief, and I believe I can…” I listed “…submit my writing for a fellowship, contest, anthology, or magazine.”

In a matter of days I came across the website for A Room Of Her Own (AROHO): A Foundation for Women Writers. One of my writing buddies, Florencia, attended in 2012 and talked about her life changing experiences.  Applications for fellowships would close in three weeks. The chatter in my head kept me thinking about this challenge. There are thousands of writers who would love to attend a weeklong retreat filled with writers, poets, and published authors leading workshops. Should I or shouldn’t I submit for a fellowship.

I reminded myself of Sandra Cisneros’ “How To Be A Chingona in 10 Easy Steps.

Step One: Live for your own approval. Center yourself. Be alone. Create your own space.

There was that word again: Create. That is just what I needed to recharge myself. I submitted my application with a 10 page writing sample and was accepted. Writing is usually lonely and acknowledgements don’t come as often as rejection letters, so honestly, this award surprised the s*it out of me.

As a double bonus, I will be at Ghost Ranch during the peak time for the Perseid meteor showers. This display is named after the constellation Perseus, the hero of ancient Greek myth born from a shower of celestial gold. For three or four nights the sky will be pelted with shooting stars and fireballs.

The big city dweller that I am, I’ve never seen more than one shooting star before. But I can imagine that the expansive New Mexican sky will be sprinkled with brilliant heavenly dust. I’ll thank the stars, the universe, and God for giving me this experience, this impetus to move forward and keep writing.

Perseids Meteor Shower. Getty images.
Perseids Meteor Shower. Getty images.