I am so glad I don't have another trip for a while. When I have to travel a lot, I feel as if I never really land. I am always thinking of my next take-off date.
I am reminded of the story about the man who was afraid of flying . . . One day he finally had to board a plane. Afterwards, when asked how it went, he answered that it was just fine. Why? Because he never put his feet down.
My pathetic Spanish has finally gotten to the point where I can understand a bit but am way too slow to answer as effectively as I'd like. I can hear people talking about me. Like the man ahead of me in line saying to his pal that all gringos look alike. Like the woman, looking at my daughter and me, commenting that American women are really skinny but sure can eat a lot. And another man asking his friend why my husband would let me travel alone. American men let their wives do all kinds of things . . .
I actually spoke more Spanish in Miami. The Miami Book Fair is a mad house. But Denise Duhamel and Nick Carbo are the nicest, greatest poets and people ever.
I found two new authors to love madly: Abigail Thomas and Marlena Morling.
About El Salvador: there were some icky things . . . the armed guards with their big guns, the heat, the poverty, and the smell of burning plastic. (How else, folks ask, are we to take care of the garbage problem? The smell is nauseating.) Also, I never knew a cockroach could grow as big as my hand . . .
Good things . . . the beaches of El Salvador are beautiful. The village where Suzanne works is really pretty . . . up in the hills, and everyone is so friendly and welcoming. (Okay, so they all come to their doors and stare.) And I loved the kids in our poetry class. The kids were so happy to have their own packet of poems to take home, to have a chance to write their own poems . . .
When Suzanne and I went running, the kids from every house raced out into the streets and ran with us. Packs of kids . . . ending back at her house for water and giggles.
AWP in Minneapolis, and recommended reading
3 weeks ago