Before I traveled to Paris, I wondered what it was about the city of lights that so intrigued authors and stimulated so much writing for hundreds of years. But after visiting, the mystery eluded me no longer. Paris is romantic. And I don’t mean it’s a great place to inspire love affairs and spark old flames, though it is. I mean romantic in the most prevailing way—mystical, exciting, exotic, fantastical. One can lose themselves in the narrow cobble-stoned side streets, the medieval architecture, the multitude of cafes and museums, the sparkling Eiffel Tower and the lights reflected on the flowing Seine. In Paris, there is endless inspiration.
This summer, for our 10th anniversary, my husband and I decided to take our first trip alone in eight years to Paris, the dreamiest place we could think of. Since we are both writers, I wanted to try to experience Paris the way ex-pat writers did back in the day. Of course, there were also a million other things we wanted to do. I realized that the best plan was to spend the morning writing in cafes and give our afternoons over to tourism. Continue Reading →
My photo was chosen for this month’s Postcard Fiction Collaborative. It was taken at the most amazing green sand beach in South Point on the Big Island of Hawaii. A three mile walk in, we paid a guy with a dune buggy to drive us in in order to avoid the complaints from our six-year-old, but the dune buggy ended up being a lot of fun in itself. Those are my toes in the foreground. Beaches seem to inspire a range of responses from our writers. Check it out here.
Chilaxing in Vilcabamba, Ecuador
Yes, I have returned from my three month trip to Ecuador with my husband and five-year-old daughter. After traveling in Latin America for 6 years, I finally took the opportunity to learn some Spanish. Not sure why I waited so long. Perhaps because my husband speaks Spanish. By the time we left, I still could not understand most of what people were saying to me, but I could find a way to communicate most things I needed to say. I realize now, what I always suspected to be true, I need to be immersed in a language in order to learn it.
It is wonderful to be back in my home country where I can understand everything that is going on around me (even more so now that I know some Spanish.) It’s great to see friends and sleep in my own comfy bed (all the beds in Ecuador were incredibly hard.) In retrospective, I can see how truly relaxed I was in our little apartment in Cuenca where all the busy work of my daily life was put aside for a while. I read a dozen novels, started a new manuscript, and hung out in coffee shops all afternoon. Knowing how much I can accomplish if I prioritize, I have returned with a new sense of motivation that I plan to enact any day now.
I’m in Ecuador, so if you try to call me, it may be a few days before I get your message. Email is the best way to contact me. I will be living in the city of Cuenca in the southern Sierras with my husband and 5-year-old daughter for the next three months, until the end of January. We rented a little apartment right in the center of the city, just to make it so completely different from our rural home back in New Mexico, as if the fact that we don’t speak the language wasn’t foreign enough. However, we are all studying Spanish diligently. My daughter is doing her studying mostly on the playground. I am just a beginner, but I have noticed that I can understand a little bit more each day. I expect my husband will close to fluent by the time we leave.
Usually while travelling in foreign countries, I like to read books by local authors. This is how I discovered one of my favorite authors, Cesear Aira, last year while traveling in Argentina. However, most Ecuadorian authors, even the most famous ones, have not been translated into English, so I am having a difficult time finding books of Ecuadorian literature to read. My Spanish teacher is a student of writing and was very excited when she learned I am a writer. We started translating Julio Cortazar in class. I suggested she consider becoming a translator; her country certainly needs more.