Saturday, August 4, 2007

Macondo: third dispatch

Noche de Macondo 2007
Esperanza Peace and Justice Center

By far one of the highlights of the week, this annual event is an example of how Macondo has become a vital presence in San Antonio. I won't attempt to summarize the evening but offer two thoughts I had at evening's end. First: the manner in which Tammy Gomez provides humor, commentary and an occasional piece of her own, the way she seamlessly weaves her words from one reader to the next, was engaging and enhanced the overall experience of the event. I spoke to her afterwards and this is something she is very intentional about. Hats off to her: she's making MC-ing a performance art form of its own. Second: I'm finding that I quite enjoy events where one gets to hear a sampling by a number of writers. All of the performers were exemplary in the way they presented their work---meaning: there was just the right dose and type of comments between the two or so pieces each performed.

The performers last tonight were:

Monica Palacios
Yael Flusberg
liz gonzález
Carlos Cumpian
Steven Cordova
Daisy Hernandez
Angie Chau
T. Jackie Cuevas
Alex Espinoza
Lucha Corpi
Joy Harjo (accompanied by Larry Mitchell)


I haven't been in a workshop this week so it has offered me a different perspective than last year, when I was. With a day and a half to go, what I continue to find nourishing is the fellowship. It's been rewarding to renew ties with writers I met last year, as well as making new meaningful ones this year. Sandra, as always, inspires with her vision, with what she has accomplished with Macondo so far---and where she wants to go with it from here. And yet, she never tires of underscoring the fact that this workshop would not exist without the generosity of so many people, writer and non-writer alike, and she's right. But I would add that this is possible, in my view, because Sandra's personal generosity is such that one can't help but want to pitch in. I'll mention one more name because she coined a phrase at the beginning of the week which seems to capture one essential part of the Macondo spirit. I'm working from memory here. María Limón said:

Macondo is a deliberate act of community...

There is a second part but I don't recall it precisely enough to quote. I'll ask her later and report back.

Con Tinta

And yet Macondo is not re-inventing the wheel. My experience this week reminded me of the work CON TINA does with their annual pachanga at AWP. For some reason I appreciate these gatherings more after this week. (Not that I didn't appreciate them before). Case in point: it's been at the past CT gatherings that I've been able to re-connect with Manuel Munoz, who I had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with a few times in the summer of 2002 in NYC. Those of us who know him are excited about his being named a finalist for the Frank Connor Prize in Ireland for his latest short story collection. Eduardo C. Corral recently linked his blog to Manuel's nuanced op-ed piece, published recently in The New York Times. Manuel is on a roll---congratulations!

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