Monday, July 28, 2008

July 27 - August 2, 2008: San Antonio, TX


For one precious week out of each year, we come to Macondo to share our work, to learn from each other, to befriend one another, and to re-commit ourselves to our writing in a supportive environment. We have an opportunity to create the world we would like to live in every day — to create a kind, generous, respectful, creative, and passionate community. We also have an opportunity to be our most generous selves — engaging in the daily work of creating Macondo, checking our egos at the door, recognizing the divine spark within others, fostering creativity and well-being in others, and sharing what we most authentically can offer.

In order for this work of creating community to flourish, it is necessary to establish certain boundaries. These boundaries are not meant to curtail individual freedoms or to spoil anyone’s fun. Rather, they are self-preserving and community-preserving. To put it simply, we forefront the practice of mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a spiritual cornerstone derived from Macondo’s Buddhist, Feminist, communal, and activist roots. It is a practice motivated by having witnessed marginalization in our communities, and it is a compassion applied with the resolve to treat each other better. We approach each other as guests from different worlds, with the common impulse to create. Mindfulness serves to ensure that we, as individuals and as a group, envision and re-vision what compels us to work together towards the Macondo mission of art for humanity’s sake.

This is not to say that we avoid conflict. Because we are a community of writers learning to be better artists and better people, we understand that in questioning the world, we sometimes question each other. In many cases, the friction between our fruitfully disturbed worlds necessitates another Macondo virtue — learning from Difference. We acknowledge that respectful disagreements can be extremely productive in many settings, including our workshops. Even when it is uncomfortable, challenging each other’s work or ideas is an essential part of growing and learning — as writers, activists, and human beings.

Many of us come from places where we’ve been involved in long-term conflicts and have learned extremely valuable survival skills, including persistence, skepticism, and a willingness to confront others. But in declaring ourselves present, we do not get to silence anyone else. In fact, such behavior is paradoxical. Our community is collective; by suppressing another voice, we shut an unrecognized part of ourselves down. Everything is an ongoing discussion. No one should consciously or unconsciously be working to shut down dialogue. No one can expect to have the last word or to persuade everyone of the rightness of their opinion. Our words can only open the next door, the one out to a night time back yard where we realize how small we stand beneath the sky.

* ---from here at the Macondo Foundation website

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