La Manzanilla, Mexico, where you’ll find a beautiful beach, a mangrove that features 200 resident American crocodiles and dozens of species of gorgeous birds, warm Pacific waters with a gentle surf, jaw-dropping sunsets, friendly people (Mexican and otherwise), a vendor’s market on Friday, many good restaurants with freshly caught fish, and for a few intense and exciting days last week, a gathering of ten women who’d come for a writing retreat.
And write we did: a story from six prompts written in three-minute bursts; three-word sentences detailing a ten-year period of our life; answering the question: “Why I write,” inspired by Terry Tempest Williams’s gorgeous essay; writing “The Moment,” after which everything was different; responding to prompts and more prompts and reading our work aloud, not for critique but to hear the sound of our voices, and generally claiming our truths, telling our stories, and supporting one another as we did our work.
And we laughed—that raucous, from-the-belly, loud and bawdy laughter that happens when any group of wild women come together and share their stories. In fact, it may have been the vibrations from our laughter that caused the volcano at not-so-distant Colima to erupt on Friday afternoon.
There were tears, too, the kind that come when we go to those old and authentic places. This is when we understand how deep writing can go and the women hold the space holy and honor the story and the storyteller in silent support.
Ten women times three full days of writing, plus good food, walks on the beach, a little shopping, a little music, a little dancing, and energy flaring into bright explosions of language. Ten women gathered on a shaded porch, creating community and writing their stories. This is Wild Women, Wild Voices Mexican-style.
Thank you Harriet, Judy, Jenny, Margaret, Sandy, Amelia, Patricia, Glenda, and Gloria for inviting me and for the unforgettable experience we created in La Manzanilla.