and I’m in…Taos, NM—home of DH Lawrence and Frank Waters and another author whom I’ll talk about in a minute—perhaps my favorite summer getaway so far. The small town feel of this artistic community reminds me of some of the good things I left behind in Vermont. It is a bit touristy, but then again, so was Vermont. Anyway, when tourists are around, you can be sure there are plenty of things to do, like:
Eat New Mexican food. Not the same as the “southwestern” fare we get in AZ. The red chili here gives me a nice beer-like buzz and brings me back to a time when I played guitar on the streets of Albuquerque.
Sit around enjoying the late afternoon monsoon rains.
Go to the Taos Pueblo and chat with the merchants-inhabitants. I learned a trick from one of the artists: if you want to paint/draw a portrait, turn the photograph you’re painting/drawing from upside-down. You’ll be forced to pay attention to the lines and forms that are actually there, not what you imagine ought to be there. If only I knew this before I attempted a portrait of my husband (which is unfortunately hanging proudly in his office like a finger painting that lingers on the fridge.)
Walk over the Rio Grande gorge bridge. Or chicken out, like I did. To be fair, Geordie kept sticking his head vertiginously through the railing. And it was windy. Very windy. And there were telephones set up at various points along the bridge to connect suicidal folks to a help hotline. (What happens when you hit the red button? I don’t know. But now I wonder whether they, too, would get stuck listening to elevator music.)
Visit the ranch of D.H. Lawrence. Haven’t done this yet…
Take a writing workshop. Looks like there’s even a master class devoted to Sci-Fi and Fantasy writing.
Take other arty farty workshops (painting, pottery, etc.)
Do the galleries, of course.
Shop at thrift stores, spice stores, gem and mineral stores, etc.
Visit an earthship. Dream of living off the grid? Yeah, me neither. But I am curious.
I think the sunroom in our rental looks a bit like an earthship:
Check out a flamenco performance. Well, this would be top on my list except I failed to check the dates on all the flamenco offerings in the area when I booked our vacation rental, and I just so happened to barely miss everything. There’s even a class in Taos, but that’s on Mondays and I found out about it too late. BOO! Also, the huge flamenco festival in Albuquerque is going on right now, but that’s 2+ hours away and booked up for the days we’ll be passing through. So. Next time, next time.
Here’s my awkward transition…
Back in May we had our annual flamenco showcase in the courtyard of what once was Linda Ronstadt’s home. About 100(?) people all in all showed up for our amateur dance performance, tapas, paella and sangria. (The last three items played a crucial role in the turnout, no doubt.)
Here’s a little video of my Sevillanas solo. It’s blurry and awkward—that’s a very long story which involves a shattered iPad screen, an ancient camcorder, and two daffy philosophers who couldn’t manage to do something as simple as hit a record button. Anyhow, I had way too much fun patching together other people’s footage with iMovie. I went for the “vintage” filter—I figure if it’s gonna be blurry, I might as well own it:
Now, back to the last Taos topic…
A friend in our book club happened to be coming to Taos at the same time we were, so we met up with him and his wife and had lunch and wandered about town. While we were in a bookstore, he introduced me to this:
The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols.
Joe Mondragon, a 35-year old Chicano handyman cuts water illegally into his father’s fallow beanfield, and all hell breaks loose. It’s a big novel about a small town New Mexico tempest in a teapot that threatens to start a civil war. With 200 colorful local characters and a ribald sense of humor, it’s probably my best-known novel. Book reviewers called it “funny,” “irreverent,” “poignant,” “wondrously fresh and alive,” “zesty,” “affectionate” “a wholly first-rate comic novel” and so forth, yada yada.
I’m enjoying reading this. It’s light, it’s fun, it’s well-written (and in omniscient, which is hard hard hard to do) and it makes references to landmarks in this area. But more than that, it’s hilarious. I highly recommend it.
Well, that’s about it for me. Still working on the novel…
How are things with you? Any plans for the summer? Do you have a favorite road trip destination? Or a favorite summer read?