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Writers, Writers Everywhere But Not a Word to Read

Pulling up the trees along Avenue Guadalupe
***

"If you want something done, give it to someone who is already busy."
- Anonymous

by Dr David, Publisher / Editor

I am looking for writers. I hit up every interesting person I meet to contribute articles to this magazine, as many of you can personally attest.

But not everybody can write. Like music or drawing, writing is an art. Talent and the cultivation of that talent is required. A sentence has rhythm and flow... accents... like water cascading down a stream; splish, splash, swish, splunk. Then, of course, you have to have something to say.

Recently, I have offered, in series, a position writing for the magazine to four young people, three ladies and a guy. (To say "three women and a man" might imply a level of maturity which was not present.)

****

The first young lady lived in my apartment, while I was living up the hill with Veronica. She occupied my otherwise vacant apartment in exchange for three articles a week. Anyway, that was the idea. She was a pretty vagabond, whom I met at the Fabrica Art Walk. New to town, at the time she was living in a hostel in exchange for rent. At the time, she told me that she was a writer. Failing to produce anything like three articles a week, she kept counseling me to be patient.

Her first articles required near total rewriting. Then, she got somewhat better at organizing her theme; "Be patient, I'm learning." Still, her insights were somewhat less than profound. Perfunctory is the word that comes to mind.

She kept to herself, very much alone, doing without, suspicious. I kept expecting something brilliant to emerge, but the truth is she didn't have a lot to say or write.

I inherited a cat some years ago. He's a skinny little savage, who never retracts his claws, whether playing or blissfully kneading your belly. He's cute enough curled up asleep on his cushion, but a nervous assassin when awake. She got along very well with the cat. Both of them are anti-social, more than a little feral.

Why wipe your paintbrushes on the flannel pillowcase when there are clean rags a few steps away? Why smear the towel with your menstrual blood after you shower, and then not immediately rinse it out, while you still can? The apartment, adjacent to which I maintain my office, was a wreck.

She became very active in the effort to save the trees on Avenue Guadalupe, forming part of the vigil every night from 11pm to 2-3am, regularly attending afternoons, all the while, failing to produce more than one article each week. I complained, "You are riding in my wagon and helping push someone else's." I told her, "Lokkal is the macro web site that will organize the community and help, not only the effort to save the trees, but all efforts to improve the city."

She understood. She agreed. But she just couldn't get it in gear.

Sucker for a pretty face that I am, still, I asked her to leave. To her credit, she left quickly, saying thank you and goodbye. I'm still discovering things that she lost or ruined.

****

Saturday mornings I drop off Veronica and her goods at the market. I schlep the bags in, leave her to set up and go park the car. This I usually do alongside Parque Guadiana, in whose yet dewy grass, I then do my morning yoga.

Last Saturday, while I am in the middle of the standing poses, I notice a new face across the park. Young and pretty, in a bulky sweater, plastic bag in hand, she lingers there. When I am doing the kneeling poses, she draws a little closer. When I begin the sitting forward bends, she comes nearer still. I wave her over. She, and her exuberant dog, come right up. From England, she and her boyfriend, fresh out of college in California, are living in and touring Mexico in his van, which is parked along the other side of the park.

We chat through my forward bends, my spinal twists and my reclining poses. Excusing myself to go to the market, she tells me that she and her boyfriend are coming to the market. I invite her to say hello when they do.

They do, and it is revealed, among the market's hurly burly, that they are both freelance writers, and that he is also a poet. It is also revealed, without her bulky sweater, and without her saying so, that her thin frame has been made thinner yet by a restricted budget. I invite them to dinner that night. They accept.

The evening is a grand success. Before dinner, I invite them to shower. They confess that they have been bathing in the Presa. I look disgusted. He asks if the water of the Presa is contaminated. I look disgusted. He admits, that with disposable diapers along the shore, he had his suspicions. She observes, patting the back of her head, that repeated immersions in that water have matted her hair. I try not to look disgusted. Yet, strangely she refuses my offer to shower, citing her need for special shampoo and conditioner. I assure her that my shampoo and conditioner are indeed special.

I am overcome by the irony of her bathing with her boutique shampoo and body wash in the chemically contaminated waters of the lake while who knows what floats by. He accepts my offer to shower and she follows suit.


The Presa
***

Dinner, my Asian vegetables, is a grand success. We speak of them parking their van alongside my house and sharing my space, office, kitchen, shower, while they write for my magazine. "If you write articles about them you can attend events for free. You can barter articles for goods and services. Eventually, you can continue your travels through Mexico, sending back articles, for which I will pay cash money. We can even publish some of your poems." He confesses that San Miguel has grown on them. He is enthusiasticly interested in my proposal. She, more reticent, at evening's end, turns downright cold.

The next day I write him an email, clarifying my terms and expectations. Two days later I receive this reply:

David,

J and I have decided that we're going to move on soon and continue our travels through Mexico.

If you still want me to write remotely for the Sunday column, that's something I may be interested in, but note that due to my current financial situation, I'm unable to work for less than my professional freelance wage (about $60 per 1,000 words give or take). Let me know how you feel about this.

All the best my friend,
M

Someone (and a skinny someone at that) has rained on our parade. I feel that after such an evening, I have the right to expect, if not poetry, than at least a warmer tone and a thank you, but perhaps I am old fashioned.

It may be sour grapes, but, while she may be fine writing for her corporate client, I doubt that she knows herself well enough to put her heart into her work, and that's what I'm after.

****

Most recently, I had dinner with another young lady with aspirations to write. She also is new in town, brought here from Cozumel by trumpeter Luis Gasca to write his biography. She's looking for something to do now that Luis has left town for the winter. I gave her my business card when we met at the rabbi's house. She called.

I have to admit that since I got over my "girl-craziness" a certain charm has departed from the feminine sex. Still, we have a lot in common, both having been orthodox Jews, both from (or almost from) New York.

My passion for the project is infectious. The project itself is fantastic. She loves the food. She is enthusiastic about joining up.

The next day I receive the following message:

"It was great meeting yesterday. Thank you again for the delicious dinner. I am definitely thinking about submitting articles to you. G-d willing, November will offer me time to do so!"


I love the exclamation mark, but I'm not holding my breath.

The Zen master, held up the beautiful tea cup, just given to him as a gift, and said, "For me this cup is already broken." I can't be disappointed because I am no longer expecting anyone to do it for me (see my article Avoiding the Accident At Last). I remain composed and composing. Of course, if you think you might like to write an article...

**************


photo: Alessandro Bo (cropped)

Dr. David welcomes you to San Miguel Sunday. Anyone with any interest in contributing articles is heartily encouraged to contact him at the email below. The "Best City in the World" deserves a good Lokkal magazine.

events @ sanmiguelevents.com

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