So Let’s Dance The Last Dance

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Hello to the last day of 2012. Yes, today is the last dance. It should be a waltz, I think. A symphony of memories in three quarter time.

The past 365 days have been one hell of a ride. As the old saw goes, you tend to remember the bad things and forget the good. Uncharacteristically for me, when I look back on 2012 all I can remember is the good.

I worked my tail off this year, but I also got to make my first, second and third international journeys. I have emerged from those experiences a changed person. Changed for the better, to be sure.

I suffered the worst bout of writer’s block I have ever known. I’m still not quite over it, but through this block I learned to appreciate the art and craft of writing so much more. Suddenly I have to work a lot harder for every word I put on the page which makes me love every word that much more.

And after year’s worth of rejection letters for my stories and essays (well over 100 emails or paper letters saying “no”) I was finally rewarded by having an essay published. I didn’t think my essay full of hard words would find a home, but it turns out the editor of literary magazine Wild Violet saw something in it that worked for her and her editorial schedule. Boom, I was in.

I have much gratitude to editor Alyce Wilson for publishing my words. It is a beautiful feeling of satisfaction and it makes me want to work that much harder so I can have this feeling again. My next round of submissions went out just last week. May my words take flight in 2013.

The Good Man and I celebrated four years together and I love him more today than I ever have. In these four years I have learned a lot from him and have laughed a lot with him and have felt very safe and loved. That, my friends, is magic.

Standing on the precipice of 2013 there are some big changes coming up right away. Good changes. Happy changes. I’m scared spitless but isn’t that the best way to head into the New Year? Scared and happy and full of enough courage to dive in and not fade away.

I stand tall even if my knees are shaking, just a little.

And so are you by me? Beside me, to guide me, to hold me, to scold me, ’cause when I’m bad I’m so, so bad.

Let’s dance this last dance. The last dance, tonight.





It’s Please Recycle day! I think that should be a government holiday. Oh wait…..



Photo Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons License in the right column of this page. Taken with an iPhone5 and the Camera+ app.




The Next Best Thing

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Turns out world traveling makes me homesick more than ever for my homestate.

When I can’t pay my Fair New Mexico a visit in person, I have to go there in my mind.

A good book helps on that transcendental journey.

Time for a re-blog. This was first published May 16,2007.

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Viva los Libros!

I’m a fan of books, always have been. I have to say that The Flamenco Academy (chronicled here a few days back) has really fired me up lately. I haven’t read a book in a long while that made me feel like there is hope for popular fiction. And that a book set in New Mexico was so well done makes me double happy.

So I know this has been covered plenty of places elsewhere, but here’s my top five list of the best works of New Mexico fiction. These are the books that, in my opinion, make me proud to be a New Mexican.

Without further ado (in no particular order):


1) Red Sky at Morning by Richard Bradford

This is a quintessential read for anyone living in New Mexico. It ranks not just as one of my fave NM books, but one of my fave books of all time. The main character, Josh is brought from Alabama to New Mexico by his parents and is introduced to the clannish people of Northern New Mexico, including the bully Chango. The scene where he and his buddy get liquored up remains a classic. I almost always quote from it when I, myself, tie one on. A classic, truly. And an easy choice for the list.

2) Bless me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

One of those books that gave me a wry smile as I read it. One of those where you nod as you read, thinking “yeah, that’s familiar”. Anaya is a beautiful writer and it is an honor to be a fellow New Mexican with a man of his caliber. This coming of age story is a nice contrast of old vs new, how Hispanic culture rolls into American culture in a way that is beautifully unique to New Mexico. It’s lyrical in the storytelling and a must read.

3) The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols

Yeah. This had to be here. You know it did. When I’m homesick I put on the movie to see the land as much as anything. It’s a salve for my soul, always. The book was a little tough for me to get through, but worth the effort. It really captures the feeling of that time in New Mexico in the 1970’s. It also captures a little bit of that magic that can only be found on My Fair home state. Milagro Beanfield War always takes me right back home, effortlessly.

4) Cavern by Jake Page

A thriller about a group of spelunkers who explore a hidden cavern and discover a near extinct species of bear…who is none to happy to be bothered. Not a particularly great novel by most standards, but it does speak to a bunch of interesting things including a fairly detailed explanation about how the caverns, including Carlsbad Caverns, were formed. Both my parents worked for a while at the WIPP site, so this book also showed the ongoing battle of all the government agencies involved out there. DOE, Environmental groups, BLM and private interests do war daily and there is some discussion of WIPP in the book and how it may affect things in that geographic area.

My mom turned me on to this book and laughed at how true to life some parts of the book were portrayed. Working at WIPP left her a bit…scarred…so it was good for her to see it in print. Validating, you know? For me, it was a fascinating read and name checked a lot of places I know from living in Carlsbad, including some truly dive bars (including the one frequented by miners, ranchers, roughnecks and college kids. They stopped serving beer in bottles because there had been too many fights. But on a good night, the dancing was unbeatable).

5) Anything for Billy by Larry McMurtry

Ok, not technically a New Mexico book but about a New Mexico legend (Feh to the Texas town that claims ownership. FEH! I say!) and certainly New Mexico figures into the story. I am a massive fan of McMurtry and this is my favorite of all his books. He portrays Billy as a young, impulsive, spoiled, petulant brat. It’s fabulous. To me it was a fresh look at an old legend and to do that takes a talent that Mr. McMurtry has in spades.

You’ll note my list is strangely devoid of Hillerman books. I’m actually not a fan. My mom is an avid reader of his stuff. I am not. : shrug : I’ve got no issues with Hillerman, it’s just not my taste.

Lois Duncan is another author I’m proud to know is New Mexican. As a kid I avidly read all her stuff. Loved her writing and always got geeked out when we saw her at the Coronado Club at Kirtland Airforce Base. My mom would point her out to me. Her husband worked at Sandia Labs like my dad so she’d wait there (like we did) for her husband to get off work. Those were fun sunny summer days as a family. I tend to associate Duncan with that time in my life.

I know there are probably a bunch of good choices I’m missing, but for now, that’s my list. I reserve the right to add, delete and change the list as we go.






Ponder

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Sometimes I wonder how I manage to still be living in California.

Sometimes I wonder how I could ever live anywhere else.


Happy sunny New Years Eve from the coast at Half Moon Bay.



“Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.” – Mary Schmich



Image Copyright 2011, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license found in the far right column of this page. Taken with an iPhone4s and the Camera+ app.