Cullen Curtiss




Monday, July 18, 2005

a connected life

Before leaving for a little vacation on the East Coast where I am originally from, I went to hear the lovely and talented Julia Alvarez read and answer questions at St. John's College. Much of what she said made sense to me ... as a writer, as a woman, and as a human being searching for the meaning of home. This Dominican woman's home is now the United States and she has done all of the hard work it takes to make it so. That said, it seems all of the color in her speech and her imagination comes from the contrast between the Dominican Republic and America. This is relevant to me because I feel like a stranger to New Mexico and New Mexico is a stranger to me. This is always apparent, but having just returned from a tour of my roots, I am particularly curious about what it all means.

In answer to a question about how she comes up with ideas for her stories, Ms. Alvarez declared that if you live a connected life, your mind will be ripe. Family, friends, community, an awareness of lanscape and a sense of global curiosity and responsibility all play a part. I gather that while her people weren't necessary next door, they were close, she was connected. I realized that she had put a nifty name to something I strive for. While I was on the East Coast with my family and friends in a landscape that raised me, I felt so connected that flying away was a bit wrenching. Like leaving the bosom, leaving the womb. But I take all of the feelings to heart. If Ms. Alvarez can find home in Middlebury, VT, I can certainly try my very best in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


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