San Miguel Literary Sala - San Miguel Literary Sala, A.C. is a non-profit organization in Mexico

October 13, 2016: Literary Sala Readings

Date: Thursday, October 13, 2016
Time: 5:00–7:00 p.m.
Location: Hotel Aldea
Ancha de San Antonio #15

Admission: $50 pesos for Literary Sala members, $100 for non-members. Includes wine reception. Tickets available at the door.

Two Journeys, One Deep Within and One To The Far Corners of the World

By Carole Schor

The Literary Sala is pleased to present Don Cramer, author of Where is Whitney Now, and Agnes Olive, Letters from Pakistan, two stories about two different kinds of journeys. The event will take place on October 13 at 5:00 PM at the Aldea Hotel.

Don Cramer

Don CramerDon Cramer found his true love Whitney and expected to spend a wonderful, wonder-filled long life with the love of his life. But his life didn’t happen as he’d expected or hoped. At the young age of 57, Whitney was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, perhaps the scariest and least understood of all diseases, one that takes down both the patient and the caregiver. While the patient slips slowly out of life and deeper into unconsciousness and the unknown, the caregiver tries to hold on to a sense of normalcy and a way to keep a grip on his own existence and life. What Don didn’t anticipate was that Whitney would hang on, not for the five years given to most Alzheimer’s patients, but to years and years and years—now 12 years since her diagnosis.

Don’s book details his life as Whitney slipped away, the day-to-day challenges that faced him as the caregiver, the constant vigilance, the need to take on ever-increasing responsibilities, the social and financial pressures, the heartbreaking estrangement, the desperate need for help, plus understanding how to cope with the massive changes he faced as his loved one’s brain became more and more compromised.

Don tells of the support he found from some friends and from a caregivers’ support group. He describes his desperation to find help, the stress of his lonely journey, and the hopelessness he felt in his attempts to keep his thoughts and anxiety together while he searched for answers and help. He found his hope and his answers here in San Miguel at Cielito Lindo, a remarkable Alzheimer’s facility that has been providing loving care at a reasonable cost for his beloved Whitney. Don’s book is not only the heart-rending story of his personal love and loss, but also a hopeful and helpful guide for caregivers who find themselves taking care of a loved one plummeting down a steep path to oblivion while they themselves are tumbling down their own rabbit hole of confusion and lonely despair.

Agnes Olive

Agnes OliveAgnes Olive (Letters from Pakistan) took another kind of journey, halfway around the world to Pakistan where she found herself a woman in a backward, repressed society with a strange, foreign culture and a new and very different set of standards.

Agnes moved with her then husband to Lahore, where she could not walk alone, had to cover herself up, deal with servants who had their own set of values and conduct, and find some way to express her innate artistic soul and talent. Always an artist by nature, Agnes found inspiration everywhere she looked, in the garbage, in the streets, in the fruits and vegetables growing all around her. And from these found objects, Agnes created art in the form of handmade paper, introducing new concepts and techniques that amazed and befuddled the local Pakistanis who had never seen such a creative project, especially done by a woman!

Her book, Letters from Pakistan, One Woman’s Odyssey, is a compilation of letters to family and friends written from Lahore where she lived from 1984 to 1987. Her friends and family saved these letters and, upon Agnes’ return to Canada, presented them to her with the suggestion that she someday incorporate them into a book. That someday arrived and the tales of her travels have taken the form of this book from which she’ll be reading at the Sala about her exploits, art, adventures and misadventures from studying the Koran with her female, veiled neighbors to riding a camel, and trying hard to supervise the often absent, always surprising, staff of Pakistani helpers she hired to “help” her in exotic Pakistan.

Agnes is currently documenting 35 years of her artwork from 1980 in Canada to here in San Miguel in 2016 in a book that will contain photographs accompanied by text retelling the inspirations that led to the pieces.

• • •

Join us for what is certain to be an interesting evening of tales of life, tearful and hopeful, adventurous and artistic on October 13 at 5 PM at the Hotel La Aldea on the Ancha. Admission is 50 pesos for members and 100 pesos for non-members, including a wine and snack reception. Membership in the Literary Sala supports ­not only the literary life of San Miguel including scholarships for teens and reading projects for children in the campo, it also offers attractive benefits like reading groups, discounts at the monthly author readings, as well as discounts and priority seating at the Annual Writers’ Conference. A Membership Table will be available at the Sala event.

October 20, 2016: Poetry Café Bellas Artes

Date: Thursday, October 20, 2016
Time: 5:00–6:00 p.m.

Location: Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramírez “El Nigromante”
Hernández Macías 75
Sala Literaria, 1st Floor

Admission: A donation of $50 pesos is suggested

Ditkoff, Donnelly, and Kalmar to Headline Poetry Café

By Maia Williams

Poetry Café Bellas Artes will feature three multifaceted poets on Thursday, October 20th: Mitch Ditkoff, Martha Donnelly, and George Kalmar.

Mitch DitkoffMitch Ditkoff is an award winning author (Storytelling at Work, Awake at the Wheel) storyteller, innovation consultant, and poet (Full Moon at Sunrise) who divides his time between San Miguel and Woodstock, NY. In addition to being the Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions, an organizational consulting company, Mitch co-facilitates Hero’s Journey Retreats in San Miguel with Dr. Beverly Nelson, the Co-Founder of SMA’s LifePath Center.

Martha DonnellyMartha Donnelly escaped from Washington D.C. to San Miguel six years ago. In Washington she had a landscape architecture firm for 30+ years and happily has continued to work here on a limited basis. She designed a master plan for Parque Guadiana that is partially completed, and is in the very beginning stages of a design for the Bellas Artes courtyard. Writing has always been an avocation and, when wrestling with life’s challenges through therapy in the 1990s, she began to write poetry in order to give form to her thoughts and feelings.

George KalmarGeorge Kalmar was born in Slovakia and immigrated to the U.S. as a child with his family in 1965. He completed his undergraduate work at Temple University in Philadelphia and his graduate work in Creative Writing at Indiana University, Bloomington.

Starting with his work on the Scriblerian Magazine as a college freshman, he has pursued writing as one of his main life interests along with many years of sculpting. He has had readings and exhibits in Philadelphia, Bangkok, Tokyo, and Los Angeles where he has spent the last 32 years.

His most recent poetic works and publications have come through Beyond Baroque, an important literary center in Venice, California where he has received honoraria and had several solo and tandem readings with nationally known poets. He has read at a number of venues in California including Valley Poets and Studio 50. Kalmar now makes his home in San Miguel.

• • •

Poetry Café Bellas Artes meets monthly, September through April, to feature local and visiting poets (established and emerging) sharing original work in a casual setting.

Please arrive a few minutes early. Seating is first come, first seated. Depending on the season, a cold or hot beverage will be served.