Literary Sala presents poet & shness expert
Literary Sala Readings, Helen Rivas-Rose & Minerva Neiditz
Thu, Apr 14, 5-7pm, Posada San Francisco, cnr Hidalgo & Canal
70 pesos (50 pesos for Literary Sala members)
By Carole Schor,
Brave, Imagine a woman standing up in front of a full house at the Ángela Peralta Theater and singing an Agustín Lara duet. Imagine that woman writing a book called Brave. You can probably envision all this, but what you can’t imagine is that this very same woman is an expert on the subject of shyness, because she grew up very shy … and suffered from this debilitating syndrome most of her life.
Helen Rivas-Rose grew up in a household where she was more than ignored, more than neglected. She was chained up and locked in and forced to spend the majority of her childhood wondering why everyone else was participating in life and she couldn’t. She wasn’t allowed by her family and she wouldn’t allow herself because she had never developed the social skills needed to hold a conversation, or have friends, or just get by in public like other people.
Most of us find it relatively easy to talk to another person. We might have to force ourselves to go to a party or event where we don’t know anyone, but once we’re there, we can hold up our end of a conversation. Rivas-Rose had to sit at home and practice small talk because she was “scared as hell.” She had to look inward and find a way to be compassionate with herself when she failed at this simple act.
So she started to sing. And she learned that creativity could grow here in San Miguel de Allende, where so many people come to begin again, learn a new skill, practice an art that has always lurked somewhere down deep. Helen took singing lessons and learned that “creativity flourishes in two’s. You don’t have to be alone.”
She looked inward and engaged a Jungian analyst to teach her compassion-focused therapy, how to be gentle and kind to herself as no one else had ever been. She read and studied books like The Power of Performance and she got up in front of a theater full of people and sang—and then she got up again and did it again. And she wrote “Brave,” a memoir about overcoming shyness, so that other shy and lonely people could benefit from her experience. She tells other sufferers of shyness that taking little baby steps each day will make you feel whole, poco a poco. Helen says that being in the moment can take you out of your shyness. But she understands all too well that, “When you’ve spent a lifetime worrying about the present moment and the person you’re with, it’s hard to be in the moment.”
Helen will be in the moment at the Literary Sala when she reads excerpts from her heart-warming memoir about overcoming shyness, “Brave.”
Mama Llama And Other Animal Tales For Precocious Children And Childlike Adults
Oh, the places she’s gone, and the places she’ll go; only Minerva the poet can know! (With apologies to Dr. Seuss!)
If Lewis Carroll and Donald Trump got together with The Bachelor to produce a reality TV show, they’d have to hire Minerva Neiditz to be the emcee. Minerva has written many books in her lifetime, from books about business to books about writing, from books about dating to poems about mating–she’s gone so many places even the White Rabbit couldn’t keep up!
Whimsical poet and down-to-earth dating advisor, Minerva has transcended the limits of ordinary writing. She’s combined her poetry with the talents of Ron Mallory, a mercury artist, to publish Fluid Poetics, poems as moving and dance-like as the paintings that inspired her.
In Romance After 60, she interviewed 140 available men to find out what they really want, so that single women all over the world could get a clue about the partners they seek. She had had enough of men who were “weird as hell, just plain unsuitable even for dating, much less for marrying!” So “after doing a man a night” for months and writing this “how-to” for singles, she met and fell in love with one of the men, Jack, #79, whom she continues to love and travel the world with—from Connecticut to Massachusetts to San Miguel de Allende.
She’s just finished and self-published her latest work, Mama Llama and Other Animal Tales with illustrations by local artist, Ethan Emery, which ramps up the whimsy and child-like qualities she herself exudes. She brings her prose and poetry and the artists she loves together with appreciative audiences at intimate little “soirees” where everyone can be comfortable, and she can be herself! “She wears a friendly face and has a certain grace”—yes, just like the Mama Llama herself, that’s Minerva for sure!
Poetry continues to be her main writing love. As she told me, “Poetry, when it’s good and universal, can move so many people, and it lasts, like Shakespeare and Yeats and Auden.” From her days at Smith College taking classes with fellow poet Sylvia Plath, to her “Mind, Body & Spirit Poetry” classes at Rancho La Puerta Spa, Minerva has shared her love of poetry and writing with tens of thousands of people all over the world.
And she will share that joy with the Literary Sala as she reads from Fluid Poetics and The Mama Llama… And Other Animal Tales.
Join us for a complimentary wine reception.