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San Miguel writers present their works in progress

By Carole Schor

San Miguel de Allende is a magical place that inspires painters, musicians and writers. Every year in May, thanks to the Literary Sala, a handful of talented authors come together to read from their “Works in Progress.” This year, on May 9, the Sala is proud to present an evening of authors reading their newest works.

San Miguel Literary Sala presents:
“Works in Progress”
Twelve writers read from their current work
Thu, May 9, 5-7:30pm
Hotel Aldea
Ancha de San Antonio 15
70 pesos (50 pesos for Literary Sala members)
Includes wine reception

Frank Thoms will be reading Bystander, a nonfictional philosophical work about the power of stillness, which emerged from Thoms’ discovery as a teacher that doing, doing, doing often leads simply to more doing, rather than reflecting and contemplating, and invoking wu wei, doing without doing. Thoms’ piece Bystander is from Teaching That Matters: Engaging Minds, which is seeking a publisher.

Jim Knoch, a native of Missouri and retired antiques dealer from Colorado, is writing his first novel. He will be reading a selection from his historical fiction work, The Last Waltz, in which Henry Wilkins, a six-foot-seven medic, dejected after being wounded in the Civil War, travels west and settles on the Santa Fe Trial in Council Grove, Kansas.

Mark Johaningsmeir grew up in a small city north of Chicago, once the home of Jack Benny and Ray Bradbury. Johaningsmeir was a United Methodist minister and worked with congregations in Minnesota and Colorado. He will be reading from his memoir, Scenes from Life with My Father, an autobiographical collection of vignettes revealing parts of his father’s character that Johaningsmeir can see more clearly now than when they were unfolding.

Judith Jenya is a visual artist, painter and photographer. After a career as an art therapist and psychotherapist, she studied law and practiced for 12 years, becoming a peace activist. She founded Global Children’s Organization and was honored as International Humanist of the Year in Europe in 2002. She will be reading from a collection of her poetry entitled Life, Loss, Love. One poem deals with the sadness and renewal of war-ravaged Bosnian children, while other poems describe her joy in finding love and marriage in San Miguel.

Evie (E.E.) King also is connected to Ray Bradbury, who calls her stories “marvelously inventive, wildly funny and deeply thought provoking. I cannot recommend them highly enough.” King has worked with children in Korea, California and Bosnia, crocodiles in Mexico, frogs in Puerto Rico, egrets in Bali, mushrooms in Montana, archaeologists in Spain and butterflies in South Central Los Angeles. She will be reading selections from her anthology, Another Happy Ending, being released by PMM Press in October, 2013, a work of science fiction/fantasy, and so called because there really are no happy endings.

Beldon Butterfield’s latest book, Mexico Behind The Mask, was published in January 2013. Beldon, who came to Mexico in 1962 with Time Life International, calls himself an “Anglo-Argentine,” born and raised in Buenos Aires to British parents. He will be reading from his memoir, Once Upon a Time, a narrative historical work which tells of the time Argentina was a British colony. As Beldon says of the British influence in Argentina “un argentino habla español con acento italiano, se viste de francés y quiere ser inglés.” (An Argentine speaks Spanish with an Italian accent, dresses like the French, and wants to be English.)

Lee Bellavance’s articles, poems and short stories have appeared in dozens of publications, including the Atencion. Before discovering San Miguel in 2009, she was a producer, a publicist, an events coordinator and a journalist. On May 9 she’ll be reading from DogVille, a novella set in San Miguel that may morph into a novel.

Cynthia Huntington grew up in Yorkshire, England. After becoming a registered nurse, she joined Pan American World Airlines, flying to Europe, Mid-East, Africa and Hong-Kong. She is the author of Through Her Eyes – An Infidel’s Perspective, a book about her life in Muslim Turkey. Her reading will be an accounting of a memorable event entitled, “Jet Flight to Karachi 1962: The man in the bathroom.”

Grover Ellis has written articles, poems and short stories for the Washington Post, Houston Chronicle, Texas Monthly, Sierra Club Bulletin, True and other literary publications. He will be reading a short chapter taken from his novel, An American In Texas, a coming of age story centered on a difficult and troubled father-son relationship.

Sara Fasy arrived in San Miguel in 1977 with savings from her year on the Alaska Pipeline to study drawing and printmaking at the Instituto Allende. Fasy will be reading “Yellow,” a chapter from her memoir A San Miguel Story, a tale of the clash of cultures, the exploration of the other, and the love-hate that characterized her romance with both Mexico and the tall, curly-haired future husband from Xalapa, Veracruz. It’s a tale of births and deaths and all the glorious and aggravating extremes of raising children in a foreign land.

Matthew Carroll, once a San Miguel restaurateur, will read from his yet-untitled autobiography in which he describes the life story of a conflicted orphaned only child trying to understand and live with abandonment. His selection, “Sahara,” describes one of several life events where he has placed himself, with questionable motive, in harm’s way. It is written as he wishes his father had left such a chronicle. Also reading on May 9 will be Cynthia Simmons.


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