Cesar Arias raises questions about San Miguel society
By Carole Schor
LiteratureSan Miguel Literary Sala presents: Cesar Arias de la Canal’s San Miguel at the Crossroads: Integration or Division in Society? And Lynda Schor’s Sexual Harassment Rules Thu, Mar 13, 5-7pm Hotel Posada de la Aldea Ancha de San Antonio 15 70 pesos (50 pesos for Literary Sala members) Complimentary wine reception
The Literary Sala is pleased to present Cesar Arias de la Canal discussing the evolving configuration of San Miguel’s society through recent decades, along with feminist author Lynda Schor, who will read from her work. The event will be held on Thursday, March 13, at Hotel Posada de la Aldea at 5pm.
An activist San Miguel citizen, Cesar Arias is passionate about the environment, about human rights and about Mexico. He is a direct descendent of the wealthy and influential Canal family, who built the neoclassical mansion on Canal Street at the corner of the Jardín (now the Banamex building) as well as the convent that now serves as Bellas Artes, and the Las Monjas church. The Canal family also built the Instituto Allende as a retreat and hacienda.
In his talk, Cesar will discuss recent changes in San Miguel society with its different sectors and layers, helping us to understand its singularity, interactions, contradictions, recent traits and sustainability in the coming future. “The talk is rather an invitation for us to think together about these matters,” said Arias, “and it will raise questions more than arriving at conclusions.”
Arias has the titles of Law from the University Libre de Derecho in Mexico City and Letters from universities in France and England. He has been professor at the Autonomous Metropolitan University and member of the Mexican section of Amnesty International. He is the owner of Posada Corazon B&B on Aldama Street, and is the president and director of El Charco del Ingenio, the botanical garden.
An accomplished author, Cesar has written Los Tambores de Monimbo, an account of the Nicaraguan uprising that began in the indigenous village of Monimbo, where in 1978 residents launched the first urban insurrection against President Anastasio Somoza, igniting the revolution that toppled the dictator and put the Sandinistas in power. He is also one of the authors of the Guia de Visitante de San Miguel and Historias de un Jardin botanico – El Charco del Ingenio San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato.
Cesar’s passion is Mexico and the Mexican people, whom he too often sees as the victims of inequality, prejudice and lack of education. As an advocate of equal opportunity for all, he has dedicated his life and passion to the development of areas such as the community cultural center El Sindicato, as well as the ecological reserve and botanical garden El Charco del Ingenio, both here in San Miguel de Allende. He has designed tools of cultural and educational outreach to this community. Cesar believes that the multi-cultural makeup of San Miguel enriches the quality of life here for everyone. “The society of San Miguel will not be sustainable if we don’t integrate with each other. A society that builds more walls than bridges cannot be sustainable.”
Lynda Schor (no relation to this author) writes about sex. She obsesses about sex. She writes about obsessive sex. She’s written about sex for Playboy. Her “Perspective on the Penis” appeared in Playboy at the beginning of the “sexual revolution” and feminist movement, when women were starting to write about their real lives, lives with sex. Playboy wanted to know what women thought about men and sex, and Lynda told them. She was never invited to write for Playboy again.
So Lynda began to write for women’s magazines like Ms. and Mademoiselle. She wrote about what women were thinking about and doing, but not yet openly. Lynda took the risks for women and made our hidden emotions and actions public on paper. “When I started out writing sexual stuff, it was a real statement about being a woman and being allowed to say those dirty words and use colloquialisms about sex.” At first Lynda did it to shock people, because it was very political to shock people as a woman. Women were finally being published, they were feeling out the feminist movement and how it felt to have sex, and they wrote about it — not in a romantic way, but in an anti-romance way, in the way that Henry Miller, one of Lynda’s writing heroes, wrote. Lynda says she doesn’t do that anymore. Sex is so ubiquitous now, why bother?
In her newest book, Sexual Harassment Rules, Lynda writes once again about sex, although she says the book is about teaching. Like her previous collections of short fiction, including Appetites, True Love & Real Romance, Seduction, and The Body Parts Shop, these new stories are funny and, as I said, highly irreverent pieces ranging in topic from not-so-wild orgies to teacher-student liaisons.
Lynda says she, “ . . . decided very early I was going to make money at writing, but gave that idea up fast. I only write now because I have something to say.” To those learning how to write (Lynda taught writing at the New School for 25 years), she says, “You should go looking for what helps you write.” A talented and skilled artist, she says to aspiring writers here in San Miguel, “Don’t write. Paint! Painting is easier than writing; you can use colors and materials and see the whole thing in front of you.”
Lynda continues to be a passionate artist who paved the way for people to expand their consciousness in a way that isn’t necessarily a commercial success. Someone has to push the limit and Lynda Schor does.
Join us to hear two fascinating talks on March 13. Admission is 70 pesos or 50 pesos for Literary Sala members.