Opportunities abound up here in the high plains of central Mexico. For example several weeks ago a Facebook friend suggested I look up a writers group here in San Miguel de Allende and check out their annual conference for aspiring and established writers As I’ve been toying with the idea of writing an illustrated book of essays the timing was perfect for me to connect with their activities.
This Area Draws Creative Achievers
Because this area has so much to entice the active mind, it has attracted a wealth of fascinating people, many of them writers in addition to the visual artists who fill the local galleries. These are writers who are or who have been at the top of the book lists from a wide array of fields; essayists, journalists, poets, humorists and, of course, full length fiction and non-fiction writers. Indeed the caliber of professionalism is top notch and truly motivational!
Every February well established, successful and truly famous writers come to this beautiful city to speak, teach and share tips on how to up your writing game. Agents seeking new material come too as well as other knowledgeable instructors with information to help other writers connect successfully with the publishing and reading worlds. In the ten years since it was created it has grown both in size and stature. It has gotten so popular that people start signing up for the next one as soon as it’s advertised.
Who’s Behind the Success of the SMA Writers Conference?
Susan Page is the Founder of the San Miguel Writers Conference and author of more than one best seller. She has entertained Oprah’s audiences with her ideas as well as those of Good Morning America, CNN, NPR and others. I got to meet her at a reading event and because I run a new media marketing business (MartiMu Marketing, thanks for asking!) we quickly discovered I had skills that could benefit the conference.
But the conference has already sold out – uh oh…….but wait! Susan added me to the conference steering committee where I can be of some use, and happily now I will be able to attend much of the event and soak up as much inspiration and information as I can. Which brings us to how it was I found myself with an auspicious group of accomplished professionals from all sorts of fascinating walks of life at a brand new educational facility just outside San Miguel.
Let’s Take a Short Drive
Hacienda Santa Clara is the brainchild of visionary investor Pablo Marvin D. He assembles teams of creatives and together they create gorgeous extension campuses for universities. Among their first was an amazing creation in Qatar. The newest is near and dear to Señor Marvin’s heart as it is located on a restored historic hacienda site in the center of Mexico and affiliated with both his alma mater Texas A&M University and the Universidad de Guanajuato here in the state of Guanajuato.
Hacienda Santa Clara’s mission is to inspire students who attend from Mexico and the United States and beyond to interact with one another forming lifelong relationships rooted in their shared pursuits. The thinking is, when you are allowed to make discoveries across cultural lines your thinking can extend out way beyond your usual patterns. Bringing students down from the north gives them a boost towards understanding their own unique position on a more global scale. There’s something about eating the foods, sharing the space and laughing and learning with members of a different society that jumpstarts new thoughts!
The campus is modeled on the old concept of what defines a proper hacienda (must be fully self sustaining and has to have a church) and has repurposed existing structures and reinvented the multi-functional use of all the new construction to maximize learning potential. Pablo’s own amazingly deep and powerful collection of famous Latin American artists (Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and the creators of other pieces you’re probably better equipped to identify than my own forgetful little brain can (see photos), is thoughtfully displayed throughout all the public spaces. I mean I was this | – ! – | close to Frida’s self portrait!
So Many Ideas Bubble Up!
We, the Steering Committee for the San Miguel Writers Conference went on an adventure to get a load of this spanking new centerpiece to this region’s educational opportunities, and consider the options with our own set of needs and ideas. Perhaps a portion of our own event will be held there in future years. But since I’ve come back, my mind keeps picturing how perfect what Pablo’s created so far will be for situations like visiting artist collaborations and sabbaticals too. In fact, I’m going to keep in touch over there in case they need any testers for this particular concept. Also, Pablo’s going to be bring in a remuda of AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) registered horses and boy, can I ever think of imaginative ways students can learn with them too! All my workshops and studies with Equine Assisted Learning could come in pretty handy.