Here we are, sunblasted & windblown & silly from the altitude, tossing words into the air like jugglers. So you’re invited, too.
Historian, preservationist and writer Susan Berry has been exploring the stories and characters of southwest New Mexico for nearly four decades. Her long career with the Silver City Museum afforded her a rich appreciation for the heritage embodied in communities, buildings, objects, photographs, written accounts, and the memories of individuals. She coauthored Built to Last: An Architectural History of Silver City, New Mexico with Sharman Apt Russell, and has published numerous articles on regional history. Since retiring as Museum Director in 2010, she has been immersed in historical research and writing projects while also reawakening her long-dormant artist side.
Susan enjoyed many years of service on the boards of Historical Society of New Mexico, New Mexico Association of Museums, New Mexico Heritage Preservation Alliance, New Mexico Endowment for the Humanities, and New Mexico State Parks Advisory Board. A founder and twelve-year board member of the Corporation for Downtown Development (Silver City MainStreet Project), she also served eleven years on the Silver City Historic Design Review Committee and helped launch Silver City’s Arts & Cultural District. Under her leadership the Silver City Museum became one of the smallest institutions to earn accreditation by the American Association of Museums.
Susan’s achievements have been recognized with Citizen of the Year (1981) and Leadership in Tourism (2004) awards from the Silver City-Grant County Chamber of Commerce; the Hewett Award for Exemplary Service to the Museum Profession from New Mexico Association of Museums (2005); and Community Preservation (1982) and Lifetime Achievement (2010) awards from New Mexico Historic Preservation Division. She was profiled as an “Old West Savior” by True West Magazine in 2012. The Silver City Museum Research Library is to be dedicated in Susan’s honor.
I came to Silver City as a child with my parents, and have put down deep roots. My early appreciation for the written word was nurtured by Bonnie Buckley Maldonado (now Silver City’s first Poet Laureate), during four years as her pupil at the Teacher Education Center in the 1960s. This small teacher training school, operated by WNMU, encouraged individualized learning and out-of-the box thinking for students from kindergarten through eighth grade. Bonnie began each school day by reading aloud from books that included the Tolkien trilogy, long before that series became popular. This early experience convinced me that good writing must be pleasing to both the “inner” and physical ear.
My passion for regional history developed on the job, in what started innocently as a temporary position and turned out to be a 36-year career with the Silver City Museum. A large collection of historic images was given to the Museum early in my service there, and the contents of those photos both captivated and compelled me to learn more. That journey continues to unfold.
Museum work also offered many opportunities to bring people together around various aspects of history and heritage. Along with countless lectures, author events and musical programs, we presented the three-day New Mexico Cowboy Poetry Gathering for five years in the 1990s and organized the award-winning “Bringing Salt of the Earth Home: A 50th Anniversary Symposium” in 2004. The Museum also coordinated local arrangements and programs for several statewide conferences held in Silver City. Such gatherings are fertile ground for amazing interactions and sharing of ideas, and I’m convinced that the Southwest Festival of the Written Word will offer just such an experience.
Pam spent the major part of her working life in the book business – in publishing, working for one independent bookstore and managing another, and finally with Barnes & Noble’s™ home office in Manhattan as a buyer, on the team that set up the first few superstores, and as a manager of publisher accounts. Interspersed during these years were some interesting side forays in employment and lots of travel. Upon her retirement in 2007, she and her husband did a 5-month road trip in the Southwest, planning to visit “this great little town in southwestern New Mexico” that they’d heard about from a wildlife volunteer and a musician. They fell in love with the town right away, but it took a couple years for them to find the right house here and sell their house in rainy Puget Sound. A few years ago, Pam became an early participant in the committee planning the Southwest Festival of the Written Word, hoping to be a part of the effort to bring more of a book presence to what is already a very literary and literate community. She also became a volunteer with the Western Institute for Lifelong Learning and soon became part of the Curriculum Committee of which she is currently Chair. In addition to WILL, she is Treasurer of the Gila Native Plant Society, volunteers in smaller capacities for various other organizations in town, and is an enthusiastic traveler, birdwatcher, hiker, reader, and movie buff.
She was born into a pioneer Montana ranching family. Hers is an abiding respect for the rural West and its people, particularly the strong women for whom no task was too difficult to attempt, no work ethic too demanding.
In 1998, she was inducted into the New Mexico Women’s Hall of Fame for her contributions to the people of New Mexico, particularly in the areas of mental health and domestic violence.
She is the author of four volumes of poetry. It’s Only Raven Laughing: Fifty Years in New Mexico won the Willa Finalist Award Her work is included in several anthologies, the most recent being 200 New Mexico Poems Celebrating New Mexico’s History Through Poetry., ed., Lisa Jackson, Univ. of NM Press, 2013. She is serving a two-year term as Silver City and Southwestern New Mexico’s inaugural Poet Laureate.
Regarding her relationship with words, Bonnie says, “My own life can be reduced to short poems awakening me with laughter in the middle of the night; others to sustain me when darkness descends.”
She lives in the mountains near Silver City, N.M. with her husband, Librado and a bevy of rescue animals. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Her website is bonniebuckleymaldonado.com
After fulfilling his obligation to Uncle Sam, he moved to Alaska where he began a career as an investigator with the Alaska Department of Labor. He recieved a Gubernatorial appointment as the Director of Labor Relations for the State of Alaska. Randy retired as the Chief of Labor Standards after 28 years with the state.
Over the years he exorcised his theatrical demons acting and directing in community theater in Juneau and Fairbanks. Through the years he managed to integrate his acting talents into his professional career, performing in training videos and presenting live training. He has appeared in over 30 stage and film productions.
In 2006, Randy began “snowbirding” in Silver City, New Mexico, and quickly immersed himself in the history of the area. Carr became enamored with the exploits of a virtually unknown lawman of early Silver City. The result was “Tuck,” an original play, designed to entertain and educate audiences about the real old west through the eyes of one of its forgotten heros. “Tuck” debuted with three performances at the Seedboat Gallery in Silver City, August 10, 11 and 12, 2012.
Lillian is the Programming and Outreach Librarian at the Silver City Public Library, where she builds partnerships, fosters community engagement, and connects people with resources. The library promotes the written word in all its manifestations—books, e-books, journals and magazines, newspapers, online essays and articles, social media, graphic novels—as well as the unwritten word in storytelling, film, music, and more. Lillian hopes that the Southwest Festival of the Written Word will inspire readers and encourage our community members to record their own words. To see what Lillian has read, is reading, and hopes to read in the future, see her Goodreads profile: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5944540-lillian
Contact Lillian regarding the SFWW websites and social media presence.
Lillian grew up in northern New Mexico and earned a bachelor’s in history at New Mexico State University. She traveled to the University of Maryland-College Park to earn her master’s in library science and experience the big-city attractions of Washington, D.C. Now she is very content to be home in the rural West.
Born in Austin, Tom grew up in Lubbock and then went to school for various kinds of studies and degrees in San Francisco, Austin, Lubbock and Philadelphia. He took care of a son and a house (apartment) for five years before moving to Arlington, Virginia. Tom then worked for the Department of Justice as a statistician and chief of the editorial staff for 20 years. He and his wife Consuelo have lived in Silver City 7 years. He volunteers some, reads a lot, and writes a little. He hopes that the Festival of the Written Word will be a bilingual hoot, a time when persons who attend begin to dream new ideas and learn to celebrate the chance to turn words over inside our heads, like agates in a rock polisher, till we say them out loud and they sparkle and gleam.
So who’s Tom’s favorite writer? Woody Allen and Mark Twain are tied. Graham Greene, William Faulkner, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and James Agee belong on the list. Robert Caro and Atul Gawande are there, too.
What is Tom reading now? A friend loaned him four westerns by Steven Havill, who’s leading the Festival’s next writers’ workshop. When Havill gave his dynamite presentation at the Silver City Public Library about a year ago, he admitted that he stopped writing westerns because they wouldn’t support him. But his westerns are first rate. The characterizations are strong. Tom hasn’t read a western since a Louis L’Amour story about 40 years ago and that because there was no other book in the house where he was staying. He believes Havill could get him hooked on cowboy stories.
Why are writing and reading important? “Both writing and reading, for the people who do them, make the world gigantic and infinitely interesting. Some, like Anne Lamott, claim that good writing makes the writer a better person. Having read biographies of good writers who were really wretched human beings, I think Lamott is screwy, though I appreciate what she’s getting at. Writing puts a person in touch with herself. And reading puts a person in touch with others. To understand our lives we must hear the narrative, a story-line that has a beginning, middle and end, and if we capture that narrative well enough, we can change it for the better. What reading provides is space: tv, movies, video games give the mind little space. McLuhan categorized a medium by the amount of information that it provides. I prefer to think of the space around the information. If it’s empty, we can fill it ourselves; if information bombards us, crowds in on us and wholly replaces our reactions with what the creators of the medium want us to experience, we are ultimately alienated from the art. Writing is making space and reading is filling it.”
Mary E. Hotvedt has lived (almost) full time in Pinos Altos, NM since 2006. She and her husband Dr. Bob Garrett divided their time between Tucson and Pinos Altos for decades before that. “We knew we wanted to live here for the bilingual culture and intense community life as well as the beauty of the Gila. Less enamored with the javelina who seem to like our back porch.”
Mary has a PhD in cultural anthropology from Indiana University (think “Kinsey Institute”) and did a post-doctoral fellowship in sex research at SUNY-Stony Brook. After an academic career, she went on to become a licensed marriage and family therapist and supervisor. She served as the President of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. She is an adjunct professor at WNMU and member of the foreign faculty of L’Accademia di Psicoterapia della Famiglia in Rome. She has taught in several countries.
After moving to Pinos Altos, Mary has been on the board for WILL-WNMU, the Silver City Museum, and serves as the Chair for the Grant County Democratic Party. She and her husband also worked in Zambia.
Mary is on yet another career, this time as a novelist. She is editing Unn’s Saga: The Psychotherapy of a Ghost. The title says it all. “I love fiction-reading it, writing it. It is a welcome change from scientific and professional writing.” Her favorite writers include David Mitchell, Umberto Eco, Johan Theorin, and Arnuldur Indradasson. “I always keep a ‘serious’ novel and a mystery going at the same time.”
Jeannie Arizona Miller was born and raised in Safford, AZ. Her father was ecstatic when she was accepted at the University of Chicago and headed for a big city and high culture; her mother cried. She received a BA degree in Sociology from the University of Chicago and went on to earn a MA in Mathematics from the University of Arizona. She then plowed ahead into a thirty-plus year career in information technology management in Arizona and Alaska.
Although deeply immersed in computers and such at her day job, she spent her outside-of-work hours performing in and directing community theatre, radio theater, and readers’ theater, as well as teaching academic and life-long learning courses for the Maricopa Community College district.
Jeannie and her husband Glenn moved to Silver City in January 2005 to find happiness and delight in retirement, which includes making wonderful new friends, hiking, playing the piano and community service.
She is presently the President for the Western Institute of Lifelong Learning (WILL) and is completing her second term on the Board. She both facilitates and takes WILL courses, having offered classes in The Art of Reading Out Loud, Celebration of Rumi, Belting Out the Broadway Classics, Storytime for Adults and Expressive Writing.
Jeannie has been on the Steering Committee for the Southwest Festival of the Written Word from the moment the idea was conceived. She organized the highly successful writing workshop with Steve Havill in 2013 as a fund-raiser for the Festival.
She writes for her own pleasure and giddiness. Her essays have won three different times in the Desert Exposure Writing Contests. And, while she enjoys a good mystery, her reading habits tend more toward non-fiction than fiction.
Jeannie and Glenn’s sons always ask “Why are you living in the middle of nowhere without a large airport?” The answer, “Because we love it here. There’s no place like it.”
He has written over a dozen books, mainly in the field of language learning and teaching. His methodology book, How to Teach Listening (Pearson, 2008), won an English Speaking Union prize for the Best Book for Teachers of 2008 and was shortlisted for the Ben Warren Prize. He also co-authored Speakout (Pearson, 2011), a book for adult learners of English, which won the Duke of Edinburgh English Speaking Union prize for the Best Book of 2011 and was shortlisted for an ELTons award for innovation in language learning materials. His new book, Active Listening, co-authored with Michael Rost, will be published by Pearson in 2013.
JJ also writes short fiction, under the name JJ Amaworo Wilson, which deals mainly with social justice issues in black communities and has been published by Penguin and Pulp Faction, among others.
JJ was a junior rugby international, and in his free time he coaches rugby and plays various other sports. He is a frequent traveller, having visited over fifty countries and trained teachers in twenty-five. He has lived in Silver City with his family since 2008.