Missy Writes Oaxaca!

A story, once uncurled inside you, must come out. 

The story of my husband's life is a dark one. It contains violence, heartache, drugs, abuse, and unbearable suffering that words render meaningless when expressing. When I met him nearly twenty-seven years ago, the spilling of this story overtook me. 

I knew it was a story that needed the light.
And it was mine to write.

Marriage, kids, and now an empty nest have paved the way for me to start this gut-wrenching novel of his life. I have no obstacles in my way and words have been put to paper and are piling up in my brain. It's terribly hard to be my husband's voice, yet, I write.

Recently, a friend messaged me and chatted up the short stories I had written about my husband and shared on social media. She shared with me about an organization called Arquetopia in southern Mexico. One of her friend's had had a residency there and enjoyed it immensely. She thought they were offering writer's residencies as well and that they had a place in Oaxaca, Mexico - where much of my husband's story takes place. She said, "I'll send you the link."

And I felt a tingle run down my spine. For all my life it has been about family and home - was it my turn to try for something unsettling and out of my comfort zone? 

As follows is Arquetopia's mission statement and what they are about:

"Founded in 2009, Arquetopia is an award-winning, Mexican official nonprofit foundation promoting Development, social transformation and productivity through artistic, cultural, and educational programs. The core of the Foundation is Sustainable Development through four principles embodied in all of Arquetopia’s programs and activities: social awareness, shared responsibility, innovation, and local networks development. Arquetopia is experienced in negotiation and reinvestment of resources for local arts development in Mexico with the following features: social scope; quality; synergy; collaboration; innovation; viability; reciprocity; and respect for local knowledge."

With trembling hands I plunged in, having decided to apply for a writer's residency without over-thinking it. After several long questionnaires, more correspondence, and a Skype interview - I simply needed to wait and see if I was chosen. 

Several days later my phone pinged and I saw an email come through from Arquetopia. I had been CHOSEN. They had selected me for a coveted writer's residency. 

I am scared, clamoring for breath, and ready to step out of the box.

This residency will run for three weeks starting in September 2015. Its main function is to provide a place for me, the resident, to focus on my project and have a place to write it in.  One of my goals is to immerse myself in the very place my husband was lost for three years as a child. I want to see the Oaxacan landscape through his eyes and smell the smells he encountered. I want to breathe deeply of the foods he ate and partake of every one. I want to stand on the street corner where he pretended to cry for money. Then, I will put feeling to keyboard and finish this novel that is exploding at my seams.

I will be traveling alone and that will be the one thing that gets me out of my little nest of comfort. I know no one there, and I'm plunging headlong into unfamiliar waters. Yet you know when an overwhelming feeling overtakes you, that your path is taking a turn it was meant to. Oaxaca awaits me.

Many of you have expressed that you would be the first in line to purchase my novel when it's finished. Consider donating to this trip to get me to those lush mountains of Oaxaca. The funds will expressly be used for residency fees and airfare. My aim is to be focused, clear, and write the hard words that need written - to see the Oaxaca George was born in - and became lost in. You have all been so supportive in reading my words, please consider helping me get to this final push that will birth the exit touches of a novel that has been years in the making.

Gracias a todos. Esto es para ti Tono, y un salud a los palabras duras. 


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Missy Sundheimer Herrera 
Millersburg, OH
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