Tengo Sed Writers Retreat

People are so kind! People are so generous! After returning from the most amazing writers retreat in Galveston,Texas I received an email from my old professor that there was space for me at her writers retreat in Costa Rica! I couldn't believe what I was reading.

I met my mentor at New York University in 2005. It was the first time I read literature written by women of color! The course was titled, 20th Century Women Writers. In her class through the stories we read, I traveled to India, Africa, and Chile. During that time she never knew I was in a sea of depression or why I was unable to complete her course.

Over the years Dr. Natasha Gordon-Chipembere has remained incredibly supportive of me as well as my projects. She has become a mentor and someone I love, respect and admire greatly.  Her teaching style has informed my understanding and appreciation of  women, writing, culture and history. 

In 2007, I published my first feature in Urban Latino Magazine and Dr. Gordon-Chipembere was one of my first interviews. The story, Two Cultures Marching to One Drum (to read article: http://bit.ly/1OQFFWC) would take me on a journey throughout Latin America were I would spend seven years writing about Afrolatinos.

My professor has sinced moved to Costa Rica (a leap of faith) as only risk takers could do and launched an amazing writers retreat. I am excited to share that I have been selected to participate in the Tengo Sed Writers Retreat in Costa Rica!

With your help I leave for Costa Rica on January 7, 2016.

Why this retreat? Why now?

2001 was the year I came out as a writer!

It was two weeks after 9/11 happened and we were all still feeling the aftermath of that devastating day. While people lost loved ones the rest of the world seemed to get closer to those still here with us. My daughter was eight years old when the towers came down. I became desperate. I started questioning where I was in my life and where I was headed. I realized that my life felt insignificant and unimportant. I felt that I wasn’t contributing anything to the world.  I believed that my life was of no value. I started worrying and said things to myself like, "what would people say about me after I leave this place?  How will I be remembered? What have I contributed?"

I decided that I would write her a memoir.  One night my daughter and I were lying in bed together reading. She was wrapped up in a Nancy drew story and I was reading a book on writing titled, Writing from Personal Experience. I came across a line that talked about where one can find inspiration for writing and telling stories. This book was filled with messages about material being found in everything. In that exact moment I had an epiphany.

What I discovered was that I had a story to be told. In that exact moment I whispered to myself, "Oh my GOD!!! I’m a writer!!! I AM A WRITER!!!"

I knew that that moment was significant so I made sure to write down the date and time. I looked over to my daughter Courtney and said, “Baby, momma's a writer!”

She just looked at me with this glow in her eyes like she was looking at her sheroe and said, “I know mommy! I know! You’re gonna write me a book.”

“ No honey, you don’t understand – I AM… A WRITER!!!

“I know mommy… we’re gonna be rich and you’re gonna buy me a big house with a McDonalds and a Carvel inside.”

I just laughed. She didn’t get it. For me that moment would mark me.

I AM A WRITER!  Believing those words has taken me years to arrive at. These days I am taking more risks and going for more opportunities.

The project I intend to work on is titled For the Love of Parsley, its a historical fiction novel set in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The amount I am raising covers all my expenses. My flight to Costa Rica, accomodations, and food! I hope you will consider donating to campaign. Tengo Sed is from January 7, 2016 to January 13, 2016. Thank you so much for your support!


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Alicia Anabel Santos 
New York, NY
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