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I’m a California writer who writes in English but feels more at home reading Latin American literature. California has historically defined itself both as part of and in opposition to Mexico, and that tension and inspiration has generated great literature in Spanish and English alike. Even though it was only a week, Solana gave me the opportunity to experience Mexican literature and its influences more immediately than peering across a border or into a book. The retreat was impeccably organized, the setting fantastic, and our activities criss-crossed through Mexican literary history and culture to politics, cuisine and back again. Our conversations started before we arrived, never ceased while we were there, and have continued since. The hosts and participants were insightful and inspiring, and we shared a lot of ourselves in a short time. All of this worked together to benefit our own writing and to better understand where we belong in a space defined by two overlapping linguistic, cultural, and literary worlds.
Solana offered a perfect space to kickstart my writing project while also fostering a warm, communal environment (without obligation). The planning was impeccable, with a perfect mix of free time to explore the city; wonderful, one-of-a-kind culinary experiences; and an incomparably beautiful atmosphere in which to write. The format lends itself to personal adaptation—make of it what you want—but the intimate view into a city you may not know (or only think you know) that Dini and Cynthia give you are not to be missed and are, in fact, the best food for inspiration.
Solana was the perfect New Writer Experience! I’ve had many Mexican adventures, but nothing close to Solana’s incomparable environment filled with witty exchanges, insightful feedback, intense writing sessions, inspirational cultural exchanges, extraordinary culinary delights—and just enough space to create our own mischief!
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A collaborative arts project by Writer's Loft founder Dini McCullough