Outside the Box

After a long dry spell, I’m writing again. At the moment, I’m working on a short story with specfic elements (my norm), and a new, non-specfic novel which I intend to write as a series of letters. Single first-person POV telling a tragic story that will probably be the hardest thing I ever write, so I can’t promise it’ll be finished any time soon. The hardest part—the first few lines—is done. If I keep plugging away at it whenever I can, one of these days I’ll finish. Whether it will ever see the light of day remains to be seen. I’ll keep you posted. (Working title: “Letters to a Dead Man.”)

Meanwhile, I’m about to spend one week in Guatemala with some amazing women who travel there every year (sometimes multiple times). Their compassionate work with the indigenous people there is so inspiring! This time, they plan to bring fluoride treatments for the children in one specific region, and have asked for those of us on this visit to bring donations of toothbrushes and paste. My dentist was helpful in providing, so one of my suitcases is packed not only with donated school supplies, but an array of implements to battle tooth decay. Can’t wait to see the customs official’s face when they open that case.

Guatemala holds a special place in my heart even though I’ve never yet been there. My short story “Upshot” takes place in the Ixil region, and required me to do a great deal of research on the history of that country, as well as its cloud forests and the resplendent quetzals (beautiful, near-threatened birds – see photos here and here) that live in isolated regions within them. So much violence played out all across this beautiful land, yet from everything I’ve heard, Guatemala’s indigenous Maya are a delight—friendly, welcoming, and grateful for everything they have despite being desperately poor in many regions of the country.

I’ve traveled outside the United States before, but only twice to developing or low-income countries (LICs). Having been born and raised in the U.S., this kind of journey really brings home the things we take for granted here, like easy hot showers/baths, flush toilets, clean drinking water, clean streets and cities. Guatemala, too, is a LIC, thus travel there requires special forethought and careful planning. As you might imagine, the trip has been absorbing much of my focus the last couple of months.

It might be a few weeks before I post again, but I hope to return with photos to share, as well as a tale of our adventures.

See you on the flip side!

Quetzal photo by Nicman
Antigua photo by vhcardenas

Photos Courtesy Pixabay