Sunday, June 13, 2010

Taos Weekend

On Saturday ten of us visited Taos Pueblo, the oldest continuously inhabited community in the United States. Some of the buildings are over 1,000 years old, their adobe walls repaired each summer with earth and straw. The houses have -- by tribal choice -- no electricity or running water. Here is North House, backed the mountains which contain the sacred Blue Lake:
This cemetery contains graves dating back to the sixteenth century. The ruins are of San Geronimo Church, built in 1619.

This is the church, a more recent structure (1850), devoted to the worship of the Virgin Mary, who is considered the parallel of the Earth Mother in the native religion:
We were shown around by a native guide. Despite the beauty of the setting and interest of the site, nearly all of us were uncomfortable at the pueblo. It is supported by tourism, and yet it's clear that tourists are also resented, and that the long and unhappy history between Native Americans and "Anglos" continues here. I was glad I visited the pueblo, but it is not a visit I would repeat.
In the afternoon, back at the lodge, we had a talk from Carrie Vaughn, best-selling author of the urban-fantasy series featuring Kitty Norville. Carrie talked about the challenges, both literary and commercial, of writing an on-going series. She stressed that success can catch a writer in other people's expectations: publishers who want more of the same and nothing else, fans who object to the way a series goes, the problem of allowing a protagonist to grow from book to book without losing the personality that originally attracted readers. Carrie answered questions graciously and for a long time.
Saturday finished with dinner in Taos. Tomorrow is a work day -- Week 2 manuscripts are coming in to be read and critiqued. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

Jude said...

I had a roommate in college who was from Taos Pueblo (it was Fort Lewis College in Durango, which gives free tuition to native Americans--thus, I even met a Russian Orthodox Inuit). My roommate spent her days listening to country music, reading True Romance magazine, and conning others into doing her homework (she had an injury which she milked to an extreme). It's interesting to see where she came from.