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By Margie Harrell
Recently while cleaning out some old files I came across the first article I ever wrote for the Ojo del Lago many years ago. It was about, of all things, a piglet I had befriended down by the lake who later was sent to slaughter. I was heartbroken and as I poured out my story to a fellow writer he gave me the best advice I ever received. “Put it down on paper,” he said, “It helps the healing process.” I have followed that advice many times over the years.
Often, these days here in Nevada, I am asked to write remembrances of friends who have passed but every so often the tale of my little pig who grew too fast and too fat comes to mind. I enjoy mostly writing about the whimsical side of life and I credit living in Mexico for that.
My first encounter with Telmex told me I had settled in a writer’s paradise on the shores of Lake Chapala. Where else but Mexico can you coax a worker to stop what he is doing down the calle and fix your telephone for a few pesos? My typewriter was running night and day as I recorded the happenings all around me.
If it walked, talked, mooed or hissed I wrote about it. The cobblestones were always a good subject as they claimed another victim. Now the competition has heated up as many wonderful writers have joined me in my paradise but there is room for everyone. The inspirations are limitless.
My first cover story sent me over the moon. It was about a mangy dog that decided to follow me around all day. Not very exciting you might think but for me it was a wonderful “encounter.” “About a dog,” my sister said, “did it bite you?” she continued trying to find a reason for my story. “We became amigos,” I replied but I could feel I wasn’t getting through to her. I guess you had to have been there.
One day our esteemed editor asked me to write a piece about shopping in the local super markets. My mind went blank. Shopping, that should have been an easy subject for me but nothing came to mind as my fingers sat poised over the keys. On the other hand, put me on an autobus or take a stroll down by the lake and my creative juices begin to flow. Mexico as I see it—sometimes silly sometimes poignant but ever changing.
As I continue my extended visit with the kids north of the border my computer and memories of Mexico call to me. Once you have lived in a writers’ paradise nothing is ever the same. Surely there is a dog or a piglet out there that needs me to tell its story. Hasta mañana, amigos.