Lost and Found in San Antonio

Lost and Found in San Antonio

I had the privilege of attending the 5th annual San Antonio Book Festival this past weekend and enjoyed myself even more than I had intended to. The Festival itself was incredible: very well-organized with a wide range of exhibitors, speakers, activities, and delicious food. I walked away with four new books, a handy red tote, two free pins, some spicy chicken street tacos in my tummy, and a beautiful turquoise-and-onyx bracelet from Pulquerios on my wrist. :o)

 

I started off my adventure listening to Catherine Nixon Cooke speak about her book, Juan O’Gorman: A Confluence of Civilizations, and the history of the famous San Antonio mural. Then I headed over to the chapel to hear Guadalupe Garcia McCall (a UTEP colleague) and Joe Jiménez talk about the creative process surrounding their young adult fiction. After that, I got to see David Shields in person (I’m a huge fan of his work and had gushed all over his Twitter a few months ago after being blown away by Reality Hunger). He had a great presentation about his new book, Other People: Takes and Mistakes, as well as some of his personal challenges and general observations about life. In the afternoon I headed over to the Central Library, where I heard Tim Z. Hernández, one of my UTEP professors, talk in depth about all of the meticulous research that went into the writing of his new book, All They Will Call You. I ended the Festival with the poetry of San Antonio’s Poets Laureate, Jenny Browne and Laurie Ann Guerrero, who gave me SO MUCH to think about in the way of poem-writing and poem-thinking and poem-living. I loved Jenny Browne’s quote, “A poem is a love letter to a stranger.”

 

The highlight of my whole weekend (and it was a pretty spectacular weekend!) was wandering around The Southwest School of Art and discovering a whole new art-dispensing machine called the Art-O-Mat, similar to the Zine Machine but this one with three-dimensional art! Just as exciting as my discovery of the machine was my discovery of an amazing and beautiful woman by the name of Olga who kindly answered all of my questions and provided the tokens that I used to purchase my art:

 

 

She even told me a little bit about each of the different pieces inside, and then we had a good conversation about family and education and other happy things. When I got back to the hotel I opened the little box I had pulled out of the machine and was overjoyed to find this glorious surprise inside:

I loved it so much that the next day I went back and got three more. Sarah Whittington, your creations are brightening their new homes here in Dallas. Thank you!

 

On Sunday morning, I topped off a magnificent weekend with a bike-ride through San Antonio, exploring little hidden neighborhoods and admiring all the colorful graffiti and quirky art sprinkled around near the southern strip of the Riverwalk. (Thank goodness I had a paper map AND my GPS or else I might have ended up in Laredo.) Here are a few of the photographs I took along the way:

 

 

I’ve been to San Antonio a million times and I had no idea it was so artsy! Now I can’t wait to go back and do even more exploring. Maybe someday I will even be able to accept those darn Spurs into my heart–though just the thought of it causes me pain. I mean, honestly, what other team, professional or otherwise, has a torture device as their mascot? Well, at least their people are fascinating. In addition to Olga, I also met a woman named Lily from the Bronx, an Uber driver from Brazil who was once stationed in Panamá, and a man from Orlando who had driven up to help his son move to San Antonio and whose daughter had delivered his newest grandbaby that very same day. I love making connections with the people I find.

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