Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Viva Inside Mexico!!


It's not often in life that one can honestly say, "I was there right in the beginning," but for me, this is actually one of those times--so indulge me here for a moment.

Back in the summer of 2004, after my book tour had wrapped and I was still flush enough in cash to be able to travel at will, my friend Aran Shetterly and I ended up chatting over dinner in Maine about our upcoming plans. Mine were yet to be fully formulated; his were more definite--and definitely exciting. He had a plan, he told me, to travel down to Mexico and do a little research about whether there was room for an English language newspaper in the city of Oaxaca, a town that prior to its recent uprisings, was a mecca for foreign language students from the United States and Europe.

It was one of those dinners I imagine I'll feel lucky to have had for the rest of my life, one where the commerce of ideas felt real and important, and the companionship complete. I remember thinking how proud I was of Aran, and of how much sense--both business and political--his idea made; and I remember meditating to myself as I fell asleep that night about how cool (yes, cool is the word that came to me) it would be to be part of such an endeavor.

I think it was the next morning, might have been afternoon, that Aran called and invited me to join him on his trip to Oaxaca. I don't think I hesitated long before saying yes. And so I traveled with him, for two weeks, down to the south of Mexico to see what the opportunities might be for this newspaper of his. It was an amazing journey for me, and I fell in love with Mexico in ways I never would have imagined possible for someone who spoke, upon arrival, not a word of Spanish. And when Aran left at the end of our two weeks of exploration, I stayed behind, on my own, to write and to think and to feel again what it means to be what I believe I am. I am still learning from those lessons.

Since then, life has taken me in a number of different directions, and for the most part those have not involved Mexico or the newspaper. But Aran has stayed true to his goal. In November, Inside Mexico, the paper he founded with Margot, his partner in life and in work, launched to great fanfare. And today, it is profiled in the L.A. Times. The newspaper is beautiful to me on its own merits for certain, and I encourage you all to check it out. But it is also particularly miraculous to me in that it represents a very tangible example of the notion that, despite what anyone tells us, we really can create worlds. What a wonderful thing Aran and Margot have done... I am so proud of them I could burst.

1 comment:

ARHS said...

Elizabeth, thank you for the beautiful post. Though you have yet to come down to write for Inside Mexico, I'm still hoping you will one of these days, not only because you are an amazing writer, but also because I'm not sure this project ever would have been born if you hadn't joined me on that wild and wonderful trip south. You helped me believe it was possible. And, that it was an adventure woth taking. Thank you.

Aran