Art+Culture Merida

Advice on Writing

The dog days* of summer are here in Merida and I am in the middle of a dry spell – literally and metaphorically. The deluge of life-giving rains have yet to be seen or felt and the garden and I are weary from the heat. Perhaps I am psychically aligned with my intimate environment as I too wait for that which will enrich me.

And then along comes Ta-Nehisi Coates and I smile, fist pump, HELL YA at my computer and thank the Mayan rain god Chaac for a little sustenance, and for Coates’ advice on writing…

Before he wrote cover stories for The Atlantic, before he won a National Magazine Award, before he taught at MIT, Ta-Nehisi Coates was laid off by Time magazine. “To put it bluntly,” he wrote last spring, “I was — like most freelancers — hurting. My wife had been unerringly supportive. My son was getting older. I was considering driving a cab.”

*Footnote: I’ve always wondered about this expression—here it is from Wikipedia: Dog days refers to the hot, sultry days of summer, originally in areas around the Mediterranean Sea, and as the expression fit, to other areas, especially in the Northern Hemisphere. The coincidence of very warm temperatures in the early civilizations in North Africa and the Near East with the rising, at sunrise of the Orion’s dog, the dog star Sirius, led to the association of this phrase with these conditions.

In October 2012, I drove 6,800 kms with my artist husband, Ric Kokotovich (, and my dog Iggy, to spend 6 months in our adopted city of Merida. Leaving the fast paced world of Calgary behind, I packed my books, art and entrepreneurial spirit, and set off to explore what lay beyond the borders that had become my life. In October 2013 we hit the road south again, hoping to find out what ‘living the dream’ really means. This is my adventure.

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