Falling into Place(s)

Falling into Place(s)

Last mon­th marked one year in Oax­a­ca. I moved here on a whim, but it was always a place I dreamed of mak­ing home since my first vis­it many years ago. What had drawn me to this place is like­ly some­what cliché, it has to do with the mag­ic of the place real­ly. This mag­ic is the result of a mul­ti­cul­tur­al space woven togeth­er by indige­nous groups and lan­guages, and the con­flict­ing mish­mash of pre­his­pan­ic, colo­nial and post­colo­nial her­itage which all con­verges in the cap­i­tal Oax­a­ca de Juárez, where I live. Like much of Mex­i­co, Oax­a­ca is a place of con­tra­dic­tions. There is an inter­sec­tion­al­i­ty where all of the­se iden­ti­ties of what it is to be oax­aque­ño over­lap. But at the same time there are clear cut divi­sions and a large gap when it comes to the dis­tri­b­u­tion of wealth caus­ing mas­sive dis­par­i­ty and inequal­i­ties. Even though this gap caus­es social fric­tion between the class­es peo­ple remain per­sis­tent in their kind­ness and gen­eros­i­ty, and this I believe is the social hall­mark of the city and state. Fur­ther­more, it is this ten­sion which spawns a great amount of artis­tic tal­ent here, and art is one of the many rea­sons to be in Oax­a­ca. We have a fair­ly diverse and won­der­ful bur­geon­ing art scene in this city, much thanks to the street artists who dec­o­rate the city’s walls as reminders of its rev­o­lu­tion­ary past and present.

Oax­a­ca is like a sweater. It is com­fort­able and cozy, but some­times the heat gets to you and you need to sweat and suf­fer a lit­tle. When I walk the streets of cen­tro it feels like they are hug­ging me. Soft archi­tec­tural spaces are punc­tu­at­ed by cob­bled streets and tow­er­ing cathe­drals. The city has a dis­tinct rhythm to it and once you find syn­chronic­i­ty with it it will car­ry you away. There is so much to make you feel at home and in peace: the archi­tec­ture is stun­ning, the food unabashed­ly declar­es its own uni­verse of fla­vors and tex­tures mak­ing it whol­ly unique to the region, the friend­ly peo­ple, the art and cul­ture, the rhythm, the tem­po and pace of each day, and even the dif­fi­cul­ties one faces each day when liv­ing here all add up to mak­ing this won­der­ful place home.

This will not be a trav­el blog specif­i­cal­ly. First­ly, because I live in Oax­a­ca, and; sec­ond­ly, because this blogs inten­tions are to speak of art, writ­ing, food and cul­ture in gen­er­al. Instead this blog will high­light art and cul­ture and my evolv­ing opin­ions about it. Of course I will be high­ly influ­enced and per­haps biased by my loca­tion, but that is a part of this evo­lu­tion. I am cur­rent­ly in this lim­i­nal space between being a part of a com­mu­ni­ty and at the same time being a for­eign­er. I am between two (or more) lan­guages, I am between cul­tures, and I am try­ing to bridge the­se gaps if at all pos­si­ble by includ­ing myself and ful­ly invest­ing in the place I love so much. This blog will act as the bread­crumbs which track my growth as a teacher, poet, writer, artist and musi­cian in Oax­a­ca and Mex­i­co. More­over, and pos­si­bly more impor­tant­ly, this blog will act as a resource to any­one wish­ing to learn about and find a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive on Mex­i­can art, food and cul­ture. I will not lim­it my writ­ing to Mex­i­co and I will attempt to take a cos­mopoli­tan approach to dis­cussing art, food and cul­ture; how­ev­er, I ask read­ers to take into con­sid­er­a­tion the great affect loca­tion has on ones per­spec­tive.

So, I hope you will join me as I con­tin­ue to fall into (or out of) place, and that you invest some time in inter­act­ing with me and my web­site. Besides being a per­son­al blog this web­site acts as a port­fo­lio of my writ­ing, print­ing and art­work. Take some time to look around.

Kev­in M. Rowe