When my writer pal, Beverly Donofrio, announced more than two years ago that she was going to move away from San Miguel and become a nun, I felt, hm, what did I feel? Abandoned, maybe, and trying to understand. Bev now lives in Colorado alone in a cabin in the mountains, as a contemplative, part of a community of like religious individuals. She writes about her life and her relationship with God.
For five or six years, Bev and Sandra Gulland (Mistress of the Sun, the Josephine B. Trilogy) met regularly and exchanged chapters and pages of what we were working on. We met at Bella Italia when it was on Hernandez Macias and had the big parrot in its courtyard. We each ordered the beef filet each time and Bev, a margarita, Sandra, white wine and me, a beer. Every once in awhile, Bev and Sandra would go through a non-drinking period, but I never failed to order my Dos X. Our meetings were sustenance as a writer for me.
So Bev was back last week. Over dinner, I was happy to learn that she still swears like a truck driver, and that she seems pretty darn happy with her life. She came to Colegio Siglo XXI and spoke to my advanced English students about writing and having had a movie made of her life (Riding in Cars with Boys). They were impressed with her candor and willingness to talk about everything in her life. I said that is what makes a good memoir writer.
Bev is on her way back to her beloved cabin now, and on a bright note, writer pal, Sandra Gulland arrives in San Miguel tomorrow!