Under Santa Fe Skies

by Susan Tungate

62nd Annual Spanish Market

This weekend is the 62nd Annual Spanish Market in Santa Fe, the largest and oldest juried Spanish market in the country. The Plaza is alive with traditional and contemporary Hispanic art, food, music and dancing. I walked to the Plaza, bought a juicy green chile breakfast burrito (for $5!)  and took a look around.


My favorite thing to do at the Market is chat with the young artists ages 7-17 who participate. They are talented artists who exude such joy to be  showing their work. Look  at these faces. Look at their art!



When Harry Met Sofie

Dear Georgia,

Hey, Georgia, your brother Harry the Cat has a question for you.

What the heck were you thinking? You and our person drove off Saturday

morning to buy cat and dog food and three hours later you come back

with this thing:

Don’t try to deny you were there, because I have proof  you were at the

scene of the crime. This is you smiling for the camera as our person completes the adoption paperwork:

What do you have to say for yourself?

Harry the Cat


Dear Brother Harry,

Look, I was adopted. You were adopted. Little Sofie needed a new home,

a new name cause the shelter named her NALA of all things, and some

decent clothes. I know things were rocky the first day with your having that

hissy fit and all, but order has been restored. I even share my ducks with her:

And you know the best part? Sofie distracts you from

trying to play with me. You provoke her now instead of me and, unlike me who did not

take your bait, Sofie will chase you down the hall as you run for your life

to jump up on the dining room table. Good times! I do promise you this Ark is out of room.


GA the Dog

Lynn Cobb

In 2007 I was working on a feature length documentary titled “Women’s Wars: A Primer” focusing on sexual assault and rape in the military. At that time few people understood the extent of the issue. What I did not know was whether or not people would care.

I made a short to use for fundraising. Many people offered financial support for the film, but the  reaction at fundraisers was all too often that the women brought on the issue themselves by volunteering for the military or that the problem was too big to take on.

I was in that bloodied but unbowed frame of mind when I visited the Santa Fe Photo Cooperative on Cerrillos Road for the first time to make copies of my dvd for distribution to potential funders. I walked in the small space to see every inch filled with used still and movie cameras of every vintage and type, lenses, lighting equipment, binoculars, stuff and more stuff. Behind the counter was the tall, lanky owner Lynn Cobb. I told him what I needed and he asked about the documentary. We exchanged information and I was on my way.

A few days later I returned for my copies. As I was getting into my car, Lynn came out the front door saying in his gentle drawl, “Wait a minute. I need to tell you something.” Lynn said he was sorry, that he normally never did this, but that he and his wife had watched my short. Then he said this: “We knew nothing about this issue. We were blown away by your short and want to support your film. Here’s what I want you to know. My wife and I are dyed in the wool Republicans. This is not a political issue. It is a human issue. Just try to keep politics out of this and you will make a difference.” Then he gave me a hug and said thank you.

Since then I have seen Lynn a few times year. I shelved the movie in the fall of 2008 when the recession presented what I considered an insurmountable obstacle to completing the full length doc. Every visit Lynn said, “Now, don’t you think it’s time to try again?”

I went to the shop this morning. Another man was behind the counter. I said, “Hi, where’s Lynn today?” The man’s face fell as he said, “Oh God, you didn’t hear? Lynn died last October in a terrible car crash in Santa Fe.”

He went on to give me the details for several minutes, few of which I remember because all I could hear was that kind man saying with a smile, “Now, don’t you think it’s time to try again?”

Lynn was 71 and one good man. Rest in peace, Lynn.

Santa Fe International Folk Art Market: Back for 10th Year

The 2013 Santa Fe International Folk Art Market is back this weekend with over 150 artists from all over the world displaying their rugs, baskets, jewelry, tapestries, and knives in a stunning array of shapes and colors. Can you read the sign above which captures the spirit of the event: “It’s not a Market. It’s  Miracle. 90% of sales go home with artists and their organizations. These sales often represent 10X what they might earn in one year in their country, improving lives and sustaining traditions.” When you buy a piece of art, you literally can transform the lives of a community. So many beautiful faces.

This woman from Pakistan is sewing another beautiful Ralli quilt.

The smile on this man from China is as wide as his bodacious silver necklaces.

Now the man from Morocco with his knives did not look happy, but perhaps he was just a bit tired of obliging the requests of middle aged women to take his photograph.

He is from Kazakhstan. His eyes smile.

Sweet faced woman with beautiful hand dyed scarves.

This woman is from Rowanda, raised in the Uganda refugee camp. You can smell the fresh green reeds in her baskets.

This Japanese kite maker wears purple reading glasses.

This beautiful girl is from India.

I don’t remember where she is from, but she is pure morning sunlight.


Writing Your Memoir, Writing Your Family History and Revision Workshop: New July Classes


Time for a little self promotion. I wanted you to know about the new classes scheduled for July. In addition to a new series of memoir and personal essay writing classes, I am offering classes on writing your family history and on revising your draft memoir or personal essays. Let me know if you would like further information or, even better, to sign up. Many thanks. And here is the flyer:


You have a story to tell. Memoir writing offers the opportunity to observe the past with fresh eyes, reflect on the major events of your life and your life’s purpose, clarify your future path and preserve your unique stories. Here is the bonus: When you are open to telling your individual stories in the most authentic, truth seeking way, you will touch the universal truths that have the power to transform both you and the reader. Through writing exercises and discussion, Susan will provide the tools you need to capture the stories of your life, one small vivid story at a time. Susan believes in holding a safe space for students to explore their voices and work on the craft of writing. Classes meet once a week on Wednesdays from 3-4:30pm for six weeks beginning July 17. Cost is $150 plus tax if paid prior to the first class, and $165 plus tax if paid the first day of class.



Have you been thinking (forever) about writing your family’s history or writing down a few classic family stories, but are daunted by the task?  Do you struggle with how best to tell an engaging story? Help has arrived! In this workshop, we will explore techniques to turn your research, family vignettes and trunk full of documents into a lively family tale that will honor the past, bond the generations and provide a story well told for generations to come. Workshop meets Sunday, July 14 from 4:30-6:30pm. Cost is $50 plus tax if paid prior to the class and $65 the day of class.



You have completed a rough draft of your memoir or a collection of personal essays. Now what? How do you shape and revise your work into a story well told? In this  workshop, we will focus on the basics of good prose writing:  structure, voice, narrative, scene, theme, tension, metaphor, setting, honesty and illuminating the universal from the specific. Workshop meets Tuesday, July 16 and Tuesday, July 23 from 3-5pm. Cost is $100 plus tax if paid prior to the first class, and $115 plus tax if paid the first day of class.