I wanted to remind everyone in Aspen, as if you need a reminder, what a wonderful town you are living in. I had never been to Aspen and had heard many good things. It wasn’t until I arrived that I realized how special a place it is. I, along with 100 or so other writers, attended the Aspen Summer Words conference as part of the Aspen Writer’s Foundation in June. I don’t know if it is the scenic beauty or mountain air but everyone I came in contact with in Aspen was courteous and helpful. The chamber of commerce information desk helper at the airport gave me bus routes, taxi information, rental car information, biking information, and even told me how far the walk would be into town. The taxi driver who drove me to my hotel gave me the lay of the land. When I arrived at the hotel, seeing the New Yorker in the lobby made me feel right at home. Tom Angell and his staff at the St. Moritz Lodge went out of their way to make everyone in the hotel feel at home, comfortable, and well informed. My walks through town were pleasant and friendly. The Aspen Meadows Resort was not only a beautiful place but the entire staff, even the cleaning crew, were friendly and ready to help. I want to especially thank the men manning the shuttle service. We kept them busy the entire week.
Aspen Writer’s Foundation members worked tirelessly to put together a wonderful conference and festival. They were still smiling and helpful by the end of the week. I gained so much valuable knowledge and was able to meet and listen to some of my literary heroes: Luis Alberto Urrea, Edwidge Danticat, Daniel Alarcon, Francisco Goldman, Derek Green, and many others. The week was topped off by getting to meet Louie Perez of Los Lobos, a Chicano band from Los Angeles. He was part of “Three Louies” along with author Luis Rodriguez and journalist Luis Torres. They performed for the literary festival. I have seen Los Lobos play in Texas and California; however, every venue where I have seen the band is so large that there is no chance of getting to talk to any members of the band for any length of time. What a treat to be able to sit and chat with Mr. Perez. Getting a book signed by Mr. Rodriguez and sharing stories with Mr. Torres in such an intimate setting was beyond words. ¡Viva Aspen!