(Editor's note: This is the fourth in a series about the Todos Santos Writers Workshop, a new under-the-radar program that flourishes in Todos Santos, Mexico. Find the first post, by co-founder Rex Weiner, here,the second, by Bianca Juarez, here, and the third by Joy Wright Abbot here. sdl)
Come with me; I’ve got an idea. Come with me for a flash journey along the Tropic of Cancer and let’s see what we find along this latitudinal cummerbund.
Why? Because trust me: the Tropic of Cancer is a Songline, a circumference etched in story, and it needs yours added to it. But before we leave, I think you should know a few things:
First, there will be sharks. Hungry ones. At some point you’ll stumble upon marooned honeymooners, archipelagoes, and daiquiris, too. Further afield someone might hand you a yogurt lassi sweating in India at midday. And you should be ready for your heart to shatter a million different ways after discovering gross incivility in Myanmar and its refugee crisis. Egyptian Pyramids, Saudi oil fields, bone fishing in the Bahamas—all these things fall along the Tropic of Cancer, a cross-section of our living, breathing planet.
One last thing before we set sail, one last place you should know about, a quieter emergence along this, the Northern Tropic:
It’s a place called Todos Santos.
Since 2003 I’ve been traveling to this Mexican pueblo each winter, an artist-surf town hugging the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula. It’s proper magic. Not rabbits-out-of-a-hat magic but something far more elemental and rhythmic, something felt through the senses—sensual, embodied, graceful.
We’ll be stopping here for a week, and when we do, be sure to look around and listen. You’ll see migrating whales and flitter along with the song of hundreds of different wintering bird species.
Again, Tropic of Cancer.
We’ll stop for a little dose of magic, to rest here for a week of story crafting at the Todos Santos Writing Workshop, and begin to ask ourselves:
What’s our story? Why does story even matter? Who cares? What do bad stories sound like and why? Why might the world need new ones? Aren’t stories the compass we use to navigate life?
Along life’s latitudes you’re bound to experience perennial tragedies and triumphs, villains and heroes. You’ll discover desecrated landscapes and wild ones, too, the very stuff that composes legend, folktale, the Great Conversation, and the stories worth sharing.
Each winter, for one week a group of artists and writers congregate in Todos Santos, Mexico, where the Tropic of Cancer bisects the finest taqueria in town. Here you will find magic. You will find the elements of solitude and camaraderie to help tell your own story.
And when it comes time to return home, you will pack your belongings and stories and head home to cast them into your community. You grow. They grow. We grow. You carry a piece of the Tropic of Cancer with you, then, forever.
So come along, and don’t forget your toothbrush (or a pen).
Nicholas Triolo is a writer, filmmaker, and long-distance runner living in Missoula, Montana. He is Blog Editor for Orion Magazine and Associate Director for the Todos Santos Writing Workshop. His writing and films have been featured in Orion Magazine, Terrain.org, Trail Runner Magazine, Whitefish Review, Clackamas Review, Juxtaprose Magazine, and others. More of his work can be found at: nicholastriolo.net