Catherine Marenghi had thought about writing for years, but postponed it because she was a single mother and needed to be there for her son. “Soon,” she would tell herself, “when he’s off to college, I’ll do the writing I’ve been putting aside.” She worked in public relations in a big firm in Boston and did a lot of business writing. But she knew there was a different kind of writing trapped inside her—a memoir about her past and her family’s roots in a little town in Italy, in the Apennine mountains. She dreamt of going there, even moving to Italy eventually. Mexico, for her, was not even a consideration at that time; she know little about it.
When she completed her memoir, “Glad Farm,” she followed it up with a visit to the small town of Metti from which her family had come many years ago. She enjoyed the visit and connected with many people, but she was not drawn to Italy in a way that would make her move there. Then in 2014, by a stroke of luck, she found out about the Writers’ Conference in San Miguel de Allende. She decided to sign up. When she arrived, she instantly felt a “happiness and a sense of belonging” in the city. She explains that there is something here, something that offers “youth and wellbeing” to those who come. And of course, she also discovered the entire gamut of beautiful things in the city, particularly the cultural connections that are so powerful, and the many opportunities for intelligent conversations. San Miguel made her feel alive. When she returned to Boston, and the dreadful, cold winters, she had to ask herself: “Why am I coming back here?”
She got a similar message from someone in HR at work who read her book and said: “What are you doing here?” She returned to San Miguel once more and without any prior plan, bought a house in Colonia Guadalupe. She quit her job in Boston, collected her mementos and books, and moved here in 2016. Catherine is heavily involved in the San Miguel writing community through the Literary Sala, and she is co-founder of Poetry Mesa, a biannual forum for poets. Catherine believes this is the best choice she could have ever made—living in a city that has embraced her. Nowhere has she felt the sense of community as here. Her final words in our interview were: “I have enormous luck to be here.”
If you’d like to share your story, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org