I thought about using the title "Giving and Blessings" but opted for brevity.
First a word about giving. The writing community, I've found, is the givingest bunch of people. I can speak especially to mystery writers and, so far, horror writers. The most experienced are willing to take time out and lend a hand to new writers. In fact, there's a wealth of information that writers have posted on their blogs. Some examples are Alexandria Sokoloff's Three Act lessons, Beth Anderson's synopsis writing lesson, and Michael Bracken will even tell you how to write for the "trues" if that's your inclination. If you Google properly, you can find tons more lessons given for free from those who know how to do it.
On to giving blessings, which was my original idea for this post. I went to Santa Fe last week for Left Coast Crime, and mystery fan convention that moves around west of the Mississippi and will be held in Sacramento next year. I met with many of those generous mystery writers, and some fun fans and librarians, the treasures of the literary world.
This site, http://www.thesantafesite.com/history.html, says Santa Fe, New Mexico is the oldest capital city in North America and also the oldest European city west of the Mississippi. All of New Mexico is, with Florida, the oldest areas settled by Europeans in this country. The Spaniards (along with the Jewish people who were expelled from Spain the same day Columbus sailed) made their way to New Mexico, settled the area, and have been there ever since. They, of course, settled in land already settled by the Pueblo Indians. The history was not one of peaceful coexistence, and the Europeans eventually defeated the Pueblos and took possession of Santa Fe. The Indians today live in ancient pueblos, some very near Santa Fe, and produce artistic pottery, jewelry, rugs, and other arts and crafts. I can't go to Santa Fe without buying jewelry and have some pottery from there, too.
With the violent history, you'd think the Indians in the area would be bitter and resentful. Instead, they join in the tourism industry of the area and one tribe even welcomed the Left Coast Crime convention to Santa Fe. The Ohkey Owingey Pueblo performed a Buffalo Dance for us, permitted pictures, as a blessing on our gathering. I was so touched that tears streamed down my face as I snapped picture after picture of the serious, dedicated dancers, ages one and a half (although she didn't dance) to, I think, sixteen.
I posted all my pictures on facebook, but I've put a few here if you don't have the time or inclination to click over there.
This link is available to you even if you're not signed up for facebook.