I have to be honest, I have been struggling to write recently and I wanted to talk about it here with you, my dear readers. I have a sadness-induced writer’s block. I have a fear that I might be doing a disservice writer’s block. I have a worry of being seen as naïve writer’s block. The problem is that writing is my life so without it I feel incomplete, so I decided instead to write about my writer’s block to see if I might conquer it.
So as many of you know, I write about Mexico. I write the positive story of Mexico that doesn’t make it to the international press too often. I seek out the beauty and the uniqueness of this country that I love dearly and write stories about that. This last five months, however have been tough. Mexico, a country that I always describe as being led by el corazon is suffering from a broken heart. The disappearance of the 43 students in Iguala has torn out the country´s heart like the Aztec emperor making sacrifice to the gods. So everyday when I sit down to write about Mexico, I wonder, how can I write about all the positive things when the country is suffering? It seems naïve, disrespectful, even wrong. But as I write this, something inside of me is shouting louder than all of that and it is my unfaltering belief that love is the only way to conquer hate, the only way to cure a broken heart is by pouring love back into it. This is why a while back, when lots of tragic stories were hitting the news from Mexico, I started the twitter hashtag #ForTheLoveOfMexico and I asked people to tweet about the things they love about this incredible country. It was the only way that I could see to do something for Mexico.
Also, as I am writing this, I keep thinking of a wonderful Ted talk by my favourite author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie , who talked of the danger of the single story. She argues that “the single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.” I couldn’t agree with her more. Mexico is a land of roughly 120 million people and no single story, good or bad, can define it.
I was also recently discussing my concerns with my partner. He is Mexican and whilst working hard towards making changes in his country he has a deep, unfaltering love for it. He said something that stuck with me and will drive me forward. “It is easy to look for the negative, you will always find it, but it takes a different sort of heart to always seek out the goodness in people and in places.” He also suggested that maybe, right now, writing about the positives is more important than it has ever been, that people need to hear it, to be reminded.
So with that in mind, and at the risk of being seen to be naïve, I am going to try to rip down this wall of writer’s block and go forth and celebrate the goodness that I see around me everyday in this beautiful country that I call home.
…And just as I am writing these words a brass band is passing by my door, the sounds of fiesta filling my heart.
Susannah Rigg is a freelance writer and Mexico specialist. Her work has been featured in Condé Nast Traveler, CNN Travel, BBC Travel, The Independent UK, Afar and The New Worlder among others. Check out her portfolio here. Contact Susannah by email, info [at] mexicoretold [dot] com and join her on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.