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Creative Women

In the Company of Creative Women

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit with two creative women: Georgia O’Keeffe, a legend in the art world, and author Anne Hillerman. Yes, I know Georgia isn’t alive, but I still felt her presence at her home and studio.

Entrance to O'Keeffe's home. Photos were restricted inside.

Entrance to O’Keeffe’s home. Photos were restricted inside.

I traveled with family last Friday to Abiquiu, which has been on my must-see New Mexico list. The Spanish Colonial-era compound was ready to fall into the ground when O’Keeffe bought it in 1945 and then had it restored over the next four years. (She came to Taos first before discovering the Abiquiu area.)

Visitors can step inside her studio but only view the home’s rooms through their enormous windows. It makes sense. Everything is as she left it. Lean and clean. Elegant lines. Subtle colors for the most part. There are her collections of stones and sagebrush trimmed as if they were bonsai. A jimson weed was even in flower.

IMG_3797Later we drove to Plaza Blanca, those mystical formations of white rock she painted, and to Ghost Ranch.

Georgia died in 1986 at age 98 in Santa Fe, where she spent the last couple of years of her life. Still, 31 years later, her home and the vistas she painted emanate with her energy. I was glad to soak it in.

Now, let me tell you about Anne Hillerman. She just completed her third in the Leaphorn, Chee, and Manuelito series, called Song of the Lion. Yes, she uses the characters created by her late, great father, Tony Hillerman, to solve mysteries in Navajo Nation. What I especially enjoy is that Anne has elevated Bernadette Manuelito to a larger role in her novels. (Here’s my review that appeared in Temp.)

Anne was doing a book signing at op. cit. books in Taos. I had done a public Q&A with her after her second novel, Rock with Wings, came out. I offered to do the same at her June 3 reading.

On Saturday, I asked her about her writing process — she takes a walk with her dog first thing in the morning before she writes and then maybe later in the day — and how she conducts her research. We discussed her characters, in particular Bernadette, and the book’s storyline. She was gracious and forthcoming.

When she signed my copy of her book, she wrote: “Thanks for the great questions.” I gave her a copy of my novel, The Sweet Spot, with the message: “Thanks for the great answers.”

I’d say Anne was a great interview.

Speaking of The Sweet Spot, here is the link on Amazon

Thanks to those who have read it and my other novel, Peace, Love, and You Know What!

ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: Antlers hung in O’Keeffe’s patio.

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