Lordsburg High School
Historic preservation

Southern New Mexico
A Mecca for the Adventurous

Five join Space Hall of Fame

Fort Bayard
Happy 149th birthday

Growing Our Roots
The resurgence of herbalism

Every Hero has a Story
Library welcomes heroes

Heritage Days
Rodeo event focuses on the dig

Seventy Years Ago
Birthplace of the A-Bomb and Nuclear New Mexico

Downwinders Speak
Cancer culture in the shadow of the bomb


Mud Pies
Map Exhibit
Trout Fishing in the Gila
Truth Returns
Field School
Wine and Nuts

Columns and Departments

Editor's Notebook
Desert Diary
Southwest Gardening
Cycles of Life
Publisher's Notebook
The Starry Dome
Talking Horses

Special Sections

40 Days & 40 Nights

Red or Green

Dining Guide

Arts Exposure

Arts Scene
Gallery Guide

Body, Mind
& Spirit

Guides to Go

About the cover


Written Life

Festival, contest winners on tap for October

They say newspapers are going the way of the dodo, slipping into obscurity, sliding away into the slippery Internet mania. I disagree.

“No man is an island,” according to John Donne, and while the Internet may serve to tie us together in extraordinary ways once impossible, the community newspaper and its ilk are more about what is in our neighborhoods, what people are thinking that you would never think of, what’s happening in our immediate world.

Newspapers are made with words and; newspapers like Desert Exposure are made with the words of those with beliefs and passions they need to share. Anyone can pick up the paper and begin a journey of discovery into the thoughts, actions and activities going on in Southern New Mexico. Nothing reflects and serves a community like a news product, one that you can pick up, hold in your hands, open and choose what is interesting to you and relative to your world.

Coming to Silver City in October, the Southwest Festival of the Written Word will be celebrating talent and the area, with three days of free events including workshops, readings and presentations from more than 40 poets, novelists, nature writers and other non-fiction writers, many of them prominent in the literary world.

Keep an eye on www.swwordfiesta.org for presenters and schedule.

“Living under a wide sky, turquoise bright, in a land where crinkled mountains rise purple and brown behind stretches of grass or cacti, some write of their days. Living in that crease where the past and present meet, where English and Spanish and languages of the indigenous meld, some write of their encounters. The Festival celebrates those who write in or about the Southwest, and brings together their readers to touch the rough and smooth of their words, to taste the fire and cool of our written life.” – Tom Hester

This quote from Tom Hester came from the Southwest Festival of the Written Word website. He came to Southern New Mexico with his wife, Consuelo nine years ago after he retired from the Department of Justice, where he was the head of the editorial staff of the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Tom also won the grand prize story, “Josephine Lives!,” last year in the Desert Exposure writing contest.

The deadline for this year’s contest is coming right up on Aug. 26, so get those pens, typewriters and computers moving before the deadline. But I can’t ask you do anything I wouldn’t do myself, so I include here a piece I wrote for a writing contest in 2009. The contest topic – “Why I Write.”

Writing contest: The Desert Exposure grand prize winner will be featured in our October issue, runners up will be published either in that issue or subsequent ones. Submit your best article, short story, essay, poem or other piece of writing by Aug. 26. Entries must be previously unpublished and will be judged on literary quality and how well they express some aspect of life in southern New Mexico. Please limit your entries to one or two submissions. Maximum length per entry is 4,000 words. Top prize is $100 and publication, runners up will get $25.

Mail entries to: Desert Exposure Writing Contest, 840 N. Telshor Blvd., Suite E, Las Cruces, NM 88011, or email to contest@desertexposure.com. Include name and postal address, plus email address if you have one. Entries cannot be returned.

Postcards from the edge: Hosting travelers? Take them to your favorite place in Southern New Mexico and catch them with a copy of Desert Exposure and send it to us. Traveling? Whether you’re going to Nebraska, New England or Nepal snap a photo of yourself holding a copy of Desert Exposure and send it to diary@desertexposure.com or stick it in the mail to: Desert Exposure, 840 N. Telshor Blvd., Suite E, Las Cruces, NM, 88011.

Elva K. Österreich is editor for Desert Exposure and delighted to be here and holding “office hours” in Silver City on the second Wednesday of the month (Aug. 12) from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Yankie Creek Coffee House. Please drop by and say hello.

Why I write?

Pages, words scatter, name my name

There it is

Byline, on the fresh newsprint, or Suite 101,

echoofthedesert or WordHustler

Elva K. Österreich

That’s me, I can say something and

Maybe I’ll be on someone’s fridge

With the magnetic poetry and

Last week’s meatloaf recipe.

I write because I must be immortal

Because I will die and me, I will remain behind

Clawing through the Ethernet, on servers galore

Climbing through the future universe, maybe to Mars or Betelgeuse

Or creeping into the smallest heart, where

A dancing child, a lonely gentleman, an oldster in purple will

Feel a touch

A word touch

And that will be me.

Just me.

I write for butterflies, my children, darkness.

For making others understand what they can’t and

Know people they never thought they would care about

And for the people leaving, who should be remembered

With adventures, history, quiet ways that fade away.

I chronicle a place to die slowly, gold and red fiestas, magnificent achievements from old missions to failed rockets, children building magical labyrinths.

I write because without the words flowing out somewhere they might get jammed in

I could be word constipated, with just a trickle of thoughts left,

Or so piled my brain could explode.

Or they could get confused with my blood and act like the cholesterol

Causing a stroke, where the words instead of blood go coursing through

The synapses and frying the little ends of the brain cells

And then, well, who is to say how my brain would compensate, what new dark paths my thoughts would find to be released.

I write with no choice in the matter,

With no ability to not do so,

This is my spirit, soul, heart and flesh too,

Even with no name,

No byline,

No going down in history.

Still would I have to write.






Contact us!

PO Box 191

Silver City, NM 88062

telephone 538-4374

fax 534-4134







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