The Importance of Literary Friendships

Some years ago I took an undergraduate class on poetry writing from Marilyn Chin at San Diego State University. At one point during the semester she extolled the virtues of having literary friendships, and we actually met one of her literary friends (whose name now escapes me). I was able to nod knowingly, as I’ve enjoyed a number of meaningful literary connections over the years. These are people with whom I’ve talked “writing,” exchanged manuscripts, celebrated successes, and—most of the time—commiserated.

Patricia Santana

Today I highlight one of these writers, Patricia Santana, who has played this role in my life more recently. We’ve had many lunch dates focused on writing, and we once exchanged second novel manuscripts (hers – Ghosts of El Grullo – has been published; mine hasn’t). To be sure, I don’t think I’d have much of a place in San Diego’s literary community without her influence. One time she invited a large group of local writers to her home for dinner, and I was lucky enough to be included.

What has most touched me about Patricia, however, is the way she has supported me as I’ve brought out two volumes of poetry. Not only have I received encouraging feedback from her, she recently—of her own volition—hosted a reading for me and badgered our fellow colleagues to attend.

So I’d like to take this opportunity to emphasize her work, especially since she is currently writing a new novel, one that is sure to come out in a year or two. You can learn all about Patricia on her website: