Harrison Candelaria Fletcher
Harrison Candelaria Fletcher is the author of Descanso For My Father: Fragments of A Life (University of Nebraska Press, 2012); Presentimiento: A Life in Dreams (Autumn House Press, 2016); and Finding Querencia: Essays From In Between, forthcoming from the Machete Series at Mad Creek Books in January 2022. His work has been widely published and received numerous honors, including the Autumn House Press Nonfiction Prize, Colorado Book Award, Kirkus Reviews Best Indie Memoir selection, Independent Publisher Book Awards Bronze Medal, New Letters Literary Award, Sonora Review Essay Award, Pushcart Prize Special Mention, and Best American Essays Notable selection. A native New Mexican, he teaches in the MFA in Writing Programs at Vermont College of Fine Arts and Colorado State University.
As a boy, I lived among fragments. Pottery shards. Skeleton keys. Strands of rusty barbed wire. Artifacts covered every surface of my Albuquerque home. My mother, an artist and collector, spent weekends exploring the back roads of New Mexico seeking treasures others had overlooked. She'd load them in the trunk of our '67 Comet, wipe away the dust and cobwebs, and nail them to our walls. She found comfort and inspiration in these relics, and with them, transformed our home into a museum, cathedral, and evolving self-portrait. I’d often stand beside her while she assembled her discoveries into what she called little shrines. When she finished, she'd pull me aside, and point to a corner table holding a bird’s nest, a Pueblo rattle, a string of Tibetan prayer beads, and an antique clock turning in slow dry ticks.
“What do you see?” she’d ask. “Look closely. Everything tells a story.”
Whenever I consider the source of my writing and where it has taken me, I return to that moment. Throughout my career exploring the in-between spaces of land, culture, memory, and family, I have endeavored to see as my mother encouraged—not only what is or what was, but what can become.
Like most gifts, the Creative Writing Fellowship arrived when I least expected it, but perhaps when I most needed it. I’m honored to be among writers I admire. I am so grateful to the National Endowment for the Arts for providing me the time and resources to venture out again in search of the possible.