May 3, 1996


We're happy to send you more details about the Santa Fe Science-Writing Conference. The people at Recursos ask us to remind those of you who haven't paid the conference fee to do so as soon as you can. (If you need to have a check cut by your institution, the staff understands that this can take a while.) We're looking forward to meeting you in June. As many of you know, this is a first-time effort; please excuse the rough edges. It's going to be great. If you have any questions at all, call me (505 989-4492) or send an email ( I usually check for messages several times a day. If you have a laptop, please bring it for the writing assignment. If not, don't worry. You can survive without one -- we'll be asking you to hammer together a good, solid intro to your story and then sketch out the rest.

In planning this, we've taken to heart a truth learned from attending conferences ourselves: the real work happens between the official sessions, in informal encounters between students and instructors. Though we've planned a full schedule, we've left plenty of time in the evenings for these serendipitous occasions. Except for Tuesday night, when we will have dinner at an Anasazi ruin and hear Tim Ferris talk, and Wednesday, when we'll have a barbecue at my place, everyone -- students and teachers alike -- will be on their own to forage for dinner in Santa Fe's restaurants. (Your instructors will likely reveal a preference for cheap Mexican dives.) This will provide even more chances to congeal into groups and carry on running conversations. Some other nationally known science writers hang out in Santa Fe. John Casti, author of "Paradigms Lost," "Complexification," "Five Golden Rules," and other books, said he'd be happy to drop by for some of the social occasions.

The Setting

Everyone knows that Santa Fe, sitting in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) mountains, has been an artistic and literary hangout for decades. We won't bore you with chamber of commerce rhetoric. With the Santa Fe Institute and Los Alamos, the town has become a scientific center as well. (And just to keep things interesting, you can choose from any number of New Age healers, psychic surgeons, and other flimflam artists and have your aura read.) The travel writers like to go on about how this is a land of three cultures -- Native American, Hispanic and Anglo. But it's less of a melting pot than a beautiful chaotic swirl. If you've never been here, you'll be amazed. If Santa Fe is already old hat to you, maybe we can point out some of its stranger corners. Remember that the 7,000-foot altitude means sunny days (with little atmosphere to shield out UV rays) and cool, sometimes chilly summer nights. Most people easily adapt to the altitude, but you might notice how quickly a glass of wine or a margarita goes to your head.


It's possible to fly to Santa Fe through Denver on United, but almost everyone flies into Albuquerque, 70 miles south, and then takes the Shuttlejack (a bus, really), which costs $20 each way. Make a reservation (505 982-4311) and tell them you'll want to be dropped off at Plaza Resolana.


Here is a boilerplate paragraph about Plaza Resolana:

"Plaza Resolana Study and Conference Center, where the workshops will be conducted and most of the participants housed, is within a three-block walking distance of the historic 17th-century Santa Fe Plaza. Accommodations are double occupancy (unless otherwise requested) with pillows, linens, blankets and towels provided. Plaza Resolana is a modest yet warm and practical facility serving breakfast and lunch. The Conference will provide participants with recommendations for dinner at restaurants in Santa Fe offering local cuisine in every price range. A comfortable, quiet, writing room will be available 24 hours a day. Plaza Resolana is a wheelchair-accessible, non-smoking facility."

That's it for now.

See you soon. 

George Johnson