Eric Rudd, and his wife, Barbara, spend the winter months in Sayulita, and have been doing so for 11 years now. Though he’s not retired (he’s a full time artist), he has served as president of Pro Sayulita and continues to stay involved with Pro Sayulita and in the community. Approximately ten years ago, he wrote a children’s, book, “The Day Something Strange Happened in Sayulita,” and recently wrote an adult novel, “Sayulita Mariposa, Sayulita Butterfly,” and generously donates all proceeds to Pro Sayulita.
How did you get involved with Pro Sayulita?
When we were building our house, and were renting near the north end, I woke up one morning and it was quiet-- for about a minute! Why was it quiet in noisy Sayulita I wondered? That’s when a story popped into my head. I wrote it down, then did the illustrations. The next year, Egle Schnyder happened to see the manuscript at our new house and mentioned it to Cap Sparling who was then president of Pro Sayulita. One thing led to another, and we produced 5,000 copies of “The Day Something Strange Happened in Sayulita” to sell to raise money for the public schools. It’s been a local “best seller.” And that’s how Barbara and I started to attend the weekly Pro Sayulita meetings. Then one year, when Cap had enough as president, I stepped up to the plate. That was an “active” three years at the helm.
How does Pro Sayulita make a difference in Sayulita?
The better question is, what doesn’t Pro Sayulita do? We are the Chamber of Commerce, United Way and Public Services all rolled into one-- and all done through volunteer efforts. I think in the 10 plus years of its history, Grupo Pro Sayulita (sorry, the old name) played critical roles in many areas - public safety, trash and recycling, helping the public schools, helping with medical care, beach safety, helping Sayulitanimals, and so forth. For those who remember Sayulita a decade ago, a lot has changed.
What motivates you to continue to try to make a positive impact in Sayulita?
I guess it’s in my DNA. My joke is, if you want a slow-pace of life, move to New York City - people will leave you alone there. Don’t move to a small town where just voicing an idea gets you involved. But seriously, it’s also the people-- we have a very interesting mix of residents (full time and part time) that makes our lifestyle here fun.
What changes do you want to see brought about by this group?
While a lot has been done, I think some basic infrastructure issues are still on the plate- from better water treatment (which seems to me is an easy fix; not sure why the government is dragging), better trash system, full time life guards, a better parking/traffic system during the high season, and increase support for the public schools.
What role do you play?
For three full years, I was out-front and into every aspect of the town. I also wrote a weekly column for El Sayulero, to make our activities known. Since then, Barbara and I have remained active by helping with the gala-auction and now, with my new novel, we’ll try to raise more money for Pro Sayulita.
What have you gained from your involvement with this group?
I’ve often observed how critical people are of local, regional and national government; until you try to initiate change yourself, you don’t realize the complexity of making change happen - people are resistant. I felt this in Sayulita, as well as where we live the rest of the time, in North Adams, Massachusetts. No one wants to diminish the charm and history of our town, but there are real needs and there are changes happening that will require us to address them. We can interpret them as bad or as good opportunities, depending on our approach. I always try to see the cup as half full and a door opening to betterment.
What positive changes have you seen brought about by your efforts? What are you most proud of?
Over the many years of involvement, there are a few highlights that stand out as making a critical difference. When we had the terrible flood a few years ago, because Pro Sayulita had systems in place, we were able to raise $27,000 in two weeks and we supplied help and mattresses to those who needed it the most. When security concerns got to the point where all our efforts would have become meaningless if we did not get that controlled, we managed to raise sufficient funds to greatly increase the police presence in town and reduce tourist crime drastically. And what I’m equally proud of is that I insisted on carrying out Cap’s welcome mat- during my three years, we had weekly meetings where everyone was welcomed - part time and full time - and also encouraged to discuss and act on whatever anyone felt was needed. For our annual gala-fundraiser, we had over 80 volunteers helping. I think friendships started at Pro Sayulita meetings continue forever.
What additional change(s) would you like to see in the future and what are you doing to make this happen?
It’ll be fun to see what the future will bring. For now, I hope that my new novel, which will be on sale at the Pro Sayulita table at the Friday Mercado del Pueblo, will sell out quickly and be enjoyed - that will help Pro Sayulita continue to fund its many programs. It’s a fun book for the beach, pool or as a gift. The books just arrived in two cars - thanks to Gail and Sam Pottinger and Scattie and Bob McGrath for driving the books down and saving on freight. For those outside of the area and unable to purchase via Pro Sayulita, it’s available in print or ebook/kindle via Amazon.com.)
Here’s the story summary:
SAYULITA MARIPOSA, SAYULITA BUTTERFLY - A Novel
By Eric Rudd
AN EPIC STORY OF ART, POLITICS AND INTRIGUE: A Mexican village is an artist’s connection to Elizabeth Taylor, Andy Warhol and the hidden truth behind President Kennedy’s assassination. The story begins on a flight from Puerto Vallarta to New York, when 94-year old Felix Peters enlists the help of the passenger seated next to him because he fears that he won’t be alive when the plane lands. As his story and secrets unravel, it becomes clear that - as a butterfly flapping its wings can cause a tornado somewhere in the world - the actions of a few, in a small village in Mexico, can trigger bigger events in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and perhaps affect world politics.
How can others help?
Sayulita is small-- anyone can help! It’s so easy to talk to people and get involved. Right now, I think what’s on the plate is getting the Pro Sayulita annual gala (set for March 16) organized-- we sure need new blood and more volunteers!