In a time where a 140-character tweet can win you more publicity than a 200-page book, LPC’s Michelle Gonzales takes on the challenge of the digital age head-on by successfully releasing her memoir “Pretty Bold for a Mexican Girl: Growing Up Chicana In a Hick Town” through periodic blog posting.
Gonzales, an English and Creative Writing instructor at Las Positas College, has been blogging personal musings and political opinions since 2008. It was in October 2011, after finishing her first book, that she took the blogging world as a vehicle for self-publication.
In her recent appearance as a guest on channel 30’s “In a Word,” a decade-old local television show in the Tri-Valley area that features books and authors, Gonzales talked about her book “Pretty Bold for a Mexican Girl” with host and fellow LPC English instructor Jim Ott.
“It’s not heavy-handed, it’s got humor in it,” Ott said during the interview, also noting how Gonzales’ work focused on race issues.
“Pretty Bold for a Mexican Girl” is a collection of Gonzales’ experiences that began in Tuolumne, where blending in as a minority became a lesson she learned very early on.
“I grew up in this small Eastern Californian city where people kept asking me, ‘What are you? What are you?’” Gonzales said. “Today we are expected to accept (cultural diversity) but back in the 80’s that was not the case.”
Written in 32 parts, Gonzales publishes her book one-part-at-a-time every week on her online blog http://prettyboldmexicangirl.blogspot.com.
According to Gonzales, breaking down the book helps frame specific highlights of her life.
In addition to this, her readers have the choice of reading certain parts exclusively and still get a dose of a great story.
Gonzales, who currently resides in Oakland, began teaching part-time in Las Positas in Spring 2004. She became full-time faculty member in Fall 2005. Gonzales received her Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in Creative Writing from Mills College. It was there she also learned one short saying which she admits prevails in her work.
“The most taboo subjects make the best stories,” Gonzales said, adding that her narration of her early life, including her mother’s previous drug use and her stepfather’s strange behavior, does not come across as embarrassing to her as most people might conclude.
“When you share personal stories, it makes people think about their own personal lives,” Gonzales said. “And this is what draws readers in.”
Gonzales will be releasing the last 10 parts of her book over the course of the following weeks.
Keeping her online presence strong, Gonzales also encourages interested readers to visit Facebook page “Pretty Bold for a Mexican Girl by Michelle Cruz Gonzales” for updates.