The final part of my conversation with the talented Gabriela Jauregui.
How has your reception been in the mainstream media and publishing world as a Mexican writer who tells multicultural stories? Do you find that independent and alternative presses are more open to multicultural and diverse stories, whether it be poetry, novels or non-fiction?
I think mainstream media is definitely open to the concept of “multiculturalism” broadly defined, but in general the works published in mainstream media (I guess we should probably also define what we mean by that…) are not as interesting to me because they tend to present stories or poems that are more traditional in their form or they can gloss over a specific culture and its complexity in an attempt to make it palatable to a general audience (in fact, the concept of “multiculturalism” can be problematic precisely because of that sweeping gesture implied in it). Of course there are exceptional things that filter into the mainstream, so I hate to generalize. But I do feel that the work done by independent or alternative media can be more interesting because there’s less of a market constraint, less of a concern for selling selling selling, and therefore it allows for more risk-taking. And of course taking a risk always implies the possibility of failure yet risk can also bear fruit: some of the most ground-breaking work has been written and published by people who take risks or leaps of faith.
What are some books you’ve read lately that you found to be inspired and that you enjoyed? And what’s next for you, writing and travel-wise?
I just finished writing my PhD dissertation, so I have been reading and re-reading and obsessing over the wonderful and earth-shatteringly good novel De donde son los cantantes (1967) by cuban writer, Severo Sarduy, as well as Kathy Acker’s Empire of the Senseless (1988). In other things, I happened upon Jean-Luc Nancy’s La communauté désouvrée (translated to English as The Inoperative Community) and read some sections on community and writing that blew my mind. I just found a first-edition copy of Brion Gysin and William Burrough’s collaborative book, The Third Mind and I am incredibly excited about reading it.
I am looking forward to catching up on my creative writing once I am done with the PhD and I am working on a book of poems in Spanish. Travel-wise, I am moving back to Mexico in June, so that’s exciting but also sad because I will be leaving my friends, the family I have built, back in LA. And I will miss eating Pho whenever I want to (which is often)!