Long Beach-based writer liz gonzález has a simple and surprising answer when you ask her to describe her creative self. “Taco.” It took me a second to absorb her answer. “Taco?” I asked.
“The taco with, of course, my culture Mexican…and it would be a vegetarian taco with pinto beans de la olla…and then with some other things that aren’t considered Mexican.”
It was these deep, often funny, insights that come across in a conversation with liz gonzález, a fourth generation Southern Californian. gonzález grew up in the San Bernardino Valley with her mother and grandparents. Her father died when she was three and her mother moved in her mother and father. In her writing and the conversation with liz gonzález, it’s obvious that her grandmother played a large role in her life.
“My grandmother started babysitting me since I was born. During my elementary school years, we all moved into a house together, the house that my mom bought. My grandparents moved in…and so my grandmother was my mother…she was my second mother.”
The affection for her grandmother is obvious in some of the poems from liz gonzález in her new book, Dancing in the Santa Ana Winds: Poems y Cuentos New and Selected from Los Nietos Press.
liz gonzález sat down with PalacioMagazine.com at the Michelle Obama Public Library in north Long Beach to talk about her family, life in the San Bernardino Valley, the easy and hard parts of writing, and share some of her poetry from Dancing in the Santa Ana Winds.
Listen to liz gonzález’s interview here.