Award-winning Mexican-American author Barbara Renaud Gonzalez concluded the inaugural Jovita Gonzalez Women’s History Month Lecture Series at South Texas College’s Pecan Campus Library in McAllen with a lively and energetic reading from her book titled, “Golondrina, Why Did You Leave Me?” The series was sponsored by STC’s Mexican American Studies Program and the Department of Library Services.
“It’s overwhelming and life-thrilling,” said Renaud Gonzalez about her participation in the lecture series named in honor of Roma native Jovita Gonzalez, an important Mexican-American writer, historian and teacher. “I know her work and she deserves this. I never believed I would get this chance to be a part of something like this. Everything happens for a reason. I never read with a classic guitarist either, but here I am.”
Renaud Gonzalez’s reading was accompanied by STC Guitar Instructor Jaime Garcia, who met the author an hour before the event.
“It was my first time doing something like this, and I really liked it,” said Garcia. “We ran through it briefly before the event, but mainly it was just feeling the mood, whether she was going faster or slower, or higher or lower.”
“Golondrina: Why Did You Leave me?” is based on Renaud Gonzalez’s life and her life-long search for her own voice. She explained that it took her 10 years to complete and many of the characters are based on her family, especially her parents. Renaud Gonzalez was born in Beeville and raised in the Texas Panhandle. Her mother was from Mexico, but her father was a sharecropper raised on the King Ranch.
“What we are searching for as writers is our voice, no one can tell our story like we can. My hope was that I get to the source of who I am,” she said. “When you find your voice, it is mind-clearing.”
Students and the community filled the Pecan Campus Library Rainbow room for Renaud Gonzalez’s reading and several students, aspiring writers and poets enthusiastically participated in the Q&A portion of the event, in which she encouraged them to “write what they feel” and to “do what they love.”
“If you write what you feel, that’s all that matters,” she advised. “Do what you love to do because you’re going to end up doing it anyway, just go full force and don’t listen to what people say.”