July 5, 2016

Spotlight: Mira Gonzalez

Mira Gonzalez on her recent trip to Las Vegas, 
drinking a wild cannabis lubricant oil, and her white toy Pomeranian.

Mira Gonzalez is an American poet renowned for blunt observation and sincere introspection in her work. Gonzalez’s chapbook, I Will Never Be Beautiful Enough To Make Us Beautiful Together, was released by Sorry House in 2013. Upon its release, Gonzalez was heralded as a necessary, unique, and humorous voice in independent literature. Her sincerity and nostalgic poetry constantly maintains a reflective and modern edge: for example, in I Will Never Be Beautiful…, Gonzalez recalls a memory of losing a childhood teddybear in a park after feeling the exact same way in her early twenties. Her work is never indulgent – Gonzalez is sincere, succinct, and effective in her poetry through brief vignettes of her introspection.

Disappointment is a common theme in Gonzalez’s work, but is expressed matter of factly. This sets Gonzalez apart from the rest, because her expressions may read as bleak, but they are never written for pity or sympathy. Her masterful use of objectivity presents emotional and romantic matters in a simple, fact-driven manner. Again, this is Gonzalez’s defining characteristic: her work is truthful, effective, and sincere, but never is it only a function to inspire regret or sorrow. Gonzalez’s work is serious, but never moping; and it is sincere, but never condescending. She remains the only voice in her literary sphere to remain completely sincere without her compositions patronizing.

I spoke to Mira Gonzalez over email about her recent trip to Las Vegas, drinking a wild cannabis lubricant oil, and her white toy Pomeranian. Gonzalez’s most recent works, Selected Tweets and I Will Never Be Beautiful Enough To Make Us Beautiful Together are currently available for purchase.

The Le Sigh: What was your experience in Las Vegas like?

Mira Gonzalez: I went because my dad was playing a punk music festival called 'Punk Rock Bowling' with his band FLAG, which is a Black Flag reunion band. My brother, younger sister and I came to Vegas for the weekend to see our dad play and be his emotional support. It was also, coincidentally, the weekend of my 24th birthday. When I arrived to Vegas though and saw all the lights and giant cups of sugary tequila people were drinking outdoors in 100 degree weather and what not, I suddenly realized Vegas was too high energy for my stoner personality. I feel the most comfortable and happy when I am indoors, somewhere with A/C, wearing sweatpants and a size XXL shirt, watching Gilmore Girls by myself with a bong in one hand and a bag of salt n vinegar potato chips in the other. Fortunately, on the day of my birthday some wonderful girls who are fans of my writing brought me weed and chips, so I spent the rest of my weekend alternating between smoking weed in a hot bath and eating my weight at the buffet in my hotel. I only went outside twice the entire weekend, once to go to the music festival and see my dad play, and once because my brother somehow convinced me that 'exploring' would be a good idea. I also played blackjack at the casino in my hotel and won $5 then immediately gave up.

TLS: What is your dog’s name? What activities do you enjoy doing with your dog?

MG: My dog's name is Parsnip, he is a white toy Pomeranian. My boyfriend, who I live with, also has a dog named Tycho, who is a Corgi. Tycho currently can't feel her back legs due to a back injury. She had surgery though and the vets seem hopeful that she will eventually walk again. My favorite activity to do with the dogs is sleep in a bed with them. We don't let the corgi into our bed anymore though because, due to her paralysis, she also doesn't have control of her bowels, so she just poops anywhere, anytime without warning, and my boyfriend has to squeeze her bladder to drain her of pee like 3x per day. It's really dark. He probably won't be happy I made this information public.

TLS: How would you describe your dog’s personality?

MG: Thirsty and desperate.

TLS: Your poetry is stylistically casual, but its undertones depict complicated thoughts and feelings. Do you consider sincerity an aspect of your work? Why or why not?

MG: I try to make sure that my work is nothing but sincerity. All of my writing comes from a place of earnestness. At this point in my life, I have no interest in art that isn't earnest. Being facetious is easy and safe, there is no room for rejection if you are already deeply sarcastic about your own work. It's like rejecting yourself before anyone else can reject you. I'm interested in being as earnest as possible and opening myself up to every sort of rejection.

TLS: Your pieces on Broadly are iconic. In one article, you detailed drinking an entire bottle of cannabis lubrication. Have you had any experience that has topped this one, or is it a standalone level of stoned that remains unreachable? Did it feel like being mega stoned, or was it like an entirely new drug altogether?

MG: I think that was likely the most stoned I've ever been. It was definitely the highest amount of THC I've ever consumed in one sitting. Once as a teen I did steal a few weed cakes that my parents made. My boyfriend at the time and I ate like, two or three of them each. I wasn't high for multiple days but I definitely blacked out and woke up on my boyfriend's couch watching The Roast of Bob Saget, unsure how I got there.

TLS: Being open about body image and false distortion is very brave. I have encountered a lot of young women that agree, they often tell me that you are an inspiration to them. Was there any particular moment when you began to feel confident in sharing your stories about your self image? Could you describe the way that you felt in that moment?

MG: I think my willingness to be open about my body issues began at a point in my life where I realized that being a writer is sort of a sociopathic career choice. Any successful writer who writes about their personal life has made the decision that their writing is more important than the feelings of any of the real people they are writing about. And I realized that if I want to continue writing the way I do, I would have to make that same choice. Furthermore, I realized that, if I was going to put my writing before the feelings and desires of people I love, it's only fair that I do the same thing for myself. If I was going to betray the privacy of my friends and family, it would only make sense for me to also betray my own privacy and air things about myself that are embarrassing and difficult. My hope is that my willingness to be public about my own character flaws and struggles will make people feel less alone in their flaws and struggles.

TLS Where can we expect to see your work over the course of the next six months?

MG: For the next 6 months to a year my work will mostly be on Twitter and various online
magazines, such as VICE. Don't expect to see a ton of articles by me published in the next year though. I am currently working on a full length book that is taking up most of my time and energy. The book wont be out for a while though so don't hold your breath.

TLS: What recent projects or artists have attracted your attention?

MG: I'm really into Bunny Rogers' "Columbine Cafeteria" instillation and the album Hopelessness by Anohni.

TLS: Where do you think that digital literature is heading?

MG: Somewhere really, really bad but also probably somewhere really, really amazing.

Emily Sipiora is a writer living in Chicago, Illinois. Her works have appeared in Hooligan Magazine, The Northwest Review of Books, The Le Sigh, Fog Machine, Reality Beach, and many other publications. You can view her portfolio at emilysipiora.com.