Mira Gonzalez (credit: her Tumblr)
Mira Gonzalez is the author of the poetry collection i will never be beautiful enough to make us beautiful together (2013) and Selected Tweets (2015), a collaborative double-book with recent Fiction Points interviewee Tao Lin. Her work has appeared in Vice, Hobart, MuuMuu House, The Quietus, and elsewhere. Gonzalez’s poems, tweets, essays, and musings are also available for your reading pleasure on her Tumblr page, at Thought Catalog, and in the two drug-infused columns she writes for Broadly. In 2014, i will never be beautiful enough… made the shortlist for the Believer Poetry Award; Flavorwire named Gonzalez among its “23 People Who Will Make You Care About Poetry in 2013,” and her book has been reviewed by The Rumpus, Nylon, Vice, and other publications. Gonzalez lives in Brooklyn and hails from Los Angeles.
Two nuns and a penguin approach you at a bar, and you tell them you’re a writer. When they ask you what you write about, how do you answer?
I would probably be too confused by the penguin in a bar and concerned that my writing would offend the nuns to even tell them my name. I get worried about offending people. I want everybody to like me.
Points is a blog primarily for drug and alcohol historians. What do you think this audience would find most interesting about your work?
I mean, if drugs and alcohol are what they find most interesting then I guess they would be most interested in my drug and alcohol use, particularly my use of less common drugs such as DMT. Or, I guess what I’m saying is that if I were an alcohol and drug historian, I would be most interested in less common, particularly psychedelic drugs, such as DMT.
What led you to write about drugs and alcohol in the first place?
I write about myself, my own life, and what I know. Based on the fact that I have used drugs pretty regularly in my life, writing about them seemed only natural, for me. I know a lot about drugs through personal experience. That said, drugs are not the only thing I write about, or even the main thing. I think it’s easy to focus on the drug use in my writing, because anybody, particularly a woman, being so completely and sometimes brutally open about their drug use is somehow still shocking to people. For that reason, people tend to focus on it more than any other aspect of my writing.
How would you describe the way that drugs function in your work, whether in terms of thematic concerns or the choices you make about how to craft a poem? Do you think there are things that you wouldn’t be able to explore as successfully if drugs weren’t in your writing arsenal?
I think drugs are important to pieces of my writing, for sure. There are certain personal experiences I write about that simply would not make sense if I didn’t write about my drug use during that experience in relative detail. I don’t view drug use as more or less important than any other aspect of my writing though. I view it as a device which will advance the plot of certain stories I write, or help convey a certain feeling in my poetry. There are definitely things that I would not be able to explore anywhere near as successfully if I did not include my drug use.
What do you personally find most interesting about how drugs work in your writing, and where do you see that interest leading you in future projects?
Somehow, it still seems rare for a writer to be honest about their drug use, or to be honest about what role drugs played in the decisions they have made, without being viewed as a ‘druggie writer’. Normal people use drugs, a lot of drugs, without drugs being the main focus of their life, yet if someone writes about drugs once in a novel that will tend to be the focus of a lot of reviews and conversations about that novel. I also recognize that, of course, drugs have not played a huge role in everyone’s life, so it makes sense why it isn’t written about constantly. However, I will say that I don’t think my personal drug use is abnormal for someone of my age and particular upbringing, yet people are still shocked by it, because drugs are continued to be viewed as a ‘taboo’ in our society, despite how ubiquitous they are. I think it confuses people that I write about drugs but also want to be viewed and treated as someone who has maintained all their mental faculties. I want to keep talking about drug use until the stigma around casual drug use is no longer present.
BONUS QUESTION: Let’s hope that that someone decides to take one of your books, a single poem, or other work and adapt it into a major motion picture. If you have your choice, which is it, and what song do you fantasize about hearing as the credits roll?
I have no idea what piece of my writing anyone could possibly turn into a motion picture as of now. It would be funny if someone somehow turned my weed column at broadly
into a motion picture. Anyways, I would want ‘Sparks Fly’ by Taylor Swift
to play as the credits roll.