Please tell us a little bit about your most recent work.
Actually, I have two manuscripts that I’m trying to get published right now; one of nonfiction stories titled, Setting the Sky on Fire, and another one of poetry called, House and Other Poems. They both deal with growing up in the housing projects in San Antonio, Texas. This particular cheaply-built, large government-housing complex where I grew up was built in the early ’50s, during the Segregation years. I even attended a “Mexican” elementary school, which was still unofficially segregated when I enrolled in 1966. The housing projects were a horrible place to grow up, and I still have trauma about having lived there for 27 years. Gangs hung out there and there was much crime and drugs. It was simply a miserable place to grow up, but thankfully, I had loving and caring mother.
What draws you to writing nonfiction stories and poetry?
Currently, I want to tell people everywhere about the horrors of living in governmental housing projects in Texas and in the U.S. These complexes were a complete failure from the beginning when they were built in San Antonio, starting in 1937. Even after acknowledging that housing projects are not a good way to house the city’s poor, the Housing Authority still kept building them around the city, except on the Northside, where whites live. It’s a segregated city, and it was cheap to build projects.
Are you currently working on any side projects such as short stories, essays, etc.?
Yes, I’m always working on projects, though I’m not purposely seeking to start new ones. This is because I already have a lot of material that I’m working on right now and that keeps me busy. For example, I’m currently also working on another manuscript of nonfiction stories called, Coming Home in Style, and another one of poetry titled, I Give Myself a Name. I have compiled a large body of works thru the years.
Which topics interest you the most and why?
Right now, I’m very interested in “Resistance” poetry written by minorities here in the U.S., such as Mexican (Chicano), Black, and Native American works. I relate to this literature since I, too, am a Mexican living in an oppressive and racist society. The manuscripts I have now can be described as Resistance literature.
Do you have any unique rituals?
No. Basically, I write when I’m feeling well. If not, I research or read some. My bipolar and ADHD sometimes prevents me from being productive.
One novelist more people should know: Who is it?
It’s Sandra Cisneros, who got popular as a Chicana (Mexican) writer in the U.S. when she wrote The House on Mango Street. It’s a masterpiece!
Do you find it difficult to get your work out there?
Yes, it’s much more difficult for minority writers such as myself to get published. There are definitely much less markets for writers who are Mexican (Chicano). We are largely ignored as a minority group. Also, some of us write in Spanish. I usually include some Spanish words in my works.
Tell us about your day job or your daily activities.
I work part-time jobs, like substitute teaching, to get by. I don’t have any large debts and it takes little to keep me afloat. I’m hoping to build up to being a full-time writer, soon.
When it comes to your work, where do you find your inspiration?
Most of it comes from my life experience as a minority. The history of my people also inspires me. Nature is a second source of inspiration for me. For example, when I was a student at Texas State University, Professor Jones told us to write a few Haiku and Tanka. I wrote over 300 of them just from Sewell Park, which is on campus.
What would you like to tell your readers?
I’ve finally arrived. It’s gonna be great, so look for me. I promise that I will not disappoint.
Here is what Gilberto wants us to know about him, in his own words:
My name is Gilberto T. Acosta. born and raised in san antonio, texas, USA. I am a graduate from Texas State University, where i majored in english and spanish literature. I'm 58 years old and i have lived in a homeless shelter for the past 3 years. i have been homeless for 7 years. i have been unable to work because of mental illness. i have bipolar, major depression, anxiety, PTSD, and ADHD. I have no publication history. i have pasted the best pic i have of myself.