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Interview with Juan Manuel Gómez Encarnación

by Redacción Bay Vallarta

To the rescue of the historical evolution of Puerto Vallarta

Bay Vallarta-Riviera Nayarit had the pleasure of sharing a talk with the Chronicler of the City of Puerto Vallarta, Juan Manuel Gómez Encarnación, writer, storyteller, poet and dreamer. Here is the best of the conversation with Mr. Gómez Encarnación.

These almost two years of pandemic have paralyzed many activities in our city. How have you lived this period?

I will tell you that it has left me time, it has given me time to think and rethink, to reflect on some texts of the chronicle. For example, the texts with a view to a forthcoming publication, of essays from Vallarta.

Did your work as a novelist benefit?

Yes, I will tell you that it did benefit since I needed some time to apply to a job that had already begun in the year 2000. During these years to date, I was working, dedicating time from time to time to this novelistic work. Finally I was able to fine-tune it thanks to that time and it became my novel of which you already have news: “The circle and the spire”, my first novel.

Tell us about your novel…

The novel is a fictional story, a story with a lowercase h that goes up to the story with a capital H, from the homeland history, to the history specifically of the conquest of Mexico. Actually, it is a novel that jumps on the bandwagon of history, but it is a novel that the characters develop, it is a novel of characters. While it is true that I have followed the route of The Conquerors and the route of history, I have climbed on that bandwagon, but rather I am following the protagonists of this, the main characters. I have tried to guess how they spoke, how they moved, how they thought, trying to get into their shoes, their espadrilles, their huaraches, to see what they thought about the world, about the universe. It is a journey into philosophy and poetry, the way of thinking of those times.

What are the themes that follow in your activity as a chronicler and writer?

Well, as always it has been a continuous writing, continuous rescue some issues, some topics, some topics that then have to be disseminated and turned into chronicles, into essays, into historical topics. I am preparing, as a chronicler, a book of essays on the history of Vallarta, on characters from Vallarta and literature. I think I’m going to have to take a break, at least 6 months between now and the May holidays or maybe until September, to go back to the story and complete some chapters of the novel I have in the making.

How can history help re-integrates in these times?

Well, history, if we know how to read it, doesn’t it give us lessons? Humanity has gone through many trances like this one of Covid; remember how in 2008-9 we had something similar. And Puerto Vallarta has crossed, it has crossed through several situations how you are and life goes on, you have to take care of yourself, you have to take precautions. Past experiences or lessons from history serve us to reassure us, to know that this is natural and will continue to happen, to remain calm and take care of ourselves.

Do you have plans to develop in schools?

Actually, who sometimes approach me, are the schools and the teachers. So I try to meet your needs in terms of information about the history of Vallarta.

Are you participating in some of the museum projects that the city has?

As for the museum projects that the city has, I know the one that Karla Moreno and my friend Arturo Pasos are promoting. Only at the beginning I was asked to do some writing to invite the citizens, to support, to justify the event. I did, but I didn’t let myself be seen much, precisely because of the Covid issue. The existence of a new museum is a genuine concern of some sector of the population to have evidence of the essence of Puerto Vallarta, of who we are. So for me it is very, very valid, very laudable the concern of the people who are driving these projects. I believe in that, but I’ve been very careful with the pandemic. Actually, I don’t like going out much.

Are you working on any new books?

Yes, I am working on another book, specifically it will be called “Ensayos Vallartenses”. There are several topics from Vallarta where I rescue some figures of the historical evolution of Vallarta, such as, for example, Don Agustín Flores Contreras, benefactor of Vallarta’s childhood. There is also the former governor of Jalisco, Don Agustín Yáñez Delgadillo, initiator of tourism in our region, among other trials.

What you expect for the year 2022 ?

I hope to have life and health, optimism to continue doing what I like, rescuing things from the historical evolution of Vallarta, but I also want to continue making fiction texts, maybe story and some two three chapters of a new novel.

With this we say goodbye teacher.  What are your wishes for the culture in Puerto Vallarta?

In this year I wish that we do very well, I want to participate in the cultural activities of my beloved Puerto Vallarta, I will try to do it, I will try to propose, I will try to contribute throughout this 2022.

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