Arts, Education, Migrant & Seasonal Workers

An Interview with Lucio Padilla for The Gatekeepers Post

From, July 2011.

Lucio Padilla shares the touching and personal inspiration behind his autobiography,Memoirs of a Lechuguero. Read more about Lucio and his cause at

What inspired you to write your latest book?

I only have one book; it is self-published.  It is an autobiography; the name is Memoirs of a Lechuguero (Memoirs of a Lettuce Harvester) and was published by Author House in two languages, English and Spanish.  I was a farm worker for many years and started my family very young, at the age of 16.  Of course, I dropped out of school and learned the skills of a farm worker to support my family.  Later, after 18 years in the fields, I returned to school and became a teacher, but not after experiencing all kinds of hardships together with my wife and family.  After turning things around, I began to analyze the changes that I went through in my life and family.  My change of attitude motivated my four sons to get an education, the first graduates in our entire family. Through a series of parent workshops, I began to teach people how to prevent the hardships I experienced, which are common among our Mexican families.  I wrote the book to motivate people who are down in some aspect, socially, emotionally or economically, and make the changes necessary to achieve success in life and live in harmony with their family.  Through my experiences, I illustrate for people the difference between a family in a nurturing environment and a family living under the cultural myths of “Machismo” and “Conformism” common among our families, which create obstacles for the success of the children.  I try to illustrate that “If I can do it, you can do it too.”  If someone tells me that, “I cannot do it”, I will work harder to show them that I can.  I wrote the book in English first because I wanted to see if someone would be interested to use it in Chicano Studies class or other similar classes and educate people about a farm worker’s life since they are not appreciated nor considered an important part of our society and economy.  Later, I wrote it in Spanish so that people that listen to my lectures or people who relate to my experiences can motivate themselves to change.  The events in the book go parallel to my teaching philosophy of developing a nurturing family and school environment for the well being of our children.

How do you keep from getting distracted when you’re writing?

Since I was a farm worker for many years, I developed the habit of getting up very early in the morning.  At this time, 5 0r 6 in the morning, every one is sleeping and even outside it is calm.  I go out to my garden, and while drinking a cup of coffee, I begin to think about what to write.  Sometimes I get inspired right away and make a lot of progress; sometimes the ideas do not come, and I would rather not write and use my morning for my garden.  Sometimes during the day I think of something important and, if possible, I put what I am doing aside and spend some time writing.  When I get good ideas and I am inspired, I can keep focused and make progress.  I go to a secluded place, my garden or the computer room, and once involved, it is very difficult for me to get distracted.

What else can an author do besides promoting their books on Twitter and Facebook?

I am not familiar with eBook technology or Twitter; I am just beginning to use Facebook.  I have not spent much time promoting the book in the past.  What I have done to promote my book is go to conferences, and after my lectures, I promote the book to my audience.  I have also gone to some nearby book fairs.  But for the most part I talk to anyone that will hear me, and I have sold many books to individuals or to educational institutions (schools, libraries and universities).

Written by admin 

Source:, ” An Interview with Lucio Padilla for The Gatekeepers Post” July 2011.


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