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Demystifying Latin American Immigrants. Sergio Troncoso – Author
Episode 18118th July 2022 • Your Positive Imprint • Catherine Praiswater
00:00:00 00:36:05

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In Part 2, Sergio Troncoso explores answers to his question, What is the basis of morality within your community? Sergio’s characters from his most recent book, “Nobody’s Pilgrims,” work at building their own community, discovering that because they are different they are set aside by society when they actually have much to contribute. This novel is not a beach read. It addresses societal issues through adventures; some violent, some not as much. The drug trade is not about Latin American immigrants. It’s about criminals making money off of contraband. This kid from the border, now renown international author Sergio Troncoso demystifies, What is a Mexican immigrant?

Transcripts

Sergio Troncoso:

immigrant values brought over by immigrants are so

Sergio Troncoso:

important to this country, to the success of this country, that, we

Sergio Troncoso:

overlook how important immigrants look at the world in a very different way

Sergio Troncoso:

than let's say somebody who is second, third, or fourth generation here.

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Sergio Troncoso is the son of Mexican immigrants.

Catherine:

His parents came to USA in the 1950s and raised their children in El Paso, Texas.

Catherine:

Sergio was an excellent student and found satisfaction when writing

Catherine:

for the high school newspaper.

Catherine:

Later, he would attend Harvard and Yale universities where his writing

Catherine:

became more prominent in some of society's most popular publications.

Catherine:

Sergio writes philosophically as he questions the basis of morality, both in

Catherine:

his fiction and nonfiction compositions.

Catherine:

Often feeling condemned in academic circles and overlooked by those in

Catherine:

society who turn away from moral questions and differing perspectives

Catherine:

Sergio asks the unpopular questions that modern society today and continues

Catherine:

until maybe recently has ignored.

Catherine:

He weaves societal issues into his stories with his characters experiencing

Catherine:

a wretched hell; a hell that you and I hope to never endure, but you know, truly

Catherine:

reality for some citizens of our world..

Catherine:

Well, there are pressing issues within our communities worldwide

Catherine:

that need to be addressed.

Catherine:

Sergio writes with the hope that the reader will become involved

Catherine:

with the characters and when the story ends that the reader will

Catherine:

continue to ponder the issues, different perspectives and question,

Catherine:

What is the basis of morality within our own communities?

Catherine:

Sergio Troncoso.

Catherine:

Welcome to my show.

Catherine:

Your positive imprint.

Catherine:

I am so excited to have you here.

Catherine:

I've loved your books.

Catherine:

Love you.

Sergio Troncoso:

Welcome.

Sergio Troncoso:

Thank you so much, Catherine, for inviting me to your program.

Sergio Troncoso:

I love chatting with you right before the program, and I'm eager to talk about my

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work or my new novel nobody's pilgrims.

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Sergio gives gives credit to his success to the values of his parents.

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Both my parents were from Juarez, from Mexico and they had

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these in incredible values of hard work.

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You work until you drop.

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You do it again the next day and you do it again the next day.

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And that is what you do.

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They believed in hard work.

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But that, that value of hard work, I eventually learned to

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translate it into mental work;

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into pushing myself, to reading extra books, reading in the summer,

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doing things that my high school colleagues were not doing because

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for me, it was, as my mother would say, there is no tired in my house.

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And, and I think those early days when I was in Isleta and very poor, I think

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the biggest influences were probably my Mexican grandmother from my mother's

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side, who told these violent, exciting stories about the Mexican revolution.

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And, and I loved hearing her stories they were unfiltered.

Catherine:

Listening to her stories, laid a foundation for his own

Catherine:

storytelling, his own aspirations.

Catherine:

Sergio would be accepted into Ivy league schools, Yale and Harvard.

Catherine:

His great grandmother had this advice.

Sergio Troncoso:

She said, Sergio,, don't come back with

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your tail between your legs.

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This is what you wanted, show them who you are.

Catherine:

Sergio continued with those values of hard work.

Catherine:

While on campus there were times when he wanted to go home because

Catherine:

of some negative interactions.

Catherine:

But those are in the past.

Catherine:

And today Sergio is a prominent international author of both

Catherine:

fiction and nonfiction with his most recent novel Nobody's Pilgrims.

Sergio Troncoso:

It's about these three 17 year olds, uh, Turi

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who's a Mexican American, from, from El Paso, similar to me.

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He's a bookworm and he, he loves to read, but he's very poor.

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And then he has a friend Arnulfo who's an undocumented immigrant and, and

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they meet at a chicken farm as they're working to simply to make some money.

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And Arnulfo is about to leave, the next day to go to Kansas city.

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And he's hitching a ride with Juanito and a foreman at the chicken farm.

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And so, when Turi comes home from that day of work something terrible happens.

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He had a bad family life and, and he decides on the Lark that

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he's gonna hitch a ride with Arnulfo and Juanito in this truck.

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It's a, a blue Ford pickup.

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And so they, they of course, find out very quickly this is still the very

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beginning of the novel that Juanito is probably carrying contraband in the truck.

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And the reason they find out is because Juanito bribes an immigration

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officer in the outskirts of Texas, as they're, as they're pulling away

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in the highway and they stop at a checkpoint and they see that he hands

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the immigration officer some money.

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So that begins a novel really in which, Turi and Anulfo steal the truck to get

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away from Juanito and these bad people.

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And they later meet Molly Crump.

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The, the third person in that cover this poor white girl from Steelville

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Missouri, a tiny little town who, who joins them and hitches the ride with them.

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And, and I think one of the things I'm saying in the novel, first of

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all, is that, young kids have sort of a resiliency and a grit and a way

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to bond with each other that I think too often old, old people forget, you

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know, they, they become fast friends just meeting each other for a day or

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two and they're open- minded enough.

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They're not thinking, oh, this guy's a Mexican or, or she's, a, poor

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white girl from Steelville Missouri.

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They simply connect through what they do with each other,

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that they help each other.

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, Turi and Molly, for example, love word play.

Sergio Troncoso:

And he starts teaching her Spanish.

Sergio Troncoso:

And , she, she plays with, with words as well, and she loves to read as well.

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And they both love Mark Twain.

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, so they start connecting in a way, forming this bond together that has,

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become so important in the novel.

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And, and of course, throughout all of this, as they're going across country

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trying to escape these evil people who want their truck back and what's in

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the truck, They, they never give up all sorts of bad things happen to them.

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And people are after them.

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Narco is from Mexico, a blue eyed blonde narco from Texas is also after them

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to get what's what's in the truck and, and they, they always help each other.

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Sometimes Molly saves them when they're in a difficult situation.

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Sometimes Arnulfo the undocumented immigrant who saves them.

Sergio Troncoso:

And sometimes it's Turi who's the one who's, , they're on this sort

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of semi life raft and, uh, and they never give up on each other.

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They never give up on the dreams that they have, Arnulfo wants to

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send money to his parents and Turi wants to visit this idealistic

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Connecticut that he's read from books.

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And, and part of the novel is also this movement from the idealism of

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New England, to the realism that they reach when they get to Connecticut,

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which is in some places in Connecticut, they don't want them there.

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They don't want Mexicans.

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And in other places they're welcomed and, and helped by other people.

Sergio Troncoso:

And Molly is, is trying to find her place in, in the United States as well.

Sergio Troncoso:

And so of course, all of this is happening in a, in a United States, in the book

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that is collapsing because of a pandemic.

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And the, the interesting part about Nobody's Pilgrims of course, is that

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all of it was written and turned in the final, final draft, uh, on

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February 29th, 2020 before, COVID had before COVID even had the name COVID.

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And so, in many ways, the, the book predicted the pandemic that was to

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follow and it's a different pandemic.

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, it's Marburg B in Nobody's Pilgrims.

Sergio Troncoso:

So it's a pandemic transmitted with a virus through touch, not through

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the air, like COVID and, and it's about the grittiness and toughness and

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luck and love that, that forges the bond between these three that keeps

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them fighting for what they want.

Sergio Troncoso:

And so I think in many ways, this novel is about a realism, and a toughness

Sergio Troncoso:

that, that hearkens back to my Abuelita, how she survived a difficult social

Sergio Troncoso:

situation in revolutionary, Mexico.

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And, , and how these three teens, sort of in some ways replay that, that

Sergio Troncoso:

sort of social chaos that's going on in, this topian America and how they

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believe in each other and fight for each other to create the country they

Sergio Troncoso:

want and the community they want.

Catherine:

Sergio answers his own question.

Catherine:

What is the basis of morality within our communities?

Catherine:

And as a listener what do you think is the basis of morality within your community,

Sergio Troncoso:

I believe the border has gone beyond the border.

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And what, what that means to me is that, Mexican immigrants, Mexican Americans

Sergio Troncoso:

have gone beyond, societies in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, the, the bordering

Sergio Troncoso:

states and gone to Kansas city, created communities in Minneapolis, created

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communities in Connecticut, , and other places where there were not

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maybe a lot of Mexican immigrants.

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And so everything from the issues of assimilation to the issues of what values

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and what they bring to these communities.

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, and sometimes even the hostility.

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Suddenly in a tiny little town in Connecticut, you might

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find,, Mexican immigrants.

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And there are some people who, instead of engaging them as people and, and

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trying to, integrate them , into that community are hostile, to them simply

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because they look different or they might also know Spanish as well as English.

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And so all of these, I think issues have gone beyond the border and are

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now part of a deeper areas in the United States, simply because you also

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have hundreds of millions of Latin Americans south of the United States,

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whom will always be coming across.

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They were trying to make their American dream come true.

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And so I think that that issue of becoming part of society and what they bring in,

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it's not just, the problems they bring.

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But I, I believe, just as I talked earlier about the immigrant values

Sergio Troncoso:

that they bring that are so different from, let's say the, the values

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of, of work in the United States.

Sergio Troncoso:

I think immigrants really are, , such a positive influence on, looking outside

Sergio Troncoso:

the box, working harder than you can imagine on focusing on families and

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working together and, and all of these often are lost in American society.

Sergio Troncoso:

once you sort of become entrenched, you start just seeing the other

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in, in these other, newcomers.

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And I think instead of seeing the other, I think you should harken

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back to your own grandparents and your old, old, great grandparents who

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came across with nothing and how they began and how they created the life

Sergio Troncoso:

that you are now allowed to, to lead.

Sergio Troncoso:

Um, but these immigrants are, are not that different in that way.

Catherine:

I loved this book.

Catherine:

Nobody's pilgrims.

Catherine:

It was one of those where you can't put it down, you have

Catherine:

to know what's gonna happen.

Catherine:

And there were a couple of things that happened that oh my gosh,

Catherine:

how could the author do this?

Catherine:

I think it it's those, those pressing issues

Catherine:

as you were talking about within our communities that are worldwide, and it's

Catherine:

not just in the border communities.

Catherine:

These issues are everywhere, the contraband

Sergio Troncoso:

well, and then even like Narcos, for example,

Sergio Troncoso:

you would imagine, oh, they're all, Mexican or Latin American.

Sergio Troncoso:

And in fact, no, the, one of the main Narcos here is, is a blonde

Sergio Troncoso:

blue eyed guy who is making a lot of money off the drug trade.

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And his ancestors went to the Alamo.

Sergio Troncoso:

And so people don't realize that there are a lot of, connections,

Sergio Troncoso:

international connections and, and sometimes the bad people, of course,

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many times the bad people are not

Sergio Troncoso:

latin American immigrants, but people making money from, from the drug trade

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on this side that are not immigrants and that are not Latino at all.

Sergio Troncoso:

And so I think that's important point and, and I think, you know, I want,

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I wanted, uh, a realism to nobody's pilgrims, but also an excitement.

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I wanted it to move quickly.

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I wanted it to be exciting.

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I wanted to puncture a lot of, balloons and, and, and get the

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reader really invested in these characters and believe in them.

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And then I also wanted to shock the reader.

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, you know, you did to, to open their eyes to what can happen, because I

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think some of the novels do this.

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Some of the novels do have tragedy, embedded in them, because.

Sergio Troncoso:

You know, it it's, it's what they're going through is very

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difficult and it's not easy.

Sergio Troncoso:

And to write something that's, uh, sort of a beach read for me would,

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would be not truthful to the situation and not truthful to the characters.

Sergio Troncoso:

And yet, all of the things that are happening to them Turi and

Sergio Troncoso:

Molly find love, find, a real connection with each other.

Sergio Troncoso:

And it's sort of a slow simmering kind of romance that as they, as they spend more

Sergio Troncoso:

time together, they realize, oh my gosh, this person who's so different from me

Sergio Troncoso:

and from a completely different side of the world, we really connect in a way

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that's, that's almost like a soulmate.

Sergio Troncoso:

But it takes time for them to realize that in a way.

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. And so I think the novel also has a lot of hope to it.

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I, I didn't write the novel to depress people, I wanted to write something

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real where there is real danger in what's going on with them, but also real

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hope because for me, that's, that's, that's the kind of hope people want.

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They want something that they've gone through the gauntlet, whether

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it through COVID or through Marburg B and they've come out the other

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side and, and they've survived.

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And, and that I think is more meaningful to any reader than, than

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something that's fake and contrived.

Sergio Troncoso:

Uh, and that's, that's what I was trying to do as a writer.

Catherine:

Arturo.

Catherine:

Turi, one of the things that was important for me was that he had

Catherine:

values and morals, and they were being tried when he got into that truck.

Catherine:

And so now his perspectives were forced to change.

Catherine:

'what is

Catherine:

the basis of morals in my society.' And you have this quote, from your

Catherine:

personal essays crossing borders.

Catherine:

"Is love, acceptance without questions or challenges" right.

Sergio Troncoso:

It's interesting that you mentioned that quote because,

Sergio Troncoso:

, I've always thought of what is love versus, , let's say parental love.

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And for me, , my parents, their love was tough love.

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Their love was high expectations.

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They support, they help, but they expect me to work for it.

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They expect me to sacrifice.

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Love is as much sacrifice in pushing you.

Sergio Troncoso:

My parents would never praise us until we actually did something.

Sergio Troncoso:

Like we painted the room and did it well, and then they inspected it.

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And only then did they say 'you did a great job', but because it's manifest.

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And so it's a very different kind of love than just sort of empty

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praise and empty likes and dislikes.

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I think that's fake.

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This goes to social media.

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Are you really an activist when you like a few things and post a few things on

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the computer versus you get out there and you protest for what you want.

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Our media culture is, is in many ways, watered down what we look up to

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in terms of either protest or love.

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And we've forgotten, the realism of love.

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, and by the way, thinking about what forges a community, Turi, Molly, and

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Arnulful,, they don't create a community simply because they land on an island

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and everything is beautiful and, and they just, start loving each other.

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They have to go through a gauntlet.

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Just like the original pilgrims, they have to go through suffering.

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They went through gauntlet after gauntlet to create a community.

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And that's, that's really what Nobody's, Pilgrim's about.

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It's about, forming your character, forming what you believe in through

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pain and, and difficulties.

Sergio Troncoso:

And, and by the way, I, one of my favorite writers is Flannery O'Connor

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and she wrote about how violence in her stories reveals character.

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You don't know who you really are until you're faced with a violent

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situation to either defend yourself or defend somebody else or survive

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a really dangerous situation.

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So for me, the violence is not just gratuitous.

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It is very actually very Aristotelian.

Sergio Troncoso:

Violence or what either, what you escape or what you survive, reveals character.

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It's just another form of action, but it's extreme action.

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, And Aristotle would say that your character is revealed through your

Sergio Troncoso:

response, through your actions and through your response to actions done upon you.

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Just violence is just another extreme of that.

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And so I think Fannie O'Connor without being too philosophical,

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definitely, uh, wrote about that kind of, uh, very difficult situations in

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the south, in many of her stories.

Sergio Troncoso:

And that's what I mean by love for me.

Sergio Troncoso:

When my parents praised me after doing a lot of hard work,

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I knew it meant something.

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And I remembered how my parents who did love us, but they pushed us.

Sergio Troncoso:

And that's what their version of love was.

Sergio Troncoso:

You know, it is sort of pushing and, and expectations about real achievements.

Catherine:

Definitely teaching you self responsibility also, which is

Catherine:

part of loving ourselves is when we're responsible for making

Catherine:

ourselves, be the best that we can be.

Catherine:

Now you have all of these other amazing books and again, crossing

Catherine:

borders is your personal essays,

Sergio Troncoso:

I'm constantly writing and sometimes I'm involved in

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these big projects that take years.

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Typically novels.

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And then sometimes I have this idea, for example, just, the other day,

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I have an idea for a character that I started dreaming about, and I keep

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thinking this is gonna be a short story, cuz it's not a complicated situation,

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but this character won't leave my head.

Sergio Troncoso:

And I dream about my characters all the time, by the way.

Sergio Troncoso:

, and that's kind of what happens to me.

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I, I follow my mind.

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And so the, the two short story collections, I've written the very

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first book I wrote the Last Tortilla and other stories, which, uh, Rudolfo

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Anaya gave the, the, the Premio Aztlán to it's one of the, , most important

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prizes I got as a young writer.

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And then the last short story collection, I wrote A Peculiar Kind of Immigrant

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Son, which came out a couple of years ago and, did very well won a few prizes.

Sergio Troncoso:

Uh, and, and I love the short story because it's almost akin to poetry.

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Everything has to happen within 10, 15, 20 pages.

Sergio Troncoso:

So it's very tight and, it's, it's a form that I, uh, have always

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loved and probably will always love.

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And, and the two collections are very different where the last tortilla, I would

Sergio Troncoso:

write stories that would get published.

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And suddenly I had a book of 12, 15 stories and, and I threw

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it together and that became the last tortilla and other stories.

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And I really didn't know, I probably what I was doing as a writer, uh, you know, way

Sergio Troncoso:

back when, when that book was published decades ago and, and the peculiar kind

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of immigrant son was very different.

Sergio Troncoso:

It it's a, it's a collection of 13 stories, but it's like a concept album.

Sergio Troncoso:

I don't know if you remember pink Floyd, the wall, of course but

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it, it was like, it was like that.

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I'm gonna make a different short story collection in which every

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piece is a particular part of a puzzle on the same theme.

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So this particular kind of immigrant son was we're all on, , themes of

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immigrants, but it's also on perspective.

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You know, I love Virginia Wolf and I love, Frederick Nietzsche who's of

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course a philosopher of perspectivism.

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And so in these 13 stories that appeared in the peculiar kind of immigrant son, you

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see different characters from different perspectives, so they appear in one story.

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And then in the next story, you see it, that character from a different angle and,

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and you start questioning yourself, who is this person that I am reading about?

Sergio Troncoso:

You know, did I, uh, you know, what is the right perspective?

Sergio Troncoso:

And, and for me, of course, it's about the perspectivism in my life.

Sergio Troncoso:

As much as I am a, a, a person who teaches at Yale and spent

Sergio Troncoso:

a lot of time in the Ivy league

Sergio Troncoso:

I'm also still the kid from the border.

Sergio Troncoso:

I'm also still the kid who carried live chickens from trucks as his first job.

Sergio Troncoso:

I'm also a husband.

Sergio Troncoso:

I'm also, you know, uh, a father to, kids.

Sergio Troncoso:

And so I, I have a lot of different selves, so to speak.

Sergio Troncoso:

And I think all of us do.

Sergio Troncoso:

And I think a peculiar kind of immigrant son is playing on this concept

Sergio Troncoso:

that we all have different selves.

Sergio Troncoso:

For example, if I ask your husband who Catherine is versus if I ask

Sergio Troncoso:

your best friend, you're gonna get a different angle of who you are.

Sergio Troncoso:

Right.

Sergio Troncoso:

And, and I think that's, that's what I was trying to do in a peculiar kind of

Sergio Troncoso:

immigrant son, write about immigrants, but also play with perspectivism.

Catherine:

What do you feel are your positive imprints when it

Catherine:

comes to your writing in which you're bringing to society?

Sergio Troncoso:

Well, I hope my positive imprints are, look at poor people.

Sergio Troncoso:

People that you would otherwise, , step over or ignore whether they're poor

Sergio Troncoso:

immigrants, poor Mexican immigrants and pay attention to them in a curious

Sergio Troncoso:

way, ask them about their lives.

Sergio Troncoso:

And you'd be surprised that these people who are often forgotten by society

Sergio Troncoso:

may actually have something to teach you that may help you in your life.

Sergio Troncoso:

And that's certainly how I felt about my grandmother, that

Sergio Troncoso:

anyone who's gone through a difficult, uh, situation in life.

Sergio Troncoso:

Oh my gosh.

Sergio Troncoso:

If you just listen to my grandmother through my stories, for example,

Sergio Troncoso:

you would learn how to survive, how to grit it through and then

Sergio Troncoso:

how to celebrate at the other side.

Sergio Troncoso:

So I think, , that positive imprint of looking at, at those

Sergio Troncoso:

who, uh, we otherwise forget.

Sergio Troncoso:

I think that's very important.

Sergio Troncoso:

I think another positive imprint is about the importance of grit, the importance

Sergio Troncoso:

of toughness in surviving any situation and, and then ha having that kind of

Sergio Troncoso:

real sense of joy when you get through a difficult situation, is, very positive.

Sergio Troncoso:

I've tried to teach that to my children.

Sergio Troncoso:

I just, in fact, just finished teaching a, a Yale writer's workshop and I

Sergio Troncoso:

have students who are 20 year olds and some who are 40 and 50 year olds.

Sergio Troncoso:

Some of, some of them who are published authors, they said I lead one of the

Sergio Troncoso:

toughest workshops they've ever had, but they also had the most fun., I had

Sergio Troncoso:

these high expectations for my students.

Sergio Troncoso:

I worked them as hard as I work for them.

Sergio Troncoso:

And then when they come out of the other side and they can create a

Sergio Troncoso:

new story from the, the lessons that I gave them and from, tearing

Sergio Troncoso:

apart their story, then showing them how to create their own voices.

Sergio Troncoso:

They know they have some real achievements at the end of that workshop that they

Sergio Troncoso:

can now turn to their own writing.

Sergio Troncoso:

And this is about the same sense of love.

Sergio Troncoso:

I could go and tell them, oh, everything is positive and beautiful.

Sergio Troncoso:

And let me just affirm you.

Sergio Troncoso:

And, and so basically what I'm telling them is don't change anything in your

Sergio Troncoso:

story and they don't learn anything, or I could be a tough but supportive teacher

Sergio Troncoso:

and show them exactly line by line, what they're doing wrong, how they, how to

Sergio Troncoso:

improve it and then make them work for it.

Sergio Troncoso:

And I taught them how to write and rewrite their own stories.

Sergio Troncoso:

So they have a real achievement at the end of that workshop.

Sergio Troncoso:

And I think that's for me, trying to teach that tough love as a positive

Sergio Troncoso:

imprint, I would, I would say is, is one of the most important things that matters

Sergio Troncoso:

to me because that's real achievement.

Sergio Troncoso:

And, as I tell my students, I'm gonna teach you how to become a great

Sergio Troncoso:

editor of your own work and a great writer and rewriter, and so you,

Sergio Troncoso:

you won't need me anymore, you'll be able to do it all on your own, and

Sergio Troncoso:

that's a real positive imprint.

Sergio Troncoso:

That's what I would call it.

Sergio Troncoso:

It's getting in the trenches and showing them exactly what they need to

Sergio Troncoso:

do to improve and improve their voice.

Catherine:

If we're getting good writers out there, because reading

Catherine:

for me is, a learning experience and of course being entertained, and I

Catherine:

am one that will read a book and then really think about things because I know

Catherine:

that there are different realities out there, especially doing this podcast.

Catherine:

I meet people all over the world and my listeners are all over the world.

Catherine:

I am aware, very aware of, of some of the different societal issues around

Catherine:

the world and the borders are, we, it feels like we no longer have borders.

Catherine:

It doesn't feel like it especially doing this podcast because it just feels

Catherine:

like we're trying to support each other, at least hoping that people are, so

Catherine:

that we can all get through our own realities when they turn for the worst.

Catherine:

And I know you you've beared some of those worst realities in your own life.

Sergio Troncoso:

Well, I love talking to you and, for me, this is sort of

Sergio Troncoso:

the idea the best idea of media is to reach beyond, the electrons to

Sergio Troncoso:

reach beyond borders, to reach people who you otherwise would not speak to.

Sergio Troncoso:

Because I think all of us, need to cross more borders and, and

Sergio Troncoso:

we can do this through media.

Sergio Troncoso:

We can do this to language.

Sergio Troncoso:

We can do this by engaging someone else, from the other side of the world,

Sergio Troncoso:

simply through, media like this.

Sergio Troncoso:

And, and I think the more borders all of us cross, the

Sergio Troncoso:

more we will create this, "We"

Sergio Troncoso:

this community that we're trying to create.

Sergio Troncoso:

And so for me, that's so important that it's something I've written about that

Sergio Troncoso:

in the United States, we are not a 'We", and, and the way we become a, 'we' is

Sergio Troncoso:

by talking to each other, demystifying, what is a Mexican immigrant?

Sergio Troncoso:

You'll find out that there's not one thing, but there's so many things

Sergio Troncoso:

that that could possibly mean.

Sergio Troncoso:

And, uh, and I think reaching across borders from the immigrant perspective,

Sergio Troncoso:

and then from somebody who's not an immigrant, I, I get letters and emails

Sergio Troncoso:

from people all across the world that tell me, oh, I really understand a little bit

Sergio Troncoso:

more about your culture, how you grew up and, and what, how it can benefit me.

Sergio Troncoso:

even though I'm not an immigrant, but the lessons that you learned in terms of, uh,

Sergio Troncoso:

your focus and your discipline, this is something that might be helpful to me.

Sergio Troncoso:

So I think all as, as long as all of us are crossing borders through media,

Sergio Troncoso:

I think that's very hopeful sign.

Sergio Troncoso:

That's what I think.

Catherine:

That certainly would make you feel that yes, those issues

Catherine:

that are being ignored or have been ignored , are being discussed a

Catherine:

little bit more, you know, when you add a little bit more and a little

Catherine:

bit more and a little bit more soon, there's more and more than right less.

Catherine:

When I talk to immigrants and of course being in New Mexico,

Catherine:

we have a lot of immigrants.

Catherine:

They don't always talk about chasing the dream.

Catherine:

They talk about leaving the anguish, right.

Catherine:

And trying to have a life where they're not, feeling that they're looking

Catherine:

over their shoulder all the time.

Catherine:

Right.

Catherine:

And for me, that's a unfortunate reality for people in countries who

Catherine:

aren't leaving for the dream anymore.

Catherine:

They're leaving for hope and I know dream and hope can be used

Catherine:

synonymously, but it's not the same when you're talking to an immigrant

Catherine:

who is leaving to hope to just survive.

Sergio Troncoso:

Right?

Sergio Troncoso:

No, and it's true.

Sergio Troncoso:

Some of these countries have issues of safety, and they're

Sergio Troncoso:

coming over simply to escape.

Sergio Troncoso:

Mm-hmm the violence or escape, uh, the problems in their society.

Sergio Troncoso:

You know, the, the question will be for us.

Sergio Troncoso:

Are we really still the answer, you know, I mean, in some, you know, you worry in

Sergio Troncoso:

some places where the gun violence here in this country is so astronomical and, and

Sergio Troncoso:

the, the gun ownership is so astronomical, that is it gonna be any different?

Sergio Troncoso:

We do have our own problems here.

Sergio Troncoso:

Are we still part of this dream?

Sergio Troncoso:

Or are we just gonna continue the problems?

Sergio Troncoso:

Um,

Catherine:

I think Arturo, your, your character, Turi, he can answer that.

Sergio Troncoso:

It is about going from an idealism of, of the United

Sergio Troncoso:

States or the, the dream that Turi has at the very beginning to a realism

Sergio Troncoso:

of what Connecticut, Connecticut is simply a placeholder for the American

Sergio Troncoso:

dream for what he believes in.

Sergio Troncoso:

And so by, by the end of the novel, of course, they're in the real

Sergio Troncoso:

Connecticut where, so where good things have happened and some terrible

Sergio Troncoso:

things have happened and, and they're still fighting for that dream.

Sergio Troncoso:

And so I think a lot of, of, of a nobody's Pilgrim it's about going from that

Sergio Troncoso:

idealism of what you think the dream is to the, the gauntlet and the realism that

Sergio Troncoso:

you face once you get to the other side.

Sergio Troncoso:

If you look at the first chapter, what he thinks love is is not

Sergio Troncoso:

what he gets at the end, right.

Sergio Troncoso:

So instead of becoming an abstraction, right, his love, it becomes a

Sergio Troncoso:

reality and who he actually has to work with to create that community

Sergio Troncoso:

that he, he and, and Molly want.

Sergio Troncoso:

And so, so I think that it there's a lot of that going on in the novel,

Sergio Troncoso:

going from the, the, sort of the vague and idealistic dreams of the young,

Sergio Troncoso:

to the realism and the, the grittiness of, of people who become adults.

Catherine:

Yes.

Catherine:

And that's, that is the sheer reality of life.

Catherine:

So Sergio . You are inspiring and your writing is inspiring

Catherine:

and thought provoking.

Catherine:

And I appreciate that from you and entertaining.

Catherine:

, what are your last inspiring words?

Sergio Troncoso:

Well, I, I, I think my last words are that I

Sergio Troncoso:

really believe in my readers.

Sergio Troncoso:

I trust my readers that they will, look at these characters in a careful

Sergio Troncoso:

way and, and, and really engage with them because that's how I'm writing.

Sergio Troncoso:

And, and I'm writing because I believe readers want kind of entertaining,

Sergio Troncoso:

but also sort of deep, psychological, philosophical fiction that they can

Sergio Troncoso:

reread and get another layer of it.

Sergio Troncoso:

Later.

Sergio Troncoso:

And so I really do believe in, in my readers and I, I, I'm always grateful

Sergio Troncoso:

when somebody writes me these two or three page emails, from Brazil or Sacramento,

Sergio Troncoso:

and , tell me about all that they got from nobody's pilgrims or , a peculiar kind

Sergio Troncoso:

of immigrant son or some of my other works because I do put so many layers into

Sergio Troncoso:

them and sometimes people get them and sometimes they just go right over people.

Sergio Troncoso:

And so I love it when I get this careful reader that really pays

Sergio Troncoso:

attention to all of these different things I'm doing in the work.

Sergio Troncoso:

I trust my readers.

Sergio Troncoso:

I think readers are my, the readers I like are, are very deep,

Sergio Troncoso:

intelligent, thoughtful readers.

Catherine:

Well, I certainly appreciate you.

Catherine:

And I, I think I fall right into that.

Catherine:

and Sergio Troncoso, I have so much enjoyed hearing from you personally,

Catherine:

now in person and, author of many, many books and personal

Catherine:

essays and publications out there.

Catherine:

And most recently nobody's pilgrims Sergio.

Catherine:

Thank you again for being here on your positive imprint.

Sergio Troncoso:

Thank you, Catherine, for inviting me to your show.

Sergio Troncoso:

It was terrific.

Catherine:

All right.

Catherine:

Thank you.

Catherine:

Thanks for listening to part two with Sergio Troncoso.

Catherine:

You can hear part one with Sergio on episode 180.

Catherine:

Learn more go to his website, SergioTroncoso.Com.

Catherine:

S E R G I O T R O N C O S O.

Catherine:

His books are available on Amazon bookshop.org, Barnes, and

Catherine:

noble, and many other bookstores.

Catherine:

Your positive imprint.