Domingo Martinez, acclaimed author of the 2012 memoir, The Boy Kings of Texas, stopped by Mass Communication Week at Texas State on Wednesday to talk about the importance of education and his experiences with writing.
The Boy Kings of Texas, Martinez’s first book, deals with the author’s struggles and experiences growing up as a Latino in Brownsville and how those events shaped the person he became. The memoir was nominated for a National Book Award in nonfiction.
At his presentation, Martinez shared with the audience his personal struggles with getting a college degree and gave advice to mass communication students.
“College is designed to weed out people like me,” Martinez said. “A degree should be an investment in yourself.”
Martinez said a degree’s purpose is to give you options and choices. The degree gives you freedom to make your own future.
Martinez is currently collaborating with actress Salma Hayek and HBO on a television series, which will act as a fictionalized version of Martinez’s experiences in The Boy Kings of Texas.
Later on, Martinez discussed why he got interested in writing in the first place. According to him, it became a compulsion as a teenager that never went away.
“I watched BBC shows like Doctor Who a lot and I thought the language was just delicious and brilliant,” said Martinez. “I was drawn to the linguistic beauty of it.”
Sophomore Laura Valencia, a public relations major who heard his presentation, said Martinez was not quite what she expected.
“I like how he was honest with himself in the way he chose to write the book,” Valencia said. “That’s what made it a great story. He was also a lot funnier than I would’ve expected.”
Susan Hanson, a professor in the Department of English at Texas State, was in the audience as well. She said she wished Martinez would’ve spoke more about his experiences as a youth in Brownsville, but she enjoyed the presentation and thought he was very funny and personable.
Martinez also talked briefly about his follow-up to The Boy Kings of Texas, entitled My Heart is a Drunken Compass, which was published in 2014. This book picks up where the first one left off, but deals more with Martinez’s experiences coping with traumatic events.
At the end of Martinez’s speech, an audience member asked what Martinez’s purpose in writing was. He said his purpose was to advance the common perception of Latinos and how they are depicted.
“The immigration experience is completely multi-layered and it’s not just one thing,” Martinez said. “It’s many things and all Latinos have elements of it.”