Stephanie Elizondo Griest

Elizondo Griest
Art Discipline: 
Corpus Christi, TX
United States
Dates of Residence: 
Apr 30, 2007 to Jun 15, 2007

I am currently writing a memoir called Mexican Enough (Atria/Simon & Schuster, 2008) which delves into cultural identity. As a biracial American who grew up 150 miles from the border, I have always felt insecure about my identity, wondering if I was "Mexican Enough" to accept race-based scholarships or "Latina Enough" to wear big hoop earrings. To my surprise, I learned that this is a struggle for Mexican-born and bred Mexicans as well - especially undocumented workers, who feel they are losing their Mexicanidad altogether during their time in the United States. Upon publication, I will embark on a campus tour to discuss these issues in departments of Latino Studies. Wanderlust is encoded in my DNA. I hit the road at 21 and criss-crossed the globe, belly dancing with Cuban rumba queens and mingling with the Russian Mafiya - adventures which inspired my first book, Around the Bloc. Upon turning 30, however, I started aching for my roots and so traveled to Mexico, my mother's native land. Mexican Enough: A Story About Borders documents this journey. Detailed are such experiences as investigating the murder of a prominent gay activist, sneaking into a prison to meet with indigenous resistance fighters, monitoring the fiercely contested 2006 presidential election, and above all - interviewing scores of migrant workers and the families they left behind. Ultimately, Mexican Enough is a memoir about cultural identity - how we cast it off in our youth only to struggle to find it again as adults (or in subsequent generations). It is a story about language, which enables us to communicate - or not; a story about culture, which enables us to relate - or not. It is a story about shared memory, which unites and divides. It is a story about borders, and the peace and the wars fought within.