A Lifetime of Inner Cultivation: Meet Davila Gonzalez

Davila GonzalezOur house is attracted to students of life and literature who passionately pursue an Atticus internship because we share, if not tilt, their world view, and we inspire them to be active members of the literary community.

New Atticus intern Davila Gonzalez has a deep, enduring love for books and an insatiable desire to learn the publishing profession inside and out. Davila holds a bachelor’s degree in international business, and has a background in copywriting and editing, and a knack for foreign language.

When we asked Davila to provide us a short bio for this article, instead of sending us the customary credentials, she wrote:

I grew up in southern Germany surrounded by castles and woods. There, I fell in love with stories and foreign languages, romance and food, nature and old beauty, spirituality and movement. In writing, in books, in storytelling of all kinds, I have watched these things I love merge one with another, connect, give one another deeper meaning. These connections are magical. I chase them, and they’ve led me here. I am inspired indeed.

This creative response sealed the deal for us. Get acquainted with Davila Gonzalez in the following Q & A, and see why we think she’s a perfect fit for our highly combustible press.

Are there any book-geek stereotypes that totally apply to you?

That totally apply? I’m not sure. I recently moved and all I have to furnish my house at the moment are stacks of books. Thankfully I have a roommate. I pack more books than I’ll read when I travel. I lug them around in my purse. I sleep with them in my bed. I keep my books for company as much as I do for stories. Libraries and bookstores are sanctuaries. Inside everything slows and I can breathe, the world is just right, everything is treasure. I sneak read in bars sometimes. And when I don’t, I want to.

Epic sweeping romantic fantasies and magical realism are my favorites, and I’m still shocked when life mirrors anything else. In fact it rarely does, where magical realism is concerned.

Are there any books or authors’ work that you appreciate but are also confused by? Are there any titles that you feel deserve second and third chances for their genius, or, quirkiness?

I seldom find myself confused by a book, but I think this is because I usually abandon the story when I can’t make sense of it. I tend to sink into my favorite genres and stay there where things make good sense. There are some stories that feel foreign, alien, strange, but somewhere within they touch a universal truth that I realize I’ve been tapped into all along, and I love those moments. The last was so long ago I struggle to remember which book it was, but I know it was a Russian story, and it was cold. Wintery. The Brothers Karamazov, maybe.

My second/third chance title pick is for the Twilight series, but not for genius or quirkiness. It’s for a depth in concept that struck a personal chord in me. That universal truth. I read those books when I was 23, and the allure of romance/danger/immortality aside, I felt moved by the main character’s acceptance of her own flaws. I felt inspired to accept my own. In this respect, I imagine reading these books when I was 15 would have been strengthening and inspiring to live life according to myself.

What’s your favorite place or way to find something new to read?

Plucking a beautiful book off a shelf, or out of a basket, or a from a flea market table, etc. Running my fingers along a series of spines until something tingles and I just know I want to pick it up. I love titles. I adore not knowing a thing about the book or the author and opening the first page and reading that first sentence. If I am gifted a story, I tend to open it up much faster when nothing has been said about it. A silent exchange. I love the moment when a book speaks for itself, right there on the shelf, almost like its breathing in front of me.

Who was the best reader you’ve ever seen or heard? What did they do to make it memorable, and, have you ever read your work in public? Do you have any tips?

My father is the best. His voice is gravelly and velvet and thick. He pauses and evens his voice in perfect time.

Jack Nicholson in The Elephant’s Child is an early and mesmerizing childhood memory, though I don’t know for sure if he read or recited for this. I am currently listening to The Hobbit narrated by Rob Inglis and I like his rhythm. He also does great character voices, so that I can shift from one character to the next without any choppy realization that I’m doing so.

I also hear John Lithgow is pretty amazing. I would love to hear him read.

I have not had the opportunity to read my work in public, but this sounds super fun. I love to read aloud, and have recited some poetry for an audience (sixth grade poetry club). I am a seasoned living room children’s book reader too.

I like to tune into the tone of my voice when I read aloud and find that pitch that feels just deeper than my normal voice. Is this just me?

Do you see any problems or frustrations in publishing you’d like to be fixed? Even if it’s a long shot, do you have a suggestion or dream of how to make it better?

Publishing is still so new a field to me, I haven’t formed any hard opinions yet. However I have been reeling in the wake of bookstore closings happening in my neighborhood. My heart aches when I pass the container store that replaced my local bookshop. I have to travel to visit a bookstore now. I am more than willing, but I would like to see bookstores again. Each time I’ve found myself among sparse bookshelves and tables of half-off titles (which I take home in armfuls), I find myself wondering what exactly is going on here. If this has something to do with current publishing practices, then yes, I have a dream. I would love to find out what those practices are and evolve them so that we can enjoy a resurgence of bookstores of all kinds that beckon people like coffee shops.

Who are the two writers you would love to see co-author a book?

Tom Robbins and hmm … Erin Morgenstern! Jitterbug Perfume meets The Night Circus, please.

Do you have any topics you obsess about in your reading or writing?

Yes. Witchcraft, ancient matriarchy, acceptance of shadows, survival skills, and reconciling imaginary worlds with current real ones. Magick, sex, dragons, and time travel are close seconds. Poetic landscape description is also a favorite.

What were you most excited for when you were ten, and what are you most excited for this year?

When I was ten I was most excited about the idea of growing up. Becoming a woman, traveling the world, living a free and beautiful life. I imagined what I would look like, what kind of home I would live in, who I would know, what kinds of things I would do with my time. I wanted to be in love and I wanted to know who I was. I am realizing in this very moment that my answer to the next part of this question is eerily and oh-so-expectedly related.

I am most excited this year for my belated foray into independent and inspired life. I have a new apartment in a new place, a new job, and more than anything, I am pursuing my passions outwardly after a lifetime of inner cultivation.

Why are you interested in an internship in publishing, and with Atticus Books?

I am a writer, I love books, and I live for stories. I want to see my working time evolve and gravitate until it is centering around these three elements of my life. Publishing is the industry that gives me fodder for all three, that puts stories in my hands, that transports the magick of ink and storytelling. I want to know all about it, understand it, and contribute my energy. I chose Atticus because I felt aligned when I wandered onto the Atticus Books homepage. Each sentence I read communicated a dedication to sharing stories. And beyond dedication, a true excitement for it. I want to be part of excitement like that. Part of a group of people who are lit by the same thing that lights me. A plan for environmentally conscious publishing was the seal.

4 thoughts on “A Lifetime of Inner Cultivation: Meet Davila Gonzalez”

  1. Of course, I can’t be objective about my amazing, book-loving daughter, but I can share some of the comments my friends, coworkers and associates wrote to me. Some of them have never even met her…

    “…She is amazing! If she ever writes a book – and I am certain it will read with the elegance of her speech – I want to read it…”–Gayle

    “Davila is so magical. Always has been, always will be.”–Ariel

    Wonderful interview and writing – I like Atticus’ wisdom!”–Patricia

    “I can’t even articulate just how amazing Davi is! Her energy, her passion…good Lord, I want to be her!”–Erin

  2. To start with, I am Davi’s grandfather. During the few brief moments that we have engaged in a conversation, I usually remember her lovely attitude in pronuncing all the words so clearly, and I think that she picked every word so that she could convey the right meanning to my ears. She’s lovely in all aspects. I am deeply convince that she will be a wonderfull writer. Abuelo love you Davi.

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