With his stories of "jackets the color of day-old guacamole" and childhood adventures "behind grandma's house," author Gary Soto spoke before an enthusiastic audience at the Southwest Performing Arts Theatre in El Centro on Wednesday night.
The evening began with a performance of a scene from "Nerdlandia," Soto's humorous play about adolescent angst. In it, Soto portrayed love-struck Joaquin and performed alongside drama students from Central Union High School.
"I've never done that," Soto conceded after the performance, of performing in one of his own plays.
His presentation was filled with anecdotes from his life, similar to the retrospective and witty writings for which he's most famous.
After reciting his most famous poem, "Oranges," Soto jumped into an explanation of why he writes.
"Writing starts from pain," Soto said, citing poverty in his early life and his ethnicity for reasons he began to write.