New Mexico State University alumnus George Mendoza released his book “Vision of the Spirit Man,” this spring. It is the second in the "Journey Man" series he is writing with the help of NMSU students.
“I'm really excited about “Journey of the Spirit Man” and “Vision of the Spirit Man” coming out” Mendoza said, “I've been really lucky to work with New Mexico State’s creative writing department.”
Mendoza works with graduate students who help him edit and bring his stories to life. A third-year master of fine arts candidate in fiction, Shane Inman has worked with Mendoza frequently on the Spirit Man series.
“Working with George is great,” Inman said, “He gives me a huge amount of creative freedom and we had frequent conversations about where to take his characters as I worked on editing his novels. I never feel constrained when working with George on these books.”
Mendoza, 66, has been legally blind since he was 15 years old. His vision is limited but he sees colors, which he paints. Mendoza graduated from New Mexico School for the Blind in Alamogordo before attending NMSU. A 1978 graduate in interdisciplinary studies, he started painting full time in the early 1990s.
As an author, Mendoza has published more than 30 books and manuscripts, including six children's books, which also focused on the "Spirit Man." He says the main character is based on his son Michael and his own serious accident while running in Organ Mountains.
“I've created a superhero that’s a lot like Dorothy, in 'The Wizard of Oz.'” Mendoza said, “Dorothy gets twisted in a tornado, winds up in Oz and Michael has his accident in the Oregon mountains and winds up going through an ancient gate and winds up in many different worlds and has to learn lessons about love, peace war.”
Mendoza’s artwork has been shown in galleries around the world and hangs in many private collections. His exhibition “Colors of the Wind” was a national Smithsonian traveling art exhibit.
“I think the mistake writers and artists make is they want to become famous and make a lot of money and I looked at it the other way.” Mendoza said “I looked at it as therapy, painting and writing, but I think the blindness put me in a sort of tunnel vision.”
Mendoza gives lectures about his experience. He also founded the Wise Tree Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization that promotes arts for the community in Las Cruces.
Learn more about Mendoza by visiting his website.