Sunday, September 11, 2011

Blessings in Disguise

Joseph Baca’s memoir, “Blessings in Disguise,” is equal parts history, family dynamics under stressful and sometimes violent circumstances, humor, spiritual awakening and inspiration. It is the story of one man’s life and how it was shaped by circumstances, but not defined by circumstances.

Baca is brutally honest about himself, his father’s brutality, his own mistakes, triumphs and joys. Despite times of darkness in his life Baca could always see the light ahead. In the book he credits his wife Loretta, with helping him see himself in a new way.

His dreams were more than dreams they were affirmations: “Good morning KFUN and KLVF hill, I love you and one day I am going to own you and you will be mine.” He started repeating that affirmation more than 20 years ago and eventually made it happen.

He also told his wife his Wednesday and Saturday lottery ticket purchases would someday bring in a million dollars. Apparently Joseph was the only one who wasn’t surprised when it happened.

“Blessings in Disguise,” begins with vignettes of Joseph Baca as a child. It details the verbal and physical abuse he received at the hands of a troubled father who turned his own demons on those closest to him. Joseph felt the brunt of that alcohol driven anger many times. It created an angry youngster who ended up finding trouble even when he wasn’t looking for it.

The memoir is touching, funny, heartbreaking and triumphant. It tells of Baca’s own struggle against the power of his past, which threatened to invade and take over his present and his future. He writes about the spirit that seemed to guide him past these dark times when anger and a feeling that his father was right when he said, “You’ll never be worth a damn and you’ll never accomplish anything in life.”

With grit and determination Baca has proven El Wille (his father) wrong, although that wasn’t his intent. His success is a blessing he counts with thanksgiving in his heart, not with revenge in his mind.

Baca said writing the book has been cathartic, allowing him to perhaps shine a light on his past and blow away the shadows that have haunted him for years.

“Blessings in Disguise,” is available at Tome on the Range in Las Vegas, N.M., and from the author. Baca will be the guest author at a reading and book-signing event at Tome on Saturday, Sept. 17 beginning at 3 p.m.