Meet Blue: Teen writes books about being homeless in South Lake Tahoe
August 8, 2016
Blue Balcita is not your average 16-year-old girl. She's penned five books, already graduated from high school and is making her way through college — and at age 13 she was homeless in South Lake Tahoe.
Her latest book, "Sing Me a Whiskey Lullaby: A Tale of Ordinary Madness," came out at the end of June and tells the story of the young author's difficult childhood.
"[It] details the story from the time I was 5 years old when I was molested by my best friend, to when my stepfather went to prison, my father to prison for murder, and then it details the story of when I was homeless in South Lake Tahoe at 13 until my grandmother came and got me," Balcita told Tahoe Daily Tribune.
Balcita moved from "friends' couches to boxes" with her mother, who struggled with drug and alcohol abuse.
"My mother inevitably got tired of me. She handed me $5 and wished me well in the world," recalled Balcita. "So that led to me having to live in a literal box behind the Taco Bell in Tahoe. My grandmother eventually came to get me."
She was homeless in South Lake for a year and two months.
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Balcita said she was inspired to share the details of her own life after the success of her first book, "Ten Poems for the Hungry," which features poems describing people she met while living on the streets of South Lake. The book came out this past March and made Amazon's Bestseller List for Women's Poetry for six weeks.
"It did so well, me telling other people's stories through the phonaesthetics of poems, that I wanted to tell my own story to people. [Homelessness] is such a common occurrence nowadays that I want to share how I overcame my own trials and tribulations to be successful at 16," explained Balcita.
In one of the poems, "God Bless America," Balcita writes about a homeless veteran she met behind a laundromat in South Lake.
"He had a box and little sleeping bag inside of the box, and he got up each morning and held up a sign that asked people to smile at him. He had no legs because he lost both of them in the Vietnam War. He was such a kind and generous man that I wanted to be able to share his story and his spirit to the world, and let people know that he was here and existed," said Balcita.
Balcita now attends Feather River College in Quincy, California, where she is working towards her associate political science transfer degree. She plans to attend the University of Chicago Institute of Politics when she has finished.
"My long-term goal is to receive an MA in political science and join the FBI so I may be a voice for people who can't speak for themselves," said Balcita.
But before that, the young entrepreneur has a few more projects to see through.
"I am working on opening up my nonprofit, called Bluebird Mentoring, in the next year to helps kids that were thrown into the same situations I was, as well as a sort of common-sense marketing company that helps people get their books on the bestseller list. Then I have 10 more books that are going to be coming out in September, and a documentary called 'Sing Me A Whiskey Lullaby' that will be coming out Sept. 15."
Balcita's books — three of which are also available as audiobooks — are for sale on Amazon.
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