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‘Milagro Man’ finds himself in spotlight

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — John Nichols is anxious. This time, it’s not because he has a book deadline to meet.

“I still haven’t seen the documentary about my life,” he says during a recent phone interview from his Taos home. “Since I don’t have Internet or a cell phone, it’s difficult for me to stay connected. I have to wait until I get a copy in the mail.”

Nichols is the subject of a new documentary, “Milagro Man: The Irrepressible Multicultural Life and Literary Times of John Nichols.” The film was produced by Kurt Jacobsen and Warren Leming, who both worked on “Amercian Road.”

Nichols, 72, is known for the New Mexico trilogy of books “The Milagro Beanfield War” “The Magic Journey” and “The Nirvana Blues,” which tackled the complex relationship between history, race and ethnicity, and land and water rights, in fictional Chamisaville County, N.M.

“I was approached by Kurt about the film and I agreed to do it,” he says. “I’ve known Kurt for more than 30 years and we had maintained this friendship. It’s been fun filming it and letting him get into my life a little.”

“The Milagro Man” explores the colorful literary career, screenwriting escapades and social activism of Nichols. The documentary is spun around the hub of extensive interviews and offers audiences intimate glimpses into the creative process as exemplified in a gifted, passionate and unrepentant radical American writer.

Nichols says that filming took place in January and February around Taos.

“It was weird because Kurt wanted to know about my life,” he says. “While it has been exciting, it’s not stuff made for tabloids. But what I did like was to be able to delve into my ancestry and where I came from and how I ended up in Taos.”

Nichols says finding out where one comes from is what has inspired his books and writing.

“I grew up in a mixed community in New York,” he says. “When I got out here to Taos, I fell in love with how the various cultures co-exist. It’s been a wonderful place to call home and I’ve been supported a lot by the New Mexico community.”

Nichols will attend the screening at 4 p.m. Aug. 17 at the KiMo Theatre and will host a book signing at the event. He is promoting his new book, “On Top of Spoon Mountain,” which will be released Thursday, Aug. 16.

“It’s going to be a wonderful time to talk about both the movie and the book,” he says. “I’ve been writing since I was 22 and spent 50 years working. It’s time that I had some fun as well.”