The literary world has become poorer with the loss of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who died April 17th. I still remember how amazed I was by my first reading of “A Hundred Years of Solitude.” Magical realism was alien to me and it was a revelation to discover that fiction didn’t have to be ordinary facts pinned on the page like enbalmed butterflies, but could soar with the writer’s imagination into a space where reality had no relevance. For this would-be writer, such freedom was liberating.
Everyone who cares about great writing is familiar with this and other novels of Marquez’s, though less with his equally intriguing short stories. But what I am remembering are the inspiring ways he worked. In an interview years ago he revealed that he was working on a new novel, plus several short stories, plus a screen play! I envy that ability to – as we say these days – multitask. I find it hard to switch my focus the way he could, but it’s an ability worth cultivating. We all fall into doldrums when creativity is absent or feels forced, and it’s a life saver (career saver) to be able to switch to another piece of work during that time.
In his autobiography, cleverly titled, ”Living To Tell the Tale,” Marquez spoke of the “countless lures that tried to turn me into anything but a writer.” Unfortunately, many of us inflict these ”lures” on ourselves as excuses to postpone writing. I would hate to add up the hours I squander reviewing the latest posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, et al. These “lures” steal irreplaceable time from us unless we’re as vigilant about our time as Marquez was.
He preached the importance of avoiding “unnecessary actions” in stories , too. In some of the best advice I’ve ever read he stressed “reducing stories to their pure essence…deleting everything unnecessary in a forceful genre in which each word ought to be responsible for the entire structure.” I keep these words on the bulletin board above my desk.
One less generous thought about Marquez: he was lucky to be a man. I say this because ”Solitude” was reputedly written during 18 months of undivided time while his wife took care of the burdensome details of everyday life. In a dream world, we would each have someone selflessly dedicated to enabling us to do uninterrupted work. Is that wish magical (un)realism?
QUOTE FOR THE DAY:
“It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Website: www. annehosansky.com
Books: “Widow’s Walk” – available through iUniverse.com; “Turning Toward tomorrow” – Xlibris.com; “Ten Women of Valor” – CreateSpace.com and Amazon.com. AlsoAmazon kindle.