“Life is not what one lived, but what one remembers and how one remembers it in order to recount it.”
– from his autobiography Living to Tell the Tale
Gabriel García Márquez a man who heightened our reality and pushed the boundaries of our imagination through his writing. In many ways, the Colombian novelist and Nobel laureate’s life did seem limitless. He pioneered the magical realism genre and gave literature a whole new perspective on the world and the written word…
Here are his thoughts that will live on forever:
Gabriel García Márquez starting writing by drawing in general and by drawing cartoons in particular. Before he could read or write he used to draw comics at school and at home. In school if there was a pamphlet to be written or a letter of petition to be done, he was the one to do it because he was supposedly the writer. When he entered college he happened to have a very good literary background in general. At the university in Bogotá, he started making new friends and acquaintances, who introduced him to contemporary writers. One night a friend lent him a book of short stories by Franz Kafka and he began to read The Metamorphosis. The first line almost knocked me off the bed. He was so surprised. The first line reads, “As Gregor Samsa awoke that morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. . . .” When he read the line he thought to himself that he didn’t know anyone was allowed to write things like that. If he had known, he would have started writing a long time ago. So he immediately started writing short stories.
Gabriel García Márquez said on various occasions that in the genesis of all his books there’s always an image. He had photography book. The first image he had of The Autumn of the Patriarch was a very old man in a very luxurious palace into which cows come and eat the curtains. But that image didn’t concretize until he saw the photograph. In Rome he went into a bookshop where he started looking at photography books, which he like to collect. He saw this photograph, and it was just perfect. He saw that was how it was going to be. He said since he was not a big intellectual, he can find his antecedents in everyday things, in life, and not in the great masterpieces.
Gabriel García Márquez had an interesting take on the debate on Inspiration vs. Intuition for writing. According to him “Intuition” is also fundamental to writing fiction, is a special quality which helps you to decipher what is real without needing scientific knowledge. For him “Inspiration” is when you find the right theme and the one which you really like. He said “Intuition” has the advantage that either it is, or it isn’t. And you don’t struggle to try to put a round peg into a square hole. For a writer, intuition is essential. Though it is paradox to “Intellectualism”, which is contrary to his thoughts.
Gabriel García Márquez was critical to the role of a critic between the Writer & the Reader. Critics for him are the biggest example of what intellectualism is. First of all, he said they have a theory of what a writer should be. They try to get the writer to fit their model, and if he doesn’t fit, they still try to get him in by force. He really has no interest in what critics think of me; nor has he read critics in many years. Critics claim for themselves the task of being intermediaries between the writer and the reader. His approach has always been to be a very clear and precise writer, trying to reach the reader directly without having to go through the critic.
Gabriel García Márquez was not in favour of the idea of artificial stimulates for producing master pieces. One thing that Hemingway wrote that he was greatly impressed with was that; writing for him was like boxing. He took care of his health and his well-being. Faulkner had a reputation of being a drunkard, but in every interview that he gave he said that it was impossible to write one line when drunk. Bad readers have asked him if he was drugged when he wrote some of his works. He said that it illustrates their gross ignorance about literature or drugs. He was very much against the romantic concept of writing which maintains that the act of writing is a sacrifice, and that the worse the economic conditions or the emotional state, the better the writing. Literary creation for him requires good health. To be a good writer you have to be absolutely lucid at every moment of writing, and in good health. He believed that you have to be in a very good emotional and physical state.
Gabriel García Márquez view on the privacy of the writer, it has a lot to do with the solitude of power. The writer’s very attempt to portray reality often leads him to a distorted view of it. Writers are perceived to be on an ivory tower on trying to transpose reality can end up losing contact with it. He believed that journalism is a very good guard against that because it keeps him in contact with the real world. That’s why he has always tried to keep on doing journalism. The solitude that threatened him after One Hundred Years of Solitude wasn’t the solitude of the writer; it was the solitude of fame, which resembles the solitude of power much more.
Gabriel García Márquez read the weirdest things. He read Muhammad Ali’s memoirs to Bram Stoker’s Dracula which is a great book, and one he probably would not have read many years ago because he would have thought it was a waste of time. But he never really gets involved with a book unless it’s recommended by somebody he trusts. He restricted reading any more fiction and read many memoirs in later part of his life. And he reread my favorites. The advantage of rereading is that you can open at any page and read the part that you really like. He has lost this sacred notion of reading only “literature.” He will read anything. He tries to keep up-to-date. He read almost all the really important magazines from all over the world every week.
Gabriel García Márquez thought that fame is destructive for a writer. Primarily because fame invades into writer’s private life and takes away from the time that he spend with friends, and the time that you can work. It tends to isolate him from the real world. A famous writer who wants to continue writing has to be constantly defending himself against fame. He doesn’t really like to say this because it never sounds sincere, but he would really have liked for his books to have been published after his death, so he wouldn’t have to go through all this business of fame and being a great writer. The problem is that you’re famous for twenty-four hours a day and you can’t say, “Okay, I won’t be famous until tomorrow,” or press a button and say, “I won’t be famous here or now.”