Monday, December 3, 2012

What They Said Edition: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

By: Michala T.

The Shaping of a Writer



            Marquez was born in 1928 in a house rumored to have been haunted. That alone is sufficient reason for him being such an entertaining writer. However, his life experiences and the events of the world around him continued to shape and mold the man into the writer he became. Living through the effects of various wars, the Banana Strike Massacre, the La Violencia, or ‘the Violence” he used many of these events as elements and backdrops for his writings.
He was very fond of his maternal grandparents. His grandfather was fond of telling stories due to having lived through some very unique experiences of his own sharing them with Marquez as if they were nothing but childhood adventures. “He told his young grandson that there was no greater burden than to have killed a man, a lesson that Garcia Marquez would later put into the mouth of his characters” His grandmother was also made a grand impression on Marquez with her folk beliefs, superstitions, and tales of omens, premonitions, and ghosts.
            Unfortunately, his grandfather died when he turned eight and his grandmother was going blind so he went back to live with his parents who had been so poor they had send him away when he was born to live with his grandparents. However by that time, his father was working as a pharmacist and Marquez was sent to boarding school. He went on to write poems and draw cartoons and was awarded a scholarship to a school for gifted students when he was twelve.


            He would later grow up and go to school, not as a journalist but as a law student as his parents had wished for him. There he met his future wife. She was at the time only thirteen years old and he considered her the most interesting person he’d ever met. They wouldn’t marry for another fourteen years, but eventually they did.
Life Changed with Just One Book
            He detested the subject of law and often skipped classes to wander around to see the sights, read poetry, and eat in cheap cafes. He made friends with similar people until his life would be forever changed…all by reading one book: The Metamorphosis by Kafka. It opened the world to a new way of writing and reminded him of the way his grandmother would tell tales.  He began writing fiction from then and had his first writing published in 1946. He went on to write ten more stories showcased in the newspaper.
            He read works by Hemingway, Woolf, and Faulkner and was inspired again with another writing; this time Oedipus Rex by Sophocles. In 1954 Macondo was published which was perfectly needed as he was near poverty. In 1953 he quit his job and set out to travel and write while selling encyclopedias until he finally married and settled down with a job as a writer of stories and film reviews. He would continue to experience travel and write during certain periods in his life. He would write and sell many stories, some selling more than 700 copies; he saw no royalties from them though.
The Lightbulb Illuminates
            In 1965, he claims to have finally found ‘his tone’ and inspiration and clarity overwhelmed him. He states, “I tried to tell the story without believing in it.” He explained he must first believe in his stories himself and then, only then could, would he write the story. With this new knowledge, he went home and wrote nonstop for 18 months. To cover expenses he sold everything he possibly could. The world around him even got caught up in his journey. His debts would be forgiven, appliances loaned, and credit extended. He would finally open his door and leave his writing room, with a 1300 page story; he was euphoric. One Hundred Years of Solitude was published in 1967 and sold 8000 copies in a week. He still writes today. One Hundred Years of Solitude is considered, even today, a masterpiece and has been translated into over 35 languages, selling more than 20 million copies.  His short tale, which can be found HERE provides evidence of his ingenious imagination. He is a master of bringing the story alive using imagery, magic, and a sense of realism among the fictional world his words produce.
Why do Writers Write? His answer...
"He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves."        - Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera
            Who would not want to ‘give birth’ to themselves, creating themselves time and again? Any honest writer will tell you this is the very essence of the question, “Why do you write?” A writer gets to create and then create again themselves brand new with every new scene, every knew plot, and every new character. Living a new life is epic and to start anew, with every sheet of paper is why I believe writers write. Of course, we writers can spin a dozen or ten more reasons why we write but I believe, personally, this quote sums it up quite well.


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