El Tiempo Latino
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Remembering Gabo

Gabriel García Márquez: 1927-2014

Alberto Avendaño/oped | 4/23/2014, 12:13 a.m.
Remembering Gabo
El desaparecido escritor colombiano Gabriel García Márquez. | EFE

I never met him. Now that he is gone and everybody has a Gabriel García Márquez story to share, I feel like splashing brushstrokes at this page with the magical, harmonious disorder of a summer in Macondo.

1. His favorite musician was Bela Bartok: A modern composer who was a specialist in musical folklore. His favorite music was Vallenato. His favorite flower: a yellow rose or any tiny yellow flower falling down from the sky —see “One Hundred Years of Solitude.”

2. For him “One Hundred Years of Solitude” represented the myth. His best book, he said, was “Love in the Time of Cholera.” This is my best book because it is a book about who we really are, he said.

3. “I never let myself be seduced by something that was not what I wanted to do: tell stories. The fame, book sales and the money came after I wrote many stories that nobody read and wrote some books that nobody bought... The secret of my happiness is that I always did what I like to do: Tell stories.”

4. He said that his epiphany happened when he read this: “One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in his bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug.” (Franz Kafka, “Metamorphosis”).

5. “The great man was warm and funny, less the brooding novelist than the quick-witted journalist —curious, a bit cynical, easy to laugh.” (Eugene Robinson, The Washington Post columnist and Pulitzer Price winner)

6. “He narrated Latin America to the world and he showed us, Latin Americans, our own image in the mirror of his pages. We are all from Macondo. … I owe him the impulse and the freedom to plunge into literature. In his books I found my own family, my country, the people I have known all my life, the color, the rhythm, and the abundance of my continent. My maestro has died. I will not mourn him because I have not lost him: I will continue to read his words over and over.” (Isabel Allende, novelist)

7. As a journalist, Gabo loved the “crónicas” —reportage— and hated interviews. He also loathed any taping device in the news gathering process. “For many newspaper editors transcription is trial by fire: they are confused by the sound of words, trip over semantics, shipwreck in spelling and die by the stroke of syntax,” he wrote.

8. In 2005, after 10 years of silence, Gabo published “Memories of My Melancholy Whores.” His character was obsessed with his own mortality.

9. In 2014, April was indeed the cruelest month. We lost Gabo: Aracataca, Colombia, March 6, 1927- México, DF, April 17, 2014. As he once said: “The bad thing about death is that it is forever.”