Traveling Thanks to Literature – Gabriel García Márquez –
I count myself as a very blessed person, as I had the luck to have one of the best literature teachers (probably in the world!). He taught me to let my imagination flow and fly, to see that impossible is nothing when we talk about literature.
I will always remember the very first day at his lecture. I was 17 and in a new high school, feeling a mix of fear and excitement. I opened the door and he was writing on the blackboard: mermaid, chocolate, mountains, Dalí and Tokyo. I had no idea where we were going to with that, but then he started to explain.
He asked a very simple question: Where else can you find all these words in a way that make sense? The answer was clear: Literature. In novels, short stories, theatre plays… Since that moment I knew I was going to love those lessons.
Muchos años después, frente al pelotón de fusilamiento, el Coronel Aureliano Buendía había de recordar aquella tarde remota en que su padre lo llevó a conocer el hielo.
Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.
He was the one who repeated these lines time and time again, just because he loved the words and the sound of them. He also loved what they say. He used to say: Listen well, listen! Many years later, as he faced the firing squad… and what did he remember? Just the day when his dad took him to see ice for the first time! Isn´t that marvellous! Isn´t that genius?!
That opening line will always stay with me, and as I say it to myself in Spanish, it sound more like poetry. And old man thinking about when he was young. About a father gone long ago. About a small thing for anybody but him: the ice.
And indeed it was. 100 Years of Solitude is a novel that will stay forever with us, and how fortunate we are to have it! Through this book, one can be surrounded by the most real South America, but can also discover imaginary and fantastic places, cities and towns nobody has ever seen, because they lived in the imagination of one great writer, and passed it to us, his readers.
I always feel sad when such a great name passes away. But with Gabriel García Márquez is that extra bit more special, mainly because he reminds me of my teenage years and my literature teacher, who always carried a green pen as Gabriel, for luck. Also because I think, partly thanks to him, I went to university to study Literature.
Read, because reading is like traveling, but it takes you to even more extraordinary places.
Rest in Peace Gabo. The world will miss you, and remember you forever.