“He pleaded so much that he lost his voice. His bones began to fill with words.” — Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
I am weird.
In some ways, I say this as a badge of honor. In other ways, eh, who really knows if it’s a good thing or a not so good thing. Either way, when I was thinking about what I wanted to write today, I kicked a few ideas around but nothing was lighting up my inner like buttons with any real fervor. When this happens, I will sometimes scroll through previous posts, trying to make a connection or spin a little thread of continuity, in the way that a well thought out space will lead you from one room to the next in a connected manner.
My last post, a hastily written missive while we were still in Mexico – hiding from the chaos in the north – touched on the novel, written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, called Love in the Time of Cholera. As I was idling past the entry, BAM! (thanks Emeril!), the light turned on, and all the sudden I knew where I was going, and how I was going to get there.
I like reading. Actually I love to read; it’s one of my favorite pastimes, and it has been for my entire life. Our house is full of books, lots of books, books about all kinds of topics and subjects; we are full up with words, although sometimes I still struggle to find the words I want to say. Anyway, on to the weird part.
I love books.
I am going to use various books as the basis for my blog posts for a while. Perhaps it will be a short time, maybe it will be a longer time. Why would I do this? Simply put, I have read so many amazing books in my lifetime, and I think most of us have a little more time on our hands today than we did last month, so it’s quite likely that you might have enough time to read one or two of the books I mention. If not, that’s ok too. I write for me, mostly, in this blog, and that’s enough. If someone else finds so much as a grain of anything useful in it, then that is excellent too.
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One Hundred Years of Solitude is about destiny, fate, innocence, corruption, grandiosity, isolation, interconnectedness, and human nature. It is the sad, yet glorious, tale of a fictional town in South America. A town that initially has no contact with other towns; it’s isolated and the only visitors are gypsies. The gypsies bring glimpses into the outside world, in the guise of common objects that are coated with a sense of wonder. Ice. Telescopes. That sort of thing.
García Márquez writes in such an inimitable style – it makes me want to lap up the words like little pools of milk, leftover in a bowl when the ice cream has been eaten. He paints pictures that are full of so many colors my brain almost wants to explode from the joy of reading it.
Back to the story.
Macondo, the fictional town in the book, cannot remain in isolation forever. José Arcadio Buendía, the patriarch of the town’s founding family, well, he is strange in a way that I am not even sure I could describe if I wanted to – but I don’t want to, since that might spoil the story. He has children, they all inherit different parts of his strangeness, and that strangeness morphs into different characteristics, some good, some bad, as the children turn into adults.
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Things happen, the world closes in, and the town is forced to deal with their expanding horizons and shrinking options. The book is full of so many little nuances, tiny details, ironic twists and turns, it’s almost like one of those childrens’ puzzles, where you are tasked with finding things that appear different from one image compared to another – only you discover more and more in the book, each consecutive time you read it, even though the words never change on the page.
That is the art that is García Márquez, in a nutshell. His ability to paint the words on the page and then to highlight and shade to a level of exquisitely subtle nuances… I think I’ve read the book at least four times. I’ve just motivated myself to dig up my copy from the shelves and spend the afternoon reading it again. It’s a most excellent way to pass the time.
The rest of the story.
When I think about how this book relates to where we are in this current moment in time, it reminds me of a few things.
- Life is not static, no matter how much we might wish it to be. (or not, for some of us!)
- Isolation may seem like a good idea, but the outcome is rarely as positive as the promo claims.
- We all inherit traits from those who came before us, and it is up to us to find a way to use these slivers of others.
- It’s much easier to be an introvert with a keyboard and a broadband connection!