Over the last ten months, I’ve been exploring the idea that I’ve lived a sheltered life. This despite spending my senior year in high school as an exchange student in Germany, and the many travels I made around the world during a military career that ended with retirement in 2014. Early last year, I took a part time job at a local bookstore to get out of the house a couple nights a week.
During my time at the store, I have been exposed to more authors and ideas than I know what to do with. The books I’ve read in years past were mostly nonfiction: history, biography, theology, etc. My co-workers, and even some customers, have recommended books for me to read, and I’ve read many of them. In November 2019, I purchased a book, “The Scandal of the Century”, which is a collection of works written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, or “Gabo” as he is known in the Hispanic world. I so loved what I read, that I sought more information about this author.
In 1982, Gabo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Literature, “for his novels and short stories, in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent’s life and conflicts.” Noble Prize citation. Before reading Marquez, I had no idea there was a Noble Prize for literature. For all I knew, it was some prize that went to scientists who made world-changing discoveries, or politicians. When I found the website for the prizes in literature, I read the citations for many of the awardees, and I was inspired. It gave me a different look at writing and the impacts it can have on society.
I am still making my way through the canon of Gabriel Marquez’s work, having only read the book I mentioned above and one other, Love in the Time of Cholera, published in 1988. There are so many other works I want to read, including:
- One Hundred Years of Solitude
- Chronicle of a Death Foretold
- The General and His Labyrinth
- Strange Pilgrims
- Of Love and Other Demons
- Living to Tell the Tale
As a writer, I am always looking for inspiration. I write about things that interest me or topics that I struggle with. I was inspired by Gabo after reading “The Scandal of the Century”. The second section, titled “Topic for a Topical Piece”, Marquez outlines a method he used to find inspiration for stories by using the newspaper. It’s a short article, but it’s funny and inspiring! I have actually written some short stories using that method that I will publish on this blog in the next month or two.
Gabo was the inspiration I needed to push forward during a dry spell in my writing. Though he passed away in 2014, he still entertains, inspires and challenges readers across the world. I should know, for I am one of them!
Happy Birthday, Mr. Marquez!
Looking to read more? Check out some of his books:
Featured image from: Education in Argentina