Thursday, November 29, 2012

the possibilities of the novel itself are unlimited...

I am determined to finish The Autumn of the Patriarch and Gerald Martin's biography of Gabo, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a Life. But The Autumn of the Patriarch is not an easy read and the biography is thick.

Right now Marquez is in Mexico. He's been working in the news, advertising and movie industries. But it seems his soul yearns for its primary language...literature...

I always thought that the cinema, through its tremendous visual power, was the perfect means of expression. All my books before One Hundred Years of Solitude are hampered by that uncertainty. There is an immoderate desire for the visualization of character and scene, a millimetric account of the time of dialogue and action and an obsession with indicating point of view and frame. While actually working in cinema, however, I came to realize not only what could be done but also what couldn't be done; I saw that the predominance of the image over the other narrative elements was certainly an advantage but also a limitation and this was for me a startling discovery because only then did I become aware of the fact that the possibilities of the novel itself are unlimited.

I just about salivate over these words, because I understand, and I agree that "the possibilities of the novel itself are unlimited."

That is why we keep reading, that is why we keep searching. That is why the shelves of ereaders all over the world are bursting with books.

The human mind thrives on novelty...we will always crave new stories...and the possibilities are unlimited.

Ah. The master has spoken.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Dreaming About Our Mothers

Still reading The Death Fairy by Laird Stevens. With the holiday weekend and all, I'm pecking through it. Last night I get to the conversations where Asia and Jessica discuss their dreams about their mothers. I put the book down because it makes me think about the dreams I've had about my mother.

One of my favorites. We're swimming in a lake outside Paris. (In the real word, she had a scholarship to the Sorbonne. She married my father instead.) It's one of those days; the rays of light coming through the trees are incandescent and the grass is technicolor green. A Monet painting without the sailboats.

My mother is my mother, but she's also about sixteen. In the dream I'm younger than she is, but not much. I'm in the water. Other swimmers laugh and splash around me. People of all ages lounge on the shore and beneath the trees, my mother among them.

When the sun shimmers with the last light of day, I swim to shore. My mother throws me a towel. I squeeze the water from my hair. She's hurrying me along.

"What's the rush?"

"We've got to get to the city," she says. "We're going dancing."

I wake up, filled with life and wonder. What magic, this enchanted interlude transcending the boundaries of time and space.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Death Fairy

Now, I'm reading The Death Fairy by Laird Stevens. Another random pick up for Free on my kindle. I chose it, I think, because Asia's mother committed suicide.

It is ... different. The writing leaves me critical. Too much telling, I say, then have to smile. Writers, bah! But the story is ... interesting. I'm not sure what to think about it. Is it leading me down a primrose path to a groaning cliche. Possibly something sordid? I can't tell, because they're the good bits.

Like the photo albums filled with pictures of her dead mother, and the stories Asia makes up about them, and how she believes that makes her different than her friend Beverly, who has only the one story to tell about her dead mother.

Kind of a dead end, that one crippling story.

And then there's the fun bit about how egocentric the idea of karma is because the idea that  ...  Everything that happens to you in life happens because of something you did ... does kind of make it all about you.

Pop. Burst another bubble.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Last Story in Leaf Storm...

Nabo, the Black Man Who Made the Angels Wait is a love story between silence and song. A mute girl who drools and a black boy who sings.

When the horse kicks Nabo in the head and that angel calls him to join the choir, he can't leave until that girl cranks the gramophone one more time, shouts his name--the only words she can say--and sets him free.

At least...that's how I read it.

It's the last story about Macondo, so I'm left a little droopy. Endings are always bittersweet and this one's no different.

But...was the saxophone player an angel before or after he died?

Gabo sang.
Maybe he still does.
Maybe Gabo goes to the square every Saturday night to sing in that choir and hear that black angel play the sax.
That would be an ending more sweet than bitter.

Did you hear that?
It's so quiet.
The Leaf Storm has passed.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Who Would Sell a Sea?

There are things that I have learned along the way. One is: No one else can tell the truth of your life. It's because we all have filters, and see things in our own way. So, whenever someone says she did this because of that or when that happened, it may or may not be true. Because they don't really know, do they?

Given that truth, a biography, read with an appropriate sense of caution, can be a fascinating thing.

From Gabriel Garcia Marquez, A Life by Gerald Martin ...

... he began to collect the details which would eventually make a dictator of his own come to life, fleshing out the obsessions with power and authority, impotence and solitude ... Mendoza recalls that his tireless friend spent a lot of time in those days reading about Latin America's seemingly interminable list of tyrants ... gradually developing a profile of boys without fathers, men with an unhealthy dependence on their mothers and an immense lust for taking possession of the earth ...

and then we get this ... in The Autumn of the Patriarch ...

... it was thought that he was a man of the upland plains because of his immense appetite for power, the nature of his government, his mournful bearing, the inconceivable evil of a heart which had sold the sea to a foreign power and condemned us to live facing this limitless plain of harsh lunar dust where the bottomless sunsets pain us in our souls.

I mean ... WTF.
Who would sell a sea?

Monday, November 12, 2012

It's just me and the words Gabo wrote...

Then I get to Monolgue of Isabel Watching it Rain in Macondo.

It's a steady drip-drip, just like the rain. I want to take a nap. Like when it's raining.

I worry about that poor cow ... that could not fall down because the habit of being alive prevented her ... And really, like Isabel, I never thought the woman ... asking, every Tuesday, for the eternal branch of lemon balm ... would make it through the deluge. But she did. And then there was the sick woman who'd ... disappeared from her bed and had been found floating that afternoon in the courtyard.

So who fell in the well?

I don't know. But I feel like I finally get IT.

The Leaf Storm. The leaf trash. Macondo.
The awareness glows inside me like a smile.
I don't have a degree in English.
I am not sitting in some classroom.
There is not a blackboard within reach, sight, or walking distance.
The professor is at the university. Not here, in my room.
No, it's just me and the words Gabo wrote.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Six Pages, One Long Line...

I am reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez, A Life by Gerald Martin. It's a slow road. There's not a lot of poetry. There are lots of facts, and names, and places. But it's a biography, and it's thorough.

I love the passages that speak directly to Gabo's writing, even better when he's quoted:

There's not a line in any of my books which I can't connect to a real experience. There is always a reference to concrete reality.

This is an important insight to another writer. Maybe to a reader, too. But the first time I read it, it flies right over my head like a startled bird. I drop the book in my lap and laugh.

Because I have just finished reading The Last Voyage of The Ghost Ship... six pages, one long line.

That Gabo, he's got a wicked sense of humor.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Zany Action, Crazy Contraption of Life...

I am still savoring Leaf Storm, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I don't read in it every day. It's a very rich dessert. So, I taste a few bites and savor.

I finish Blacaman The Good, Vendor of Miracles and think about the Mouse Trap game we had when I was a kid. A Game of Zany Action on a Crazy Contraption. You drop the marble, and it rolls down a standing labyrinth to trip the trap.

That's how the story is written. The zany action, crazy contraption of life leads to the mausoleum for Blacaman the Bad. He's trapped.
That's a story.
I read it again, because I've just got to watch that marble roll one more time.