My favorite writer has died. I remember reading One Hundred Years of Solitude in a state of wonderment. It was pure joy to read one of his sentences, some of which marched on defiantly for pages. Marquez’s exuberance of expression, his refusal to bow to any of the many rules so many would impose on writers – be brief, pare down, trim, don’t decorate or embellish, be clear, make it easy, keep your characters to a minimum – felt like being let out of prison. Like flying. I could taste his words. Smell them. Feel them. Hear them. See the pictures they painted, the characters he described.

I thought, ‘This is writing. It is cooking, painting, composing, gardening, architecting, weaving and sculpting all at once. It is the Big Bang. Except that you don’t have to wait millions of years for the light to reach you. It is immediate. Visceral. Delicious. Unforgettable.

But it was Marquez’s books about love that had the biggest impact on me. Love in the Time of Cholera, a story about an aging man’s lifelong love for a woman who had rejected him when he was young, told of a kind of love rarely read (or written) about anymore. Romantic. Sentimental, oozing with joy, sorrow, pain…with, well, love!

And Memories of My Melancholy Whores, about another old man’s late life yearnings, peeled away the sorrows, joys, pleasures and sadnesses of aging – the skin and body crumbling, but desire and imagination living until one’s last breath.

Marquez was called a Magic Realist. Yes. Like life. Real. And magical. It is not possible to write like he did without having had the capacity to live it fully.

How cruel that he had developed dementia. My mother had Alzheimer’s and there were many times when I thought that she was simply living in her own world, one that I had been excluded from entirely.

Not so dissimilar from what it feels like to me to read Marquez. Lost within my own little world, a whirlwind of expression, free-flowing, emotional, imaginative, free-spirited and free-associative. A world of real magic.

Hard to believe there won’t be another gem of a book from this brilliant man. I can only hope that wherever his soul has been spirited off to, that world is as magical as the one he has given us.

RIP Gabriel Garcia Marquez. 

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