Race-work, Race-love

Que en Paz Descanse: Love In the Time of Gabriel García Márquez

In Uncategorized on April 18, 2014 at 5:36 pm

“Things have a life of their own,” the gypsy proclaimed with a harsh accent. “It’s simply a matter of waking up their souls.”

And that’s just page two of One Hundred Years of Solitude by the great Gabriel García Márquez.

Although literature and genius have been birthed out of Latin America long before Gabo (how Gabriel García Márquez is affectionately known) it is said that there is no other author who has put Latin American literature on the global map as has this gran maestro. Just a few of his notable moments include: a Nobel Prize in Literature (1982), getting into a fight with Mario Vargas Llosa, and earning a number two spot (after the Bible,) on the best seller list in Latin America for One Hundred Years of Solitude.

The truth is, I only know Gabriel García Márquez’s work. I had minimal knowledge of his political leanings, his personal ambitions, or his life as a writer. I did not know that he was a great friend of Fidel Castro or that he fought against those detained in Cuba despite that friendship,  I had no idea that (like many of us who desire to be writers) he held down a couple of jobs and a family. I had no idea that his life began in poverty and that it was during these years that his imagination took him to places later in his writing that made his home town glitter in gold and simultaneously smell pungently of political oppression.

Only a man who loved his hometown but hated injustice could make Latin America broadly, and Macondo specifically, seem like the ice he describes in his first page of One Hundred Years of Solitude.

“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Col. Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. At that time Macondo was a village of 20 adobe houses built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs. The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point.”

How do I make race work, racial justice, racial equity desirable as ice, I continue to wonder…He made revolution and Latin America irresistible and we all fell for it. The whole world fell in love with a revolution and didn’t even realize it.

Gabriel García Márquez threw his spell on me and made me want to be a writer – a great autora of a revolutionary Ecuadorian American novel – oh how I dream!! Gabriel García Márquez helped me feel normal at a predominantly white college (Brandeis University), where I was first introduced to his work.

Oh, Gabo! How proud you made me of being born of Latin American parents and made me think that, maybe, even though you are from Colombia and I from EcuaYork, I too can be just as creative, as imaginative, as genius as you…

Gabriel García Márquez demonstrated to us how it is absolutely possible to make love to words to birth beautiful stories – I desired to live and love in his head. We all wished for him to live forever but in the end – at least we have his words.

En poquitas palabras – millones de gracias al gran genio, al gran maestro Latino Americano. May he always rest in our dreams of revolution and love and justice.

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