Years from now, I probably won’t remember where I was when I heard Gabriel García Márquez passed away, but I will remember the day I finished A Hundred Years of Solitude. It was sometime in April 2011 in Montreal. It was raining, but warm enough such that the door leading out to the balcony from my bedroom was open and swaying somewhat violently - the perfect ambiance as a hurricane hurtled towards Aureliano, bringing his life and the multi-generational saga to a close.
I turned the page to face a wall of blankness I wasn’t prepared for. I had spent two full days grappling with the emotional turmoil of incestous coupling, general dysfunction and far too many José Arcadios to adequately keep track of. I wasn’t ready for it to be over. I felt deflated. I wanted more. But all I had was Isabel Allende - and who goes back to reading Danielle Steel after having conquered Sartre? The blankness of that page haunted me for a while. Like I had something to finish; a weird sense of attachment and responsibility to a culture and concept that still remains foreign today. But there was also a muted sense of fear, in the realization of just how far I have to go if I ever hope to be as good a writer.
Everybody has their art. But there are some whose work transcends classification because they are able to touch the essence of human experience: Love in the midst of what is essentially a fragile existence. So here’s to GGM, to genius, to lifetime of inimitable craft that continues to inspire honesty, imagination and the beauty of discovering and expressing your art.