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Archive for June, 2010

A few years ago I went to Cartagena, Colombia where Marquez has his home. I joked with my girlfriend that we would run into him. And it just so happened that he almost ran over us. We were taking pictures outside of his colorful house when the garage door open and his driver nearly ran us over. Reclining in the passenger seat, Marquez looked on at us with amused patience.

His works are brilliant, beautiful, and magical. And every time I travel to Colombia they come alive for me in the town cathedrals, the local town personalities, the granddaughters whispering truth to their grandmothers; the wild birds; children playing soccer near men sharing stories….at noon the church bells ring and the marketplaces breath…and his novels live my veins like music.
A few quotes I love:

“What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.”

“To him she seemed so beautiful, so seductive, so different from ordinary people, that he could not understand why no one was as disturbed as he by the clicking of her heels on the paving stones, why no one else’s heart was wild with the breeze stirred by the sighs of her veils, why everyone did not go mad with the movements of her braid, the flight of her hands, the gold of her laughter. He had not missed a single one of her gestures, not one of the indications of her character, but he did not dare approach her for fear of destroying the spell.”

“He dug so deeply into her sentiments that in search of interest he found love, because by trying to make her love him he ended up falling in love with her. Petra Cotes, for her part, loved him more and more as she felt his love increasing, and that was how in the ripeness of autumn she began to believe once more in the youthful superstition that poverty was the servitude of love. Both looked back then on the wild revelry, the gaudy wealth, and the unbridled fornication as an annoyance and they lamented that it had cost them so much of their lives to find the paradise of shared solitude. Madly in love after so many years of sterile complicity, they enjoyed the miracle of living each other as much at the table as in bed, and they grew to be so happy that even when they were two worn-out people they kept on blooming like little children and playing together like dogs.”

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One image stands out, more than the rest, in Proust’s work. In Swann’s Way Proust describes the pain of leaving his mother for the evening. He describes climbing the stairs to his room, as “climbing against my heart.”
In his words:
“And so I must set forth without viaticum; must climb each step of the staircase ’against my heart,’ as the saying is, climbing in opposition to my heart’s desire, which was to return to my mother, since she had not, by her kiss, given my heart leave to accompany me forth. That hateful staircase, up which I always passed with such dismay, gave out a smell of varnish which had to some extent absorbed, made definite and fixed the special quality of sorrow that I felt each evening, and made it perhaps even more cruel to my sensibility because, when it assumed this olfactory guise, my intellect was powerless to resist it. When we have gone to sleep with a maddening toothache and are conscious of it only as a little girl whom we attempt, time after time, to pull out of the water, or as a line of Molière which we repeat incessantly to ourselves, it is a great relief to wake up, so that our intelligence can disentangle the idea of toothache from any artificial semblance of heroism or rhythmic cadence. It was the precise converse of this relief which I felt when my anguish at having to go up to my room invaded my consciousness in a manner infinitely more rapid, instantaneous almost, a manner at once insidious and brutal as I breathed in–a far more poisonous thing than any moral penetration–the peculiar smell of the varnish upon that staircase.”
Morrissey reads Proust

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