Thursday, April 17, 2014

Miniature Entry: On the Loss of a Great Writer

I wish I had something poetic to say about the wonderful Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, who has just died; but I don't.

Instead, I can tell you that in my freshman expository writing/fiction writing class at Harvard, which I hated, I once said in a discussion that I saw great similarities between the plots of "The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World" and Auntie Mame.

I did this just to provoke an aneurysm in a snooty bitch classmate from Miss Porter's. She always spoke in a breathy voice redolent of italics of her desire to "explode the confines of linear fiction," and she openly loathed me for turning in assignments that were funny. Every time one of my stories got a laugh, she would shake her Annie Hall bob in disgust and bite the end of her pen.*

It worked. She actually did get so angry she left the room. I've always been grateful to Mr. Márquez for that. And, of course, to Patrick Dennis.

This will probably be the only Márquez tribute that mentions them both.

RIP, Gabe.

Now I have to go finish roasting a chicken.

*She was also an avowed Freudian.


Fred Leise said...

A sad day for literature, indeed.

Anonymous said...

Homo ludens - was a vastly discouraged topic (by the profs) and encouraged topic (by me and my peers) in grad school. Where is the play? where is the humor, anyway?

Veronika said...

I have several of his books in my bookshelves, safely stored, unread, sinse I bought them 8 or 9 years ago.
I will read them one day, when I retire, or learn to turn pages with my toes. Because knitting.

Homo ludens, second that! A great cheer for Terry Pratchett who realized that you can be hilariously funny and still write about serious matters. But I hope no profs ever lay their greedy eyes on his work, to force students to ANALYZE humour. That would be a surefire way to kill it indeed.

Vanessa @ Mixed Martial Arts and Crafts said...

I never read anything by Marquez. However, your report sounds like one I turned in titled, "Why I would ditch Stephen Hero [from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man] at the prom." My professor held on to that one.

WhizGidget said...

Reading 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' changed the way I think about everything in life, the past, the future.... such a treasure he gave to the world with his literature, and he will be sorely missed.

Heidi said...

"explode the confines of linear fiction"

Hahahaha! Pretentious much? I haven't heard any explosions, so perhaps she is still honing her craft.

Unknown said...

Well I went to Miss Porter's, something I prefer not to admit or put on my resume, although in my day we called it Farmington. Not all of us are like your classmate (although I fear most are) and I doubt most of my Farmington classmates were/are even aware of Garcia-Marquez. Anyway, I had the great privilege of working (production editor) on his books; in fact I think it was "Love in the Time of Cholera" that was the last book published by the house to be set in linotype.
Michiko Kakutani's appraisal of "Gabo" in today's New York Times is a must-read. Nancy

Anonymous said...

Loved his books. Sorry there will be no more.


Liz said...

I loved several of Garcia Márquez's novels. Had I had to study them, however...! (Just let's say, never ever engage me on the nouveau roman when I have pointy sticks to hand.)

I had experienced enough literary pretentiousness (and enough pseudo-Freudian literary theory) to last a lifetime by the time I was 23. But I was sad to hear of Garcia Márquez's death today.

"Auntie Mame" is all-but-unobtainable in the UK - would you advise a search?

soxanne said...

Sad, sad, sad.

I have Memoria de mis putas tristes in my bag but alas, I don't know if I'll have the heart to pull it out and finish it now. At least not for a while.

Anonymous said...

Ah, I went to college with some people who asked seriously if binary form always had two parts. I could have stood a little pretension. One girl actually told me that "IT"S DIFFERENT FOR YOU, You LIKE Classical Music!"

I liked watching the strokes everyone had the day we listened to Wozzeck. Not that it's my everyday breakfast music, but still.

Auntie Mame is a great book.

Beth V. said...

"One Hundred Years of Solitude" is in my top two favorite books of all time, "Jitterbug Perfume" being the other. In tribute to Mr. Marquez, I'm going to go and read something he wrote right now.

Anonymous said...

Hi Franklin,

I realize this is not exactly an appropriate comment for this specific post, but you are a difficult fellow to get in touch with. Remove if required.

Re: Knitted bathing costumes

Please take a look at this link...
a couple of icelandic fellows, about half way through.


linda harrison said...

Can I just tell you about""? Reading and knitting???? I hadn't read for years because if the knitting!!! Now I listen.... This means I now "read" a couple of books a month! I have the deal where I can download 24 books a year for just over £100.
Ideal for us knitting folk.

mschoir01 said...

Freudian? Eww.

Seakay said...

Did you decide she was a snooty bitch before or after you found out where she went to school?

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