Self Borrows a Page From Garcia Marquez

In his autobiography, Living to Tell the Tale, Garcia Marquez has this story:

He is 21 or 22, and unlike the rest of his friends, who go carousing in bars or what-not, he remains all the time indoors, in a locked room.  When friends ask him what he is doing, he replies:

“I am writing the novel of my life.”

So, this morning, self decides to return Dearest Mum’s calls (three already, and it’s not even 11 a.m.).  All went straight to answering machine, my bad!

Self:  Mom, I got your messages, I will see you this afternoon, all right?

Dearest Mum:  What are you doing now?

Self:  I am writing an absolutely brilliant novel.

DM:  Really?  OK, then, don’t worry about the pills.

BWAH.  HA.  HA.  HA.  HA.

Now, let’s see if self can practice saying that line to hubby, when he returns home cross and cross-eyed from the start-up on the other side of the Bay.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

The Deaths of Colonel Aureliano Buendia’s 17 Sons

Self still lost in the dream of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. Reading prevents her from thinking over-much about Dearest Mum (a call came in from Citibank today, alleging that Dearest Mum opened an account in the branch near Daly City uncle’s home, but she neglected to give them a mailing address. When self called Dear Uncle to see if he knew anything about it, turns out he had accompanied Dearest Mum to the bank, but was extremely reluctant to say anything further: the mysteries of Dearest Mum and her tortuously complicated financial machinations drive self crazy), besides which self adores, simply adores Garcia Marquez, who seems to know everything about irony, pathos, wit:

Aureliano Serrador had left his girlfriend at his parents’ house after having taken her to the movies and was returning through the well-lighted Street of the Turks when someone in the crowd who was never identified fired a revolver shot which knocked him over into a cauldron of boiling lard. A few minutes later someone knocked at the door of the room where Aureliano Arcaya was shut up with a woman and shouted to him: “Hurry up, they’re killing your brothers.” The woman who was with him said later that Aureliano Arcaya jumped out of bed and opened the door and was greeted with the discharge of a Mauser that split his head open . . . Fernanda ran through the town like a madwoman looking for Aureliano Segundo, whom Petra Cortes had locked up in a closet, thinking that the order of extermination included all who bore the colonel’s name. She would not let him out until the fourth day, when the telegrams received from different places along the coast made it clear that the fury of the invisible enemy was directed only at the brothers marked with the crosses of ash. Amaranta fetched the ledger where she had written down the facts about her nephews and as the telegrams arrived she drew lines through the names until only that of the eldest remained. They remembered him very well because of the contrast between his dark skin and his green eyes. His name was Aureliano Amador and he was a carpenter, living in a village hidden in the foothills.

The passage goes on for quite a bit longer, but now self has to go to Walgreen’s to pick up some bilin that one of her sister-in-laws requested: several tubes of Johnson & Johnson Blister Block, a product which self is hearing about for the first time. But people in Manila are so “up” on all the latest products! When self was in San Luis Obispo with Dearest Mum, after Dearest Mum began to gently snore, self took a peek into her toiletries case (Bad daughter, bad!). There she saw a wonderful profusion of Clarins skin products. Self was so tempted to try the “anti-aging emulsifying cream,” which probably cost several hundreds of dollars, but she desisted and instead made do with her homely pot of L’Oreal “Deep Action” night cream ($16.99 from Long’s).

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

The Death of Colonel Aureliano Buendia

From Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s magnificent One Hundred Years of Solitude:

Instead of going to the chestnut tree, Colonel Aureliano Buendia also went to the street door and mingled with the bystanders who were watching the parade. He saw a woman dressed in gold sitting on the head of an elephant. He saw a sad dromedary. He saw a bear dressed like a Dutch girl keeping time to the music with a soup spoon and a pan. He saw the clowns doing cartwheels at the end of the parade and once more he saw the face of his miserable solitude when everything had passed by and there was nothing but the bright expanse of the street and the air full of flying ants with a few onlookers peering into the precipices of uncertainty. Then he went to the chestnut tree, thinking about the circus, and while he urinated he tried to keep on thinking about the circus, but he could no longer find the memory. He pulled his head in between his shoulders like a baby chick and remained motionless with his forehead against the trunk of the chestnut tree. The family did not find him until the following day at eleven o’clock in the morning when Santa Sofia de la Piedad went to throw out the garbage in back and her attention was attracted by the descending vultures.

No matter how many times self reads this passage, that pulling of the head in, so that the Colonel resembles “a baby chick,” always gets to her, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Garcia Marquez’s Santa Sofia de la Piedad

She was a virgin and she had the unlikely name of Santa Sofia de la Piedad. Pilar Ternera had paid her fifty pesos, half of her life savings, to do what she was doing. Arcadio had seen her many times working in her parents’ small food store but he had never taken a good look at her because she had that rare virtue of never existing completely except at the opportune moment. But from that day on he huddled like a cat in the warmth of her armpit.

    — from One Hundred Years of Solitude

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