Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Gabriel García Márquez: “Who Taught Me to Write?”

Beloved Colombian writer and Nobel laureate, Gabriel García Márquez, did not take a straight line to become one of the world’s most respected novelists. The author of Love in the Time of Cholera, One Hundred Years of Solitude and others started as a newspaper reporter in the late 1940s and into the 50s.

Márquez honed his craft, working his job every day, “Then, when everyone had gone home for the day, he would stay in the newsroom and write his fiction,” says Writer’s Almanac on the occasion of Márquez’s 86th birthday. “He said, ‘I liked the noise of the Linotype machines, which sounded like rain. If they stopped, and I was left in silence, I wouldn’t be able to work.’”

He learned to write short stories first from Kafka, and later from the American Lost Generation. He said that the first line of Kafka’s Metamorphosis “almost knocked [him] off the bed,” he was so surprised. In one interview, he quoted the first line (“As Gregor Samsa awoke that morning from uneasy drams, he found himself transformed into a gigantic insect”) and told the interviewer, “When I read the line, I thought to myself that I didn’t know anyone was allowed to write things like that. If I had known, I would have started writing a long time ago. So I immediately started writing short stories.”

See today’s Writer’s Almanac here.



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