“What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.” That’s Gabriel García Márquez born in Aracataca, Colombia in1927.
He grew up with his maternal grandparents. His grandfather was a colonel, a military hero of Colombia’s Thousand Days War, and his grandmother was a wonderful storyteller. His grandfather told him stories of the revolution, and his grandmother told stories of ghosts, curses, and magic.
García Márquez studied law at university. During his first year, he read The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. He was so impressed by it that at 8 o’clock the next morning he began reading all the classic literature he could get his hands on, and eventually dropped out of school to work as a journalist, while writing stories on the side.
Just before his 23rd birthday, he traveled back to Aracataca with his mother to help her sell his grandparents’ house, and he was inspired by Aracataca to create a fictional town named Macondo, which would become the setting of his epic novel One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967).
In 1985, Márquez published Love in the Time of Cholera, the love story of Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza.
Márquez said: “People spend a lifetime thinking about how they would really like to live … I wish my life could have been like the years when I was writing Love in the Time of Cholera. I would get up at 5:30 or 6 in the morning. I need only six hours of sleep.
Then I quickly listened to the news. I would read from 6 to 8, because if I don’t read at that time I won’t get around to it anymore. I lose my rhythm. Someone would arrive at the house with fresh fish or lobster or shrimp caught nearby.
Then I would write from 8 till 1. By midday, Mercedes would go to the beach and wait for me with friends. I never quite knew who to expect; there were always people coming and going. After lunch I had a little siesta.
And when the sun started going down I would go out on the street to look for places where my characters would go, to talk to people and pick up language and atmosphere. So the next morning I would have fresh material I had brought from the streets.”
Márquez’s novels and novellas include The Autumn of the Patriarch (1975), Chronicle of a Death Foretold (1981), and Memories of My Melancholy Whores (2004). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982.