Gabriel García Márquez was a life long journalist, and for decades he practiced the discipline of writing a weekly newspaper column every Friday. Several of his journalistic works (including but not limited to that column) are collected in The Scandal of the Century, a book that proves that García Márquez, a man who was witness to many ostensibly exciting events, found mystery and beauty in even some of his more quotidian moments. His essays argue for the road-side ghosts of Europe, and wallow in the dilemma of not finding a worthy writing topic. Reading this collection offers a reader the opportunity to approach their own existence with an inquisitive and mysterious gaze.
I think about him now as I face the blank screen of my laptop. It is Sunday and I have committed myself to publishing a blog post on this day, every week, come what may. It is a discipline that I feel is needed in my unstructured writing life. But what to write about? The rushing rains of Hurricane Ida? I watched them wash down the hill I live on, making white water around the tires of parked cars. In the morning, I learned that these waters destroyed homes and lives in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Or I could write about the walks I take with my daughter through Green-Wood cemetery. The acres of green in the heart of Brooklyn that we have to ourselves, the small black flies that rush up from the grass to swarm our faces in the August heat. The tombs of notable figures, Steinway and Basquiat, along with our own Brooklyn ancestors.
What about my internal life, so mysterious. The decades of separation and aversion I’ve practiced towards my own body. How would García Márquez, a man, my hero, convey such realities, such absurdities?
My life is repetitive and spectacular. I want to boil it down and serve it to you, clarified and unexpected.