Gabriel García Márquez was born March 6 1927 and died April 17 2014. Márquez and Ben Okri were like gifts to a teenage me. A relief, a discovery, an inspiration. I knew after that that I wasn't stuck inside myself or the only one to see everything as fluid and whole! One of the hardest things working in an office for me was that if something went wrong in my emotional life, it completely followed me to work. If I stopped showing it on the outside it got even bigger on the inside like a tide rising or the neighbours shouting, or some fantastic things sitting next to me, you know, super conspicuously. I felt like I was transparent and everyone would or could see the THING that was making a lot of noise. I did have friends at work, and would of course mention what was up or how I felt: that X was bad and so Y and Z had also become impossible! And this person says to me, 'you really need to compartmentalise your life'. But if that works for others, it never worked for me. The usually invisible and spectacular thing I was dealing with would only evolve into a greater and more ridiculous item, and would only worsen if I dared to ignore its unspecific but real and rambling threats. Compartmentalising works if you can be blind and deaf to your own inner life, but not if it's vivid and loud and demanding. Like Márquez. I am not saying I have his talent or his vision - just that people like him, help people like me to rest assured there are other ways to live. Better ways to struggle (even if it means you are cash poor) and that it is surely better if you are as I describe, to address those conspicuous creatures that are following you around and encapsulate, compress and banish them into the genie of the page, the stage or the microphone.
Surely everyone has read 100 years of solitude?
Click on the image to see a larger version! Also this is part 2 of three. If you want a recap Part 1 is here.
Notice how Kafka recognises that when you are literally 'climbing the wall' perhaps the only things left to comfort or enlighten you are the things that others dismiss as superfluous, namely art and culture. Not just the realm of the bourjois, literature is often perceived as such so that people feel they don't have time or inclination to access to such things. But often its written to communicate the subversive, the crucial challenge, an alternative to just going through life unaware. It's always inescapably a manifestation of some particular political and social context, be it literal or metaphorical, consciously or unconsciously, in an attempt to promote or indeed criticise a world view. Kafka's metamorphosis is a 'highfalutin' classic of literature but look, I have drawn it as a comic so that you might see that the bones of some 'classic' literature is awesome: as weird and wonderful as anything. Once you dip your toe into these things, (anything) you find out it isn't what you thought but often far more interesting. This is pretty much how I got into comics I might add. I hope at least one person might read Kafka's metamorphosis after this, but I suppose I will never know. It's better than Harry Potter anyway.
shut the front door