BOOK REVIEW: Memories of my Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia – Marquez
By: Maan “Maggie” Villar, The World According to Maggie V
I just finished reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Memories of my Melancholy Whores (English translation by Edith Grossman) and typical Marquez depressed the hell out of me again just like he did with Love in the Time of Cholera and One Hundred Years of Solitude. By far, I would say that this is his best word so far, compared to the dragging descriptions and narratives of his previous great works this is short with succinct descriptions and erotic scences which is a good representation of how these things transpire in reality. It also gives us a glimpse of life as seen by a 90 year old bachelor, a 13 year old virgin prostitute and other accessory characters like the brothel owner. I was initially disgusted I expected lewdness, the commodification of sex, prostitution and pedophilia as is divulged by the title. The synopsis tells of a 90 year old man about to spend a night of making love with a 13 year old virgin prostitute – irksome and disturbing pictures ran through my head upon reading that but I could assure you that it was tastefully written and it would defy all initial deceptions you might have as the story unfolds.
It was made to make you want for more and while reading, it would make you ask if it were based on Marquez’s real-life encounters as the characterization of the 90 year old man is very close to that of the author itself. Gabriel Garcia Marquez with his romantic tongue and flare for heady descriptions and narration of even the minutest details was writing in a different light with this one. Honestly, with his two previous works, I could not wait to put the book down because it was as if the narrative was going nowhere, just pages and pages about how Fermina Daza and Florentino Ariza went about their forsaken love. Even the most discriminating bibliophiles and most respected literary critics have mixed reviews regarding the works of Marquez but this one is a good segue from his usual writing style – i.e. a segue that afforded the book a Nobel prize.
The title is apt for its bottom line, the end message, the romantic Marquez has spoken although it is not outright: we would glean that at the end of it all, we all need a love to go home to, that it would be the biggest despair in life to not have someone by your side at your death bed. Why is it called Memories of my Melancholy Whores? The protagonist invites us to his life as a journalist and as a lover of many women, how he views copulation as something that should not be for free and that it should have an equivalent monetary amount even if by coercion if his lover of the night declines (i.e. has sex with him for free) and throws the money away in a gutter. At the age of 50, after recording his affairs with these women, how it came to be and some details of how it went, he was already at number 541. He lost count after that and wrote his memoir at the age of 90 calling his lovers “melancholy whores” as they only bring temporary contentment and the rest of the time is just destitution and loneliness for the old bachelor. After a life of having no serious relationship he finally learns to love and be loved by another. Pair it with how the author places impassioned words and espanol to tell the tale and you have your Nobel Prize winning book.
By: Maan “Maggie” Villar, The World According to Maggie Villar
Friday, June 21, 2013
This is probably the last time that I would write about you and the false hopes that I still bear, I’m not certain if it is the last time and if I would hold on to the past still but I have always been a romantic, a fool, and a dreamer. See, I was watching “Silver Linings Playbook” for the second time this month, it has been raining quite hard in the city that I felt the need to stay at home and draw the blue curtains of my room down, and channel whatever life changing occurrence it was that led me to right here and right now. That scene in the movie (starts at 1:49:49) really struck a chord in me, not only because an antiquated Johnny Mathis song, “Misty”, was playing but because I related the scene so much to what happened in my life. To be more specific, to how we really ended it all. And just as a scene from a movie or real life, an imagined character and setting, a good song and beauty and the imitation of life to art or vice versa inspires me to write, right now I want to write about how we ended because no one really knew, none of my friends heard about the real story, it’s just the same tasteless answers I give them to invoke no further questioning or I divert to another topic that would take the better of their interest.
That scene in Silver Linings would take a spot in my most favorite movie scenes, probably outmaneuvering that one in 27 Dresses when Katherine Heigl dances with her beau under the stars on that yacht while “Like a Star” (Performed by: Corinn Bailey Rae) was playing on the background or that scene in Notting Hill inside the movie theatre right after Hugh Grant finds that Julia Roberts is with another man in the hotel and that old lonely song plays as he watches a movie starring her muse. The understated allusions to love they are and how no matter the differences it has with your own story, you still find parallelisms.
How it happened was a celebration of victory, Tiffany and Pat celebrating a 5.0 they won at a sport-dancing competition they joined and a parlay between Pat’s father and a friend. Everyone was ecstatic, Tiff jumps up to Pat, probably about to give him a kiss and you can feel Tiff’s longing, how she wanted to lock life to that scene just holding Pat and everyone close to them, family and friends around them in a circle all smiles and happy, victorious. And then Pat finds his wife (who cheated on him with a co-worker and gave him the necessary trauma to render time in a mental institution and a restraining order), and everything around him probably dissipated into a blur and he walked up to her and Tiff just looks on with so much sadness in her eyes. Tiff then runs away in her black trench coat and puts on a shoe on the streets, she runs away, just runs away.
I’ll stop the scene on that scene in the streets with Tiffany running away because I believe only in realized dreams but not in romantic happy endings anymore, similar to how the movie ended. Maybe, since this is the last time, it’s about time that I stop explaining myself and time that you understand why Woody Allen compartmentalizes my views on love in the movies he has written and why that scene in Silver Linings is something I can relate to so much. It’s up to you what silver lining we could glean from how we ended.
On my own
Would I wander through this wonderland alone
Never knowing my right foot from my left
My hat from my glove
I’m too misty and too much in love
(repeat after music interlude)
Look at me
I have become more of a reader…
I’m more of the slow reader,
I want to feel the gravity of the words,
the emotion it invokes,
observe the creativity of its syntax,
and realize the impact it has on the world…
But my pace has taken a presto over an adagio,
Even the heavier books on philosophy and the sciences,
I have read with much gusto and a on a faster pace…
what I have read would give me inspiration to write,
more themes to build on,
a steady foundation…
But now I just read and absorbed,
thought about the things I read about a bit but not really do anything about it…
I feel like my creative juices are trapped in a dull and dark room, with a locked door and a hooded guard has went to render his duty, passing off the skeleton key to the next one in charge of making sure I keep quiet, that I attempt no escape. The guards are just outside and I’m left to my wandering thoughts and it is as though I am not trapped in this dull and dark room with a flickering light bulb and mosquitos, it is as if I’m running about in a wide and green field bathed gold by the morning sun but I cannot do anything about it but only “think” it.
I never believed in “writer’s block” as many would whine about it, loathe it and complain about it. I’ve always heard of it and held on to my belief that man is bestowed with unlimited opportunities for creativity and the freedom and license to use it in whatever way he pleases.
But there is a “trauma” that a poet, a writer, a painter, a troubadour, an actor and anyone involved in the arts and the sciences that would cause in him to fall into that dent, a pit or the black hole he would fall into and feel through the darkness.
It would feel like all hope and beauty is lost and there is nothing more to write about, sing about and paint.
Until that miracle comes again and brings the creative mind out of the dent, the invisible hand, a big eagle taking you out with its big claws, the knight in shining armor throwing you a rope to climb out of and giving you the kiss that seals it all, or maybe an unidentified flying object who would use its gamma rays to teleport you to its nest. Until then would you be able to write again of sunsets, a new day and the deep violet night sky.
I found a good definition of WRITER’S BLOCK while surfing the Web for pictures to place on this article and tips as to how to overcome the limbo it is:
Wow, I found this on Thought Catalog. The gal has a great taste in music and we have exactly the same habit, “The Walk of Shame” and “Henny Penny” which I hate and I’m tired of. Nice read.
My dating life is, in a word, terrible. I seem incapable of finding 1) anyone I have a true connection with and 2) decent, stable individuals. By decent, stable individuals I mean those who don’t try to sleep with my best friend or invite me to have a threesome with another guy they met before me and who they purport to like just as much as me. Not that there is anything wrong with a threesome, it’s just that it’s not the sort of relationship-building activity I find particularly fulfilling. When was the last time any monogamous relationship started off with a threesome? At any rate, in the efforts of “giving things a shot” and trying to “break out of my heteronomative-obsessed box,” I go along with things that eventually lead to me walking home, late at night or early in the morning and feeling like Henny Penny.
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I write this as I drop by the Family Mart tucked between the humongous concrete slabs of buildings in 6750 and order a hot cup of coffee and vanilla ice cream…
Vanilla ice cream reminds me a lot of you,
not because you like it, or not because you’re sweet…
It’s because our relationship is like vanilla ice cream,
and became just vanilla mess.
I write this on a tissue paper I used to wipe the vanilla mess on the table and on my lips, it’s raining outside and my head is buzzing from too many vodka shots, am I even making sense now? Maybe not because I can’t make sense of the whole thing we have had. Because of you my writing is a mess, my academic life is defined (now) by my writing and you F it up.
Even my writing is a sticky white vanilla mess.
Over coffee with C, she asked me how I was doing with Mr. Man. I was not really in the position to answer, I felt like I reverted into a zombie, my brain is – – – . I’ve been zoning out of my conversations recently. I perturbed by this preconceived reality. I didn’t really have an apt answer to that question, so I just said that “I don’t know”…
But the truth is that I knew. And he knew it too. We knew right from the start.
How are we doing?
We haven’t seen each other for days, have not texted or called. The end of communication could mean the end of the whole affair and as much as I am tempted to send Mr. Man that text message. It was that one phone call we had that ended it all, we knew, we just knew that was the signal. We were both busy bees, ambitious and workaholic, whenever there was a window in our schedules, we made sure we spent it together even when it meant just hiding under the blanket playing newly downloaded games or those 15-minute lunches with the perfunctory kiss before riding the cab back to our respective offices.
We were really sweet, compatible and perfect for each other. He’s an adonis, I never tire of the sight of him and it never fails to make me lose my breath when I spot him in a crowd of people or when he swoops by. He was the my man version in every way, and losing him now, meant that I was losing a part of myself.
But it was never meant to be even while it was. To me, polygamy and non-commital relationships were MEANS TO AN END, but to him it was HIS END. I was saw the world in rose colored spectacles, I am a romantic despite harping on about the sad realities and cynicisms about love and life in general. He on the other hand was far from a romantic, but he could do the most romantic things because he seeks to please and he knows that I want to be pleased. A big difference in our perspectives that would never coalesce. Our relationship rested on the foundation of our companionship and similarities but it is infected with the cancer of our differences, with our foreseen end.
I was not really ready for this. I felt less lonely with the thought that I had Mr. Man, he was near perfect for my needs and I always had someone to tell how my day went, a sponge for all my frustrations, my happy thoughts and someone who’s always up for a night of great conversation and laughter. But I always held on to the thought that if it were love that we felt, we would not be wasting time and we would have brought things to the next level without inhibitions…
It would be foolish if I keep on holding on to a pipe dream, I’d rather the humdrum of a lone romantic life and be hopelessly romantic again. Just flurry my schedule with the things I want to do and learn, chase after my dreams rather than waste my time on something that should have been curtailed a long time ago. I don’t want the songs we love and sing to become discordant hymns when I listen to them, I would rather keep them in pristine condition by avoiding that point where you break that heart and make them songs I would associate to negative emotions.
I’ll trade my lacy bras for a sports bra, cocktails for energy drinks, ravioli for vegetable salad and the time I used to spend with you to get a fitter body, mind and heart.
Operation Hotness – C laughs at the pun I’m using for this phase but it is the sweetest form of revenge to be a leap ahead somewhat and have my attention be placed on better and more productive things that would benefit me in the end.
SAD CHRISTMAS SONGS IN THE MIDDLE OF JUNE
By: Maan “Maggie” Villar
You can tell how sad I am – I was listening to sad christmas songs on a cab ride to the office as the Manila skyline passed by me in the middle of June. It was dawn, the sun was just about to rise and I was there on my headphones, listening to “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Luther Vandross. Sad christmas songs in the middle of June, ain’t that sad? Sad yet romantic, but you could tell I was in a limbo, an all-time low. It was my choices anyway that made me come up to this state of being, I cannot really put it in words. In this state of melancholic delirium do I notice the small things in life that could truly make my day a little bit brighter, that life is not all drama and tragedy:
So yeah, I know I started this post on a sad note, maybe I’m not really sad because I’m not really the emo / feeler kinda gal. Maybe I like listening to those sad chrismas songs in the middle of June just so I could be grateful for the small and happy events happening in my life and for the shallow reason that I like L.V. (Ok, screw it, Luther Vandross) and I like slow jams and lots of saxo-action in the songs I listen to. LOL. Besides, I’ll have my self a merry little christmas this christmas. =P
I always liked June. June is the month that signals more work and a busier schedule for workaholics like myself. When I was younger, June meant new shoes, new bags, new notebooks, new books, new pencils and the smell of new plastic pencil box. Summer has officialy ended and the time has come again to get serious. I say a temporary farewell to my random trips to Baguio, Laguna, and other places here and there. I needed the whole summer to get away from it all, I felt like my head was exploding, overwhelmed of all life plans and deliverables that I have to meet before the year ends. I needed a vacay big time, so I got myself one even if it’s not a glamorous trip to the beaches of Bali or Phuket.
Here are a few highlights of summer 2013, just some vague updates about my life: