I went upstairs to visit our first edition of Gabriel Garcia Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. Happy birthday, sir.
Back when I used to work at Harper I visited often. This was from a little over two years ago.
Mary told me while I was shuffling through a file cabinet on another floor. We’re moving soon, see, and all of the files crammed into cabinets lining our hallways need to be sorted, claimed, and possibly archived. I was thumbing through press clips from Charles Bukowski and John Fante’s books, newsprint that someone had cut out and pasted onto copy paper, now brittle and floating free of the dried-up adhesive. Her voice was tight.
This is an imprint, the news about his illness had hit weeks ago, we knew this was coming. But it still hurts. You can never be prepared for this kind of thing, and you’ll end up crying over all that we have left: their words, their history. I closed the drawer on Bukowski and Fante and rested my forehead on the cool metal. The world had just become a little…less.
In the flurry of the news a demand will surge. People will share their stories, how Gabo’s beautiful words touched their hearts and changed their lives. Some will scurry to find out more about this author they just heard about and others will grasp into this new void for all that they have left, adding to private collections or pressing old favorites into the hands of friends. It’s funny how we have to do business, take a moment for ourselves but then focus on getting books out the door. The world is in mourning and this is what they need.
It’ll hit us later, after we’ve finished filing and closed out of our inboxes. We’ll become overwhelmed with sadness and yearning and a little bit of hatred toward whoever/whatever did this, took him from us. But then we’ll be able to turn to his books.
We’ll be able to feel the magic again.