Friday, December 01, 2006

An Embellished Memoir

I have been reading 'Living to Tell the Tale', the memoir of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. At each syllable I am filled with a sense of awe, wonder and trepidation. Marquez is and will always be a celebrated writer. His books tell stories of enchantment and wonder, narrated with an uncanny tenderness. Never have I felt deprived for not having learnt Spanish. Hence the awe and wonder.

As for trepidation ; I am intimidated and almost anguished by the fact that neither I nor anyone from my generation will leave a legacy worth writing about. I don't mean to sound apocalyptic but here's the hard hitting truth, I grew up in a mangled mass of concrete. My life involved drifting (and sometimes pirouetting) from one state of isolation to another. Concrete structures make no sense. They have enough power to engulf the consciousness of an entire city and at the same time, stand vulnerable to the isolation of their inhabitants. I cannot write of colours, hues and other natural phenomena. I cannot recount strange conversations with enigmatic folks with self-proclaimed psychic powers. An entire manuscript on the silent afflictions of the narcissistic seems so overly redundant, especially for the subject of a memoir.

My sole weapon seems to be that of embellishment, the new age mantra of the new age writer. Despite that, how does an embellished memoir measure up to one that is veracious, truthful and profoundly compelling? As well as banal, stereotypical fiction does, I suppose!

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