Friday, April 18, 2014

The Anchestor Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The man who taught me how to LOVE and READ!
A pair of glaases on a partially opened book floating above a black and gray bed

As you can see I have not been blogging for quiet some time.  I was particularly troubled yesterday as were  many others to hear the news that Nobel prize winner  Gabriel Garcia Marquez had died .  It seemed he brought fantasy and the imaginal into the reality within our mortal lives.  I think I became a romantic because of two works:

Love in Time of Cholera.  That is the book all men must read to know passion.
I am hearing so many compelling stories about Mr. Garcia Marques from people of all cultures.  My personal story and connection with the man was my challenges with reading at a very early age.  I am grateful for my father's determination and at times obsession to enforce my improvement with reading and writing.  Stated another way,  my dad drilled words into my head.  In second grade there was stress and severe trauma because of reading.  I knew something was not quite right with my reading but at that age I just knew this something was bad, shameful, and not-good-enough .  As a child who can conceptualize dyslexia, or learning disability or reading challenges? 

In first grade when I saw words such as three, there, here, their, hair, the, they, and them they were all blending together. How could I tell the difference when they looked the same and when I got confused.  And I still remember thinking "please, Mrs. Green, DON'T MAKE ME READ OUT LOUD TO THE CLASS."  So reading was not just anxious, but it became a mild type of phobia.  I had to learn to memorize or develop visual cues to identify the words.  Unknowingly I had to use right brained hemispheric areas to overcompensate for right brain tasks.  This took work, creativity and it was stress.   I had to make up songs and rhythmic patterns to memorize and learn things.  But despite these tricks I constantly became confused.  And what about was, saw, see, seem, seen, were, when, where, .  It was utterly frustrating. By high school I had become a con artist.  I made it to honors English but the work I had to do was maybe four times the work my classmates needed.  I lucked out if an assignment was due on Friday.  Because as class president in my senior year and as a varsity track, and national representative for Junior Achievement, and President representative for Boys State, and as a Boys Nation delegate, and the lead in several plays in high school  I was often out of town or out and about in the community.  So, I had admiring excused and approval to "Just turn in the assignment Monday, or tomorrow if you can."  I was a charmer.  In retrospect I was not scholastic or academically smart.  But I pretended that I was.  I just did the right things and said the right things.  To bide time.  This is fact:  My high school best friend earned a 4.0 and went to Stanford with high SAT's.  She studied but not very much. I struggled and no one knew.  We took many of the same classes and I finished high school with a 3.45 and went to a state college.  My SAT's were low.  But my excuse was that I was so busy that my father and best friends said "you should have studied more.  If you had tried you would have done better if you had wanted to."  And I was forgiven because I was going to college as an athlete, and I had the makings of a great future.  But I had done the absolute best I could and I was hiding that I sometimes could not comprehend what I was reading because I was confused.  My brain processed things visually and not "literally."

The connection with Garcia Marquez and reading for me is simple.  He changed my life. One day I saw the book '100 Years of Solitude." I picked it up and could not put it down.  that was it.  He had reached out to me in a magical and spiritual way.  Just like his writing.  Things just happen.  Why I chose his book of all books?   I was reading this book in bed until 5:00 a.m.  I think I read it in a week.  What is worth noticing is this:  In high school and in college I was struggling with reading. I took me one hour to read 15 pages or one chapter in my text books.  Garcia Marquez changed my life.  How I saw love, how I saw romance, and how I read.  He led me to Alice Walker and many others.  My early 20's as an actor blossomed and I actually started reading many of Shakespeare's works.  What I now realize is that I never thanked him in my acknowledgements for my dissertation upon completion.  The question is this:  How could I complete a dissertation and go through a Ph.D. program that was reading intensive and writing intensive?  Many might argue that there were many factors that contributed to this completed goal.  I will just say this:  Thank you Nobel prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  I will always see what you wrote.  I will smell the scents you put to paper. I will anguish over the internal stench of ripe raw reality that the ugly and beauty of life offers.  Have you ever read his 100 Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, or No One Writes to the Colonel?  Before you die you must know these stories.  Our reality is or story is our myth is or literature.  Good bye, and congratulations to your transition from elder ancestor. 

Read more about Dr. Strayhorn's practice and philosophy...

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