Strict message was sent with a personal friend, after a week of fruitless letters :
'Tell him , if he is a real journalist , he'll know what to do .
From half past nine , rookie reporter waited patiently sitting on a sofa in the lobby of the Hotel Mark . The voice on the phone in the room had told him : " He left early . You know who keeps the entertainment in entertainment . " But something told him it was there, in his room, quietly reading the Colombian newspapers , a man with whiskers just reach Mexican charro .
At half past eleven Nobel Prize veteran left the elevator and walked to the door of the hotel without looking at the sides and with the rapid pace of not wanting to be discovered . It was warm with a sack of black cashmere , and below , a sports sweater that showed off the neck of a white shirt with black stripes. A tiny round dark - lens - mount old hid their little eyes of black olive . The dress and glasses unexpected generated a perfect contrast to the celebrated head of curls heather and milk mustaches . At the edge of the door stopped. Finally , after all : there was García Márquez. It was the first day of a glowing autumn and in the streets of New York that he was cold to the bone . Rookie reporter said :
Sir García Márquez. Nice to meet you . I'm looking for an interview .
- What I want to do an interview? In Latin America there is a vicious magnification of the interview. They believe that all journalism is reduced to the interview. They do not understand that the interview makes sense only when the interviewee has something to say . And I have nothing to say. Better not waste your time looking for me, 'said the sight of the huge silver limousine carrying him across the Big Apple .
Controlling your state of nerves , rookie reporter dared to answer :
- You know what the mission of an interviewer.
- I have never written an interview in my life. You can search all that I have written and , if you find one of my interview, bring it to me that I buy . When I worked as a reporter was going to places, watching his people very well , took some notes in a notebook and write everything back , recreating the memory situation . We 'll have to invite him to the workshops of the School of Journalism to learn some things about the job .
But publishers ...
- The editors said raising his index finger skyward send them to hell.
- What the fuck ? How?
- Well away , fuck . You do not have to do what they want publishers. - He then looked at his wrist García Márquez and realized he had forgotten his watch in the room. Look , it's late . I have an appointment at eleven thirty and forgot my watch for trouble . Do you know the meaning of the word busy? I am a busy person and I like least is that I put in a position to say no. I hate that force me to say no.
All this said sententiously , as he took the cub reporter by the arm and walked to the limo.
But you do have things to say. Last week he met with President Clinton. And the problem of desertification of Colombia in the drug case ...
- My watch ... I'll be late . Let's do something, wait for me here at the hotel . When you return, talk fifteen minutes. I do not know why you do not understand that one is a busy person hear - hit rookie journalist , while García Márquez 's face disappeared behind the dark glass of the limo. Before starting , the driver ( the same man with mustache Mexican charro had done two hours before you get to the room daily day 1451 ) out of the car with a message: " The master kicks García Márquez tell him not to go " .
THE JOY OF Gabo
Rookie journalist returned to the same couch where he had been since nine -thirty. The hotel lobby looked like the back of a port market , where employees and tourists passed from one language to another in their overlapping monologues : French to English , Spanish to Arabic German to a dialect of India. After four hours, the hotel concierge , an Argentine with multilingual skills , dared to express solidarity rookie reporter, " Do not worry , be patient immortals are made to wait."
It was one o'clock when the limo was stopped again at the gates of the hotel. Almost simultaneously came out of one of the Mercedes Barcha lifts, the wise wife provided perhaps the most famous characters in the life of García Márquez. He walked with the same desire for invisibility of her husband, but with even faster pace. In a second disappeared swallowed by one of the gates of the large white whale wheels. A moment later García Márquez, shoes at the wrist watch he had forgotten in his room, and said :
- Wear distressed two hours thinking that you are here waiting for me. I had to stay longer on the site where it was and now I'm coming out to lunch. Come four o'clock and talk fifteen minutes. Just fifteen minutes because I have to fly out to the airport. But know that this is not the thing. This is not journalism . The interview is not this. The best interview I've ever read in my life was the one that tried to make Frank Sinatra Gay Talese . Want to tell ?
- Please .
- Gay Talese Sinatra quoted in a hotel in Las Vegas. When Talese arrived, Sinatra could not think of anything better than getting sick. For one week was Gay Talese trying to interview Sinatra and Sinatra for a week after meeting canceled meeting . That's Talese interview : the story of how he could not interview him during that week . It's the best interview I 've read. Do you know her name? " The flu Sinatra " .
Now is 3.55. The rookie journalist is sitting on the same couch at first . Have you checked a thousand times the list of questions . He has checked the operation of the recorder. Definitely feel ready , if a little physically and mentally exhausted by the hours of waiting . García Márquez and his wife burst into the hotel. Before boarding the elevator, Mercedes recalls her husband : " Gabo , do not delay , remember that we are waiting above." García Márquez takes a seat and looks at his watch again .
Well, what are we going to talk ?
- One second. I'll turn on the recorder .
-Oh , no, no recorders ! The recorder is to blame for many of the problems and deviations of actual journalism. If you want to take notes. But please , keep the recorder. What is the first question.
- Two years of this century , how do you see the situation in Latin America? Poverty , drugs , violence, corruption ... we will remain a dead end dreams ?
- Yes . We will remain a dead end dreams . So it will be .
- Did you really say ?
- What can I say ? To answer that question it takes so many hours that the product of the conversation would be enough to fill a four-volume encyclopedia . Next question .
- For some years journalism education has been a central interest in their intellectual work . Why are you worried about journalism? What is the role assigned to him in the present and in the future of Latin America?
- Every day we forget over ethics. Journalism schools teach everything that has to do with journalism , less the trade. The report , which is the genre I love, has degenerated to the interview. The story is the reconstruction of an event as it happened in detail . And that's increasingly rare in journalism : there are fewer reports and reporters in Latin America .
But good stories are published in all countries of Latin America, and in addition , there are also reports excellent specialists .
- Name me one .
- Without going further into Colombia are German Castro Caicedo and Mauricio Vargas. And here's Alma Guillermoprieto ...
Ah, but you're making me cheat. I is naming the good , and that is not the rule but the exception.
But the problem of journalism is not the sole responsibility of journalists and schools, but also a contemporary conception of the media .
- Newspapers have prioritized the material and industrial equipment but have very little invested in the training of journalists. The quality of the news you missed because of competition , speed and the magnification of the scoop . Sometimes we forget that the best news is that given first , but it does best . In other cases, asking the journalist to write a story and then comes an advertising and reportage is reduced to a column. What I believe is that we should return to the old way of the trade. That's what we try to get them into his head to go to Cartagena journalists . We track many journalists to speak to the youth from his direct experience in the media. Ethics and the profession are the main ingredients .
In reading their stories collected in coastal Texts surprised how naturally assumed the craft of journalism . The review talks a lot about what were your literary influences but little or nothing of his journalistic influence.
'It's very simple. The report was to me a literary genre . I came to journalism vocation and skills as a writer. What I did was to apply the same techniques to journalism literature . There is no other secret than that. Are you taking notes?
'I 'm recording ... With the mind , not the recorder , do not worry .
García Márquez does not answer, but looking at his watch , and rookie journalist is quick to move on to the next question.
- This year is the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of his first story , thirty Hundred Years of Solitude , fifteen Nobel . Have you ever stopped to think for a moment what this means ? In his years at La Cueva de Barranquilla, ever recorded were all in the palm of your hand suspected ?
- I had nothing engraved on the palm of my hand. I knew how and what I wanted to do , and I did against all odds . I wanted to tell real or fictional stories and always knew. I've never made a dime without the typewriter . Never let myself be seduced by something that was not what I wanted to do : tell stories in journalism , literature and cinema. What fame, book sales and the money came after I made many reports that nobody read and wrote some books that nobody bought . I've been happy , and the secret of happiness was always just do what I like to do: tell stories.
- You, who is the mediator between Washington and Havana, how do you see at this time bilateral relations ? Is it possible to lock a cease before 2000 , something like a clean slate ?
'That seems to me a alegrona statement .
- What ?
- That I am the mediator between Cuba and the United States.
But you have had several meetings with President Clinton and is also close and personal friend of Fidel Castro. If I'm not mistaken , he has been very active in getting return of the Panama Canal from the United States. And some years ago stepped in to solve the crisis of the Cuban rafters ...
'I've never been a mediator. That word is incorrect.
- At least it has been an observer ...
Observer - yes, but not a mediator.
- As an observer , do you think it is possible to consider ending the embargo ?
I do not know . All I know is that this is an unjust law without blocking . It has nearly forty years and has not served them all. The U.S. blockade on Cuba is a big failure. Longtime . Cuba wants to knock down , but no sign of the other side. From the day you finish the blockade, the situation of the two countries will flow instantly. Of that I am sure .
They say there are two kinds of writers : those for whom literature is a wife and those for whom it is a lover. On which side you place yourself ?
- Who says that?
- I told Carmen Balcells said , his editor .
- Wrong, Carmen Balcells is not my editor, my agent is .
- Excuse me, his literary agent . But which side would be located ?
- The best wives are always the great lovers. Literature is my wife, my lover, my aunt, my daughter and my grandmother.
- If I were to tell a story of love right now , what would it be ?
- I already told you.
- Love in the Time of Cholera , of course. But if I were to tell at this point ...
- The same count . Only this time , instead of narrating his life to seventy years, to narrate the nineties.
- Every writer has a history that has always wanted to write and maybe never write . In your case, what's the story?
-Me ideas arise all the time . But do not take notes, take notes because if I pay them more attention to the notes to the story. Many of the ideas are , others are still reelin . Those who resist this test is that I write. The story , when it's good, it imposes itself .
- And what do you love right now?
- Same as fifteen or eighteen : the most wonderful thing on earth.
- You no longer have fifteen or eighteen . Do you changed the time his ideal of love ?
- Do not think there is much difference . As a friend of mine, who is eighty years old says: the infant mortality rate is very high, while longevity rates are growing every day . Love moves with the same force at any age.
- It's true. Are you still in love ? Have you fallen in love ?
And what if I told you that it belongs to my private life. Or are you a paparazzo ?
-I've been waiting in the same chair in the lobby of this hotel eight hours , and with your permission !
- Do not be a paparazzo those looking behind the lives of people for ... ? García - Márquez continued , ignoring the rookie journalist , and unraveling the air with his fingers , as if his hand were swimming in an imaginary pool.
- No, I am not paparazzo . I am a student and journalist. What makes the moment just before sitting down to write ?
'I've made a routine. I wake up at five in the morning. Leo in bed between five and seven. At seven o'clock I get up, I shower and eat breakfast . After seen me as a bank clerk who goes to the office , and I sit down to write . I write always dressed , never in pajamas. I just feel , I review what I did yesterday and I continue to write what I was doing . Because at the end of the day before and knew where to go . It is a routine that I meet every day , no matter where you are, it does not suffer from the dread locks or blank page . And there is always much work .
- So what is your biggest problem when writing ?
The biggest problem is knowing when you are lying to yourself. Because when you lie to yourself you lie to the reader, and lying is something that the reader never forgives .
- It has been discovered lying to himself ?
- Every day . Sometimes I 'm writing and I stop and say to myself , "Hmm , this way is not the sheath. This does not sound " . Then I go back and start again. Be careful , because lying to oneself is the most dangerous thing for a writer.
- Are you still wondering every morning in the mirror who and what their place in the world?
- I have never asked who I am, because I've always known . I am the son of the telegrapher Aracataca. By the way, where did that?
- I read it in a chronicle of Fernando Quiroz routines featuring Gabriel García Márquez.
- Never in my life have I faced the mirror something different than they do other people . What happens is that Fernando has a lot of imagination and of course , the right to use it.
- Between Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor and News of a Kidnapping there are forty years away. How do you judge the veteran writer Gabriel García Márquez rookie , happy and undocumented reporter who collected the testimony of the survivors?
I do not understand .
- Do you think the cub reporter who wrote Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor could have written News of a Kidnapping ?
Yes, but it would have taken three years of absolute dedication it took me News of a Kidnapping . Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor was written in the same fourteenth day that lasted the wreck . Interviewing the castaway in the morning and during the day he wrote articles and editorials . He was a barbarian pressure. In News of a Kidnapping had all the time in the world to investigate and verify the data . My friend Antonio Caballero says the book is a story at all , except for one thing: the lack of pressure closure that defines the report as a genre . If I had to write today Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor , I just write . And I also believe that if the young man who wrote it had time and money, you could have to write News of a Kidnapping .
But one journalist without the fame and prestige of the fact that you enjoy today would not have access to power in the same way you did .
- Not really. Journalists have always had the power to come to power . True, it was easier before today to talk to a president. Of course, many of the Presidents you have to talk are younger than me . That definitely gives me an advantage in reaching them.
- What is the line between journalism literature?
- The reality is the limit. Literature is , to use an expression of our time , virtual reality . But we must be credible in the two fields. The difference is that in journalism also have to be true to the facts .
'I ask myself that question because there is a text that appears in his book as chronic and other like story.
- What text?
- It's called " horror tale for eve " and recounts his visit and his family to a house of Miguel Otero Silva, located in Tuscany. The castle was inhabited by ghosts. If I remember correctly, you had who had slept in a room on the ground floor but the next morning he woke up with his wife on the second floor and in the same bed where the former owner of the castle had killed his lover. This story appears in Strange Pilgrims story as chronicled in Press Releases: 1980-1984 .
-Ah , but that's not journalism ! Are press releases ... and not just the story , but the whole book is full of ghosts. In addition , I will confess something , I count everything happened really there . It is a pity he is not here Miguel Otero Silva to verify.
- By the way , what are you currently writing ?
- I am writing three short stories. Well, not so short : about 200 pages each. These are stories I wanted to write before News of a Kidnapping . They were in the queue , but only now I've been able to get into them head on. But do not worry about writing this : it is not a first. It was published worldwide and in all languages .
- What do they cover ?
- They are love stories between people with large age differences.
- A pretty young woman with a very old man ?
- An older woman with a young man.
- Could you tell something more ?
I can not because I empavan me .
- Is not it true that one of these stories is the story of a woman who every year goes to an island in a cemetery to visit the remains of his mother, and that such travel is cheating on her husband with a different man every time?
-How did you know that !
- You yourself told him to an audience of students at Georgetown University in Washington.
Ah, yes ... But what I told it has nothing to do with the final outcome of the story . I actually told a different thing I'm writing . That is a technique I have to prove the stories , allowing me to see the reactions of the people, know what they are thinking , how they feel an argument , if you tell them the hypnotizing .
- Write double, then?
- Alvaro Mutis , who always reads before anyone else what I write , sometimes tells me when he took the final version of a text: " Ah , but you do that you bastard ; this was not what you told me . "
- There is a film about two lovers who meet once a year on an island, secretly , to love . Lovers are Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine , the movie is called The next year at the same time .
- The actors are Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn and no island. You see, I know the movie. But these days we know that originality is not important, but the way to tell the story. Antigone and Prometheus ... Every century rewrite the great myths of ancient Greece because they are immortal stories.
- I go back to the first question of this report : two years of this century , how do you see the situation in Latin America?
- The only thing that interests me is that Latin America go forward and not backwards. We are in search of happiness. But please do not do not put political theory because while no one believes in it, and these days no one knows what to and what not to do . The only certainty is that Latin Americans are looking for a happy society .
- One more question . What is it that writers, despite all the debacles , continue to meet the prestige and authority that politicians and other leaders of society have lost?
- A good writer , a good artist , manages to perpetuate when fully identifies with certain reality , when a character of its place and time ...
- " I am myself and my circumstance " as Ortega y Gasset said ...
- That what you say , not me. You are interpreting what I say. I did not cite that example.
- Who would cite ?
- Dante , Cervantes and Juan Rulfo. I are waiting upstairs in a while García Márquez said looking at the clock for the last time .
- One more question .
- Makes a question you said " one more question " , and with it 's two. Remember, the hardest part of an interview is not knowing where to start it but where finish .
- How do you see yourself now?
- More friendly and better looking than ever.
It seemed a funny ending, but had both a solemn . The two characters rose from their seats and shook hands in farewell . It was 4 pm and 40 : fifteen minutes they had established tripled . A little confused , rookie journalist returned to his seat to put things in place while García Márquez infinite seconds remained standing with his hands in the pockets of his black cashmere coat , as if expecting an invisible elevator. Not watching , but neither were hesitant to move. Finally , García Márquez returned to reach out