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the importance of being earnest


I swore up and down the page as I sauntered back and forth between Vivir para contarla and Living to Tell the Tale.

I had begun reading both editions of Gabriel García Márquez’s autobiography in Spring, and it has been an on-and-off fling since then. Although I would in an earnest assessment consider myself conversationally fluid, but not fluent, in Spanish, apparently it is not sufficient when it comes to the immediate comprehension and articulation (for I like reading aloud) of a Nobel laureate’s poetic prose.

Between the undulating stream flowing back and forth between passages, the appointment of new words into my notebook, timid sips of coffee, and the scrawl of thoughts drawn out by this arduous exercise, I have been unsteadily reading at a discouraging pace of two pages an hour.

And since I usually only give myself half-an-hour to focus on this particular work from 4:30 to 5:00 in the morning, for what has only been every once in a while for the last six months, I am barely at pagina 17 and page twenty respectively.

But despite my compulsion to take the Lord’s name in vain, I am immensely pleased to take on this insane assignment. For it has not only been a pleasant linguistic challenge, but I am learning and being inspired by practically every sentence my tongue trips over and every new word that is impressed anew.

Ultimately, I do believe that that token and true frustration stems from the sensation that progress is moving as languidly as the slow train across the countryside that Márquez describes with exquisite detail in the opening of his memoirs. And admittedly, the incongruence between what I thought I knew and that which the book clearly reveals I don’t—also irks me as well.

However, albeit slowly, I am coming to terms with this, and prospering as I realize and earnestly accept this—my ignorance, mi estupidez.

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