Vance's CALL resources page | esl_home index
Return to Papyrus News Archive Main Page

Papyrus News
<Whoops on> Gabriel Garcia Marquez

February 13, 2001: This message was distributed by Papyrus News. Feel free to forward this message to others, preferably with this introduction. For info on Papyrus News, including how to (un)subscribe or access archives, see <>.

A couple of people have informed me that the piece by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a hoax. Garcia Marquez does have cancer, but he's not dying, and he didn't write that piece. Whoops!

For more info see....

Thanks to those of you who pointed it out to me. A good lesson: don't believe everything you read on the Internet :-). mark

Here is the original message prompting the above retraction (Vance)

Subject: Gabriel Garcia Marquez fwd

The following is truly worth the read.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez has retired from public life due to health reasons: cancer of the lymph nodes. It seems that it is getting worse. He has sent this farewell letter to his friends, which has been translated and posted on the Internet. Please read and forward to any who might enjoy it. This is possibly, sadly, one of the last gifts to humanity from a true master. This short text, written by one of the most brilliant Latin Americans in recent times, is truly moving.
If for an instant God were to forget that I am rag doll and gifted me with a piece of life, possibly I wouldn't say all that I think, but rather I would think of all that I say. I would value things, not for their worth but for what they mean. I would sleep little, dream more, understanding that for each minute we close our eyes we lose sixty seconds of light.

I would walk when others hold back, I would wake when others sleep. I would listen when others talk, and how I would enjoy a good chocolate ice cream! If God were to give me a piece of life, I would dress simply, throw myself face first into the sun, baring not only my body but also my soul. My God, if I had a heart, I would write my hate on ice, and wait for the sun to show. Over the stars I would paint with a Van Gogh dream a Benedetti poem, and a Serrat song would be the serenade I'd offer to the moon. With my tears I would water roses, to feel the pain of their thorns, and the red kiss of their petals...

My god, if I had a piece of life... I wouldn't let a single day pass without telling the people I love that I love them. I would convince each woman and each man that they are my favorites, and I would live in love with love. I would show men how very wrong they are to think that they cease to be in love when they grow old, not knowing that they grow old when they cease to be in love! To a child I shall give wings, but I shall let him learn to fly on his own. I would teach the old that death does not come with old age, but with forgetting. So much have I learned from you, oh men...

I have learned that everyone wants to live on the peak of the mountain, without knowing that real happiness is in how it is scaled. I have learned that when a newborn child squeezes for the first time with his tiny fist his father's finger, he has him trapped forever. I have learned that a man has the right to look down on another only when he has to help the other get to his feet. From you I have learned so many things, but in truth they won't be of much use, for when I keep them within this suitcase, unhappily shall I be dying.


Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez began his career as a Journalist for a series of liberal South American newspapers in the late 1940's. Although he toyed with fiction as a young man, his first true efforts were incited by the negative reviews of contemporary Latin-American writers. The result was the short story The Third Resignation. The reviews of the story were positive and the impact strong; the press heralded The Boom, a second generation of Latin-American writers. Garcia Marquez followed with a compilation of short stories (Big Mama's Funeral) and three novellas (Leaf Storm, No One Writes to the Colonel, and In Evil Hour). These dark, eerie, and sad works were influenced heavily by Franz Kafka yet they reveal the voice of an intelligent young writer preparing himself for larger things.

Larger things came to Garcia Marquez in 1967. While suffering from writer's block several years earlier, the author suddenly had a vision of his next novel -- as he has said, the first chapter was as clear as if it had already been written. The idea was to tell the story of several generations of a Colombian family as his grandmother might have told it: supernatural occurrences and unbelievable events described with unblinking sincerity. After eighteen months of seclusion, Garcia Marquez produced his masterpiece, One Hundred Years of Solitude, which has been called one of the greatest novels in history. Gabriel Garcia Marquez was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1982.

------ End of Forwarded Message

Use the navigator at the top of this page or your browser's BACK button to return to a previous page

For comments, suggestions, or further information on this site, contact Vance Stevens, webmaster. Regarding content of Papyrus-News, contact Mark Warschauer.

Last updated: February 15, 2001 in Hot Metal Pro 6.0