Let me start by saying that the title to this post is a bit misleading. I wasn’t on vacation. Far from it. But I was on break from school, which is about to gear back up in the next couple of weeks.

I took this break from packets and readings to do more reading and writing and reflecting. Ironic, isn’t it, that the thing that stress me the most is the thing I want to do the most during some much needed downtime.

I reflected on two authors: Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende – the masters of what some call magical realism or what I call, how we learned to tell stories. (That’s another post for another day.)

I downloaded Gerald Martin’ biography of Garcia Marquez on my Nook and was so surprised at the insight of this master. Gabo’s rise to literary domination was no accident. He was guided there by experiences and situations that shaped him and his art.

What also surprised me were the similarities of our lives.  I’m not saying I’m in anyway like Garcia Marquez but knowing that we were both born with our umbilical  cords around our necks gives me an strange peace. Our birthdays are exactly a month a part and both our lives are anchored by a strong male presence that somehow creeps into our art.  In fact, his art, like most art, is autobiographical and this fact gives me the most peace. Yet, it also excites me. It tells me that I’m not strange or odd for wanting this writing life for myself (though some days I think it’d be easier to just not create).  It also tells me that I’m not alone. He’s been where I’ve been. If I just keep on going, I’ll find my own way and blaze my own trail.

Allende spoke to the art of sitting down to the freedom of writing. Re-reading The House of the Spirits reminded me of the joy of creating of telling a story worth telling.  Allende taught me that although characters can do evil they are still worthy of space on the page. To write what’s difficult is to birth good art. After all, like she says, “fiction comes from the womb.”

I can see all the reading and reflecting in my thesis pages, the influence of Garcia Marquez and Allende pulsing through and giving it life. It’s exciting and yet, it still sounds and behaves like me.

So what did I do over my vacation time from school? I worked. Hard. And I loved every minute of it.