Friday, March 26, 2010

Columbia gem of the ocean and Amelia Earhart

Returning to visit my former alma mater, I find that it's a sunny day for once. The former library is not quite as I remembered, grander inside, with one full room for lectures. Funny that I would set my novel here since I don't have the fondest memories of my time spent at Columbia. Then again I was a writing student, and writers are notoriously competitive. I was also older than most of my counterparts, all of us vying for the prize of being most talented and first published. I lost out on that one, but then again,many of those I went to school with have come and gone and gone somewhere else, hopefully happier than they were.
I keep writing, and publishing as best I can, and writing some more. But I feel like I probably started this novel then, so many years ago. I wanted to create a world where the dead and living could coexist and hey I'm not Garcia Marquez but I did have aspirations. First it was my grandmother, then it was Darwin, but now it's Amelia.
I looked up at the top of this building yesterday and thought of all those odd connections one makes with one's characters and how she wasn't a character at all, she was an amazingly vibrant and courageous person. The idea that she went up to the top of that building, that she found her way up there and watched the stars, it's just wonderful to imagine, no writer could have come up with it. But I use it. Boy do I use it.
So dear reader, if you are out there, here is a photo of how it looks now, better I think when Amelia dug her heels in and sat, or brought friends up at night to chart the constellations.


  1. I love the idea of the dead and living coexisting! It's one of those themes that's eternally appealing, because what comes after will always be a mystery, after all, and the dead do live on in our minds.

  2. Yes they do, thanks Cindy. I hope to do justice in this case.

  3. I've wanted to read One Hundred Years of Solitude for ages but never have- would you recommend this book? Today we found our young pet ferret dead from unknown causes, appears to have died in his sleep; his sister is alive and well. Jack wept buckets. Even the death of an animal is so mystifying- he had so much energy and spark- where did all that energy go? Physicists say the destruction of energy is impossible. Energy is eternal. Looking at the photo of this huge library I'm even more impressed that Amelia ventured up there to star gaze...what a free and bold spirit- who would even think of such a thing? I am looking forward to your book.

  4. I would highly recommend it Colleen. Loved it, and hope you will too. At the time he was groundbreaking, though I don't know what magic realism would feel like to a reader now. So many other writers have used the same device. Still, it's an amazing rendering of his country's history, his writing is extremely poetic and the language is gorgeous, even in translation.
    Sorry about the ferret, it is truly a mystery where we go, but our knowledge of death as a race empowers us. At least at times . . .