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In the Winter 1981 issue of The Paris Review, Nobel Prize winning novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez discusses inspiration. (Read the entire interview at The Paris Review.) Here are some excerpts:

I can only work in surroundings that are familiar and have already been warmed up with my work. I cannot write in hotels or borrowed rooms or on borrowed typewriters. This creates problems because when I travel I can’t work…You hope for inspiration whatever the circumstances…

I’m convinced that there is a special state of mind in which you can write with great ease and things just flow. All the pretexts—such as the one where you can only write at home—disappear. That moment and that state of mind seem to come when you have found the right theme and the right ways of treating it. And it has to be something you really like, too, because there is no worse job than doing something you don’t like…

Inspiration is when you find the right theme, one which you really like; that makes the work much easier. Intuition, which is also fundamental to writing fiction, is a special quality which helps you to decipher what is real without needing scientific knowledge, or any other special kind of learning…For a novelist, intuition is essential. Basically it’s contrary to intellectualism, which is probably the thing that I detest most in the world—in the sense that the real world is turned into a kind of immovable theory. Intuition has the advantage that either it is, or it isn’t. You don’t struggle to try to put a round peg into a square hole.

Illustration: Gabriel Garcia Marquez by Margarita Karol, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 

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“The house became full of love. Aureliano expressed it in poetry that had no beginning and no end. He would write it on the harsh pieces of parchment that Melquiades gave him, on the bathroom walls, on the skin of his arms, and in all of it Remedios would appear transfigured: Remedios in the soporific air of two in the afternoon, Remedios in the soft breath of the roses, Remedios in the water-clock secrets of the moths, Remedios in the steaming morning bread, Remedios everywhere and Remedios forever…”

GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ,
One Hundred Years of Solitude

PHOTO: Mya Jamila, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Find One Hundred Years of Solitude, a novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, at Amazon.com.

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…human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.” Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

Gabriel Garcia Marquez passed away on Thursday, April 17, 2014 at age 87. We are forever grateful for his brilliance, inspiration, and influence. His novels, including his masterwork One Hundred Years of Solitude, are among the greatest works of art of all time. Thank you for your life and work, Señor Garcia Marquez! You will live on!

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ETERNITY
by William Blake

He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sun rise.

Painting: “PEE WEE” 8 x 12″ giclee print from original watercolor painting by Dean Crouser. Buy copies of the print at etsy.com.

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HOLY THURSDAY
by William Blake

Twas on a Holy Thursday their innocent faces clean
The children walking two & two in red & blue & green
Grey-headed beadles walkd before with wands as white as snow,
Till into the high dome of Pauls they like Thames waters flow

O what a multitude they seemd these flowers of London town
Seated in companies they sit with radiance all their own
The hum of multitudes was there but multitudes of lambs
Thousands of little boys & girls raising their innocent hands

Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice of song
Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of Heaven among
Beneath them sit the aged men wise guardians of the poor
Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door

IMAGE: “Holy Thursday,” illustration by William Blake from Songs of Innocence (1775).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: William Blake (1757-1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. For the most part unrecognized during his lifetime, Blake is now considered one of the greatest poets of all time in any language. As a visual artist, he has been lauded by one art critic as “far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced.” (Source: Wikipedia)

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HOW TO LIVE
by Charles Harper Webb

          “I don’t know how to live.” –Sharon Olds

Eat lots of steak and salmon and Thai curry and mu shu
pork and fresh green beans and baked potatoes
and fresh strawberries with vanilla ice cream.
Kick-box three days a week. Stay strong and lean.
Go fly-fishing every chance you get, with friends

who’ll teach you secrets of the stream. Play guitar
in a rock band. Read Dostoyevsky, Whitman, Kafka,
Shakespeare, Twain. Collect Uncle Scrooge comics.
See Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs, and everything Monty Python made.
Love freely. Treat ex-partners as kindly

as you can. Wish them as well as you’re able.
Snorkel with moray eels and yellow tangs. Watch
spinner dolphins earn their name as your panga slam-
bams over glittering seas. Try not to lie; it sours
the soul. But being a patsy sours it too. If you cause

a car wreck, and aren’t hurt, but someone is, apologize
silently. Learn from your mistake. Walk gratefully
away. Let your insurance handle it. Never drive drunk.
Don’t be a drunk, or any kind of “aholic.” It’s bad
English, and bad news. Don’t berate yourself. If you lose

a game or prize you’ve earned, remember the winners
history forgets. Remember them if you do win. Enjoy
success. Have kids if you want and can afford them,
but don’t make them your reason-to-be. Spare them that
misery. Take them to the beach. Mail order sea

monkeys once in your life. Give someone the full-on
ass-kicking he (or she) has earned. Keep a box turtle
in good heath for twenty years. If you get sick, don’t thrive
on suffering. There’s nothing noble about pain. Die
if you need to, the best way you can. (You define best.)

Go to church if it helps you. Grow tomatoes to put store-
bought in perspective. Listen to Elvis and Bach. Unless
you’re tone deaf, own Perlman’s “Meditation from Thais.”
Don’t look for hidden meanings in a cardinal’s song.
Don’t think TV characters talk to you; that’s crazy.

Don’t be too sane. Work hard. Loaf easily. Have good
friends, and be good to them. Be immoderate
in moderation. Spend little time anesthetized. Dive
the Great Barrier Reef. Don’t touch the coral. Watch
for sea snakes. Smile for the camera. Don’t say “Cheese.”

SOURCE: “How to Live” appears in Charles Harper Webb‘s collection Amplified Dog (Red Hen Press, 2006), available at Amazon.com.

IMAGE: “Brother Turtle VI” by Patricia Allingham Carlson. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charles Harper Webb was a rock guitarist for fifteen years and is now a licensed psychotherapist and professor at Cal State University, Long Beach. He has written five books of poetry, including Liver, which won the 1999 Felix Pollak Prize and Reading the Water, which won the S.F. Morse Poetry Prize and Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and Shadow Ball (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009).

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Vincent van Gogh: The Mulberry Tree, 1889
by Gerald Locklin

In the artist’s words,
“Its dense yellow foliage
Was of a magnificent yellow color
Against a very blue sky,
In a white stony field
With sunshine from behind.”

He neglected to mention that
He’d plugged the whole scene into
God’s own infinitely voltaged battery.

No one was ever more alive than he,
It is not just that
He was creative:
He embodied creation…
The creator took possession of him.
Death and life were one;
Both crackled with brain-music.

He may have known something
That we do not, yet,
A reality defying words.

His brain exploded into galaxies.

PAINTING: “The Mulberry Tree” (1889) by Vincent van Gogh

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gerald Locklin is a professor emeritus of English at California State University, Long Beach, where he taught full-time from 1965-2007. He has published fiction, poetry, essays, and reviews prolifically in periodicals and in over 150 books, chapbooks, and broadsides. Recent books include a fiction e-Book, The Sun Also Rises in the Desert, from Mendicant Bookworks; a collection of poems, Deep Meanings: Selected Poems, 2008-2013, from PRESA Press; three simultaneously released novellas from Spout Press; and a French collection of his prose, Candy Bars: Le Dernier des Damnes from 13e Note Press, Paris. Event Horizon Press released new editions of A Simpler Time, A Simpler Place and Hemingway Colloquium: The Poet Goes to Cuba in 2011; Coagula Press released the first of two volumes of his Complete Coagula Poems; and From a Male Perspective appeared from PRESA Press. Find more of Gerald Locklin’s poetry in Gerald Locklin: New and Selected Poems (Silver Birch Press, 2013), available at Amazon.com.

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GRAVITY
by Donna Hilbert

What binds me to this earth
are the hands of my children,
as I hold my mother
holding her mother
back to the mother
who begat us all.
This is gravity.
This is why we call the earth Mother,
why all rising is a miracle.

SOURCE: “Gravity” appears in Donna Hilbert‘s collection Deep Red, available at Amazon.com.

IMAGE: “Gravity Conceptual” by Victor de Schwanberg. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Donna Hilbert’s latest book, The Congress of Luminous Bodies, is availble from Aortic Books or at Amazon.com. The Green Season (World Parade Books), a collection of poems, stories, and essays, is now available in an expanded second edition. Donna appears in and her poetry is the text of the documentary Grief Becomes Me: A Love Story, a Christine Fugate film. Earlier books include Mansions and Deep Red from Event Horizon, Transforming Matter and Traveler in Paradise from Pearl Editions, and the short story collection Women Who Make Money and the Men Who Love Them from Staple First Editions (published in England). Poems in Italian can be found in Bloc notes 59 and in French in La page blanche, in both cases translated by Mariacristina Natalia Bertoli. New work is in recent or forthcoming issues of 5AM, Nerve Cowboy, Pearl, and Poets & Artists.Learn more at donnahilbert.com.

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On Thursday, April 17th, Charles Harper Webb, Donna Hilbert, and Gerald Locklin will appear at the Laguna College of Art and Design as part of its Distinguished Authors Reading Series.

WHEN: Thursday, April 17, 2014, 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: Laguna College of Art and Design, Dennis and Leslie Powers Library, 2222 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

ADMISSION: Free, plus free parking

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NUMBER MAN
by Carl Sandburg

         (for the ghost of Johann Sebastian Bach)

He was born to wonder about numbers.

He balanced fives against tens
and made them sleep together
and love each other.

He took sixes and sevens
and set them wrangling and fighting
over raw bones.

He woke up twos and fours
out of baby sleep
and touched them back to sleep.

He mananged eights and nines,
gave them prophet beards,
marched them into mists and mountains.

He added all the numbers he knew,
multiplied them by new-found numbers
and called it a prayer of Numbers.

For each of a million cipher silences
he dug up a mate number
for a candle light in the dark.

He knew love numbers, luck numbers,
how the sea and the stars
are made and held by numbers.

He died from the wonder of numbering.
He said good-by as if good-by is a number.

SOURCE: “Number Man” appears in The Complete Poems of Carl Sandburg (Harcourt, 1970), available at Amazon.com.

SOURCE: Poetry (October 1947).

IMAGE: J.S. Bach postcard, available at ebay.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) was an American writer and editor, best known for his poetry. He received three Pulitzer Prizes, two for poetry and one for his biography of Abraham Lincoln.

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