As I was battling with the flu last weekend, I allowed my mind to roam into plotting different scenarios, and imagine situations which can happen only in my head. So, as I was low on my faith in humanity, I asked myself whom I would talk to if I wanted to stock up on inspiration? And as I am not a huge art enthusiast, but I am a big book fan, of course I had only writers in my mind. The list could potentially be very long, so I decided to limit myself to the top 3 (of living or dead writers) I would love to meet over coffee and talk to. Here is my list.
1. John Steinbeck
I have not read everything he wrote, but what I have is enough to make him one of my most beloved authors. The stories he describes are so vivid, the scenery he paints comes live right in front of your eyes, the sounds become audible, the smells also feel real…and the characters in his books.. how can one not love them, admire them, sympathise with them, or want to be them? No other author that I know has the talent to paint such pictures using words, to lineate such characters, and to commemorate the human spirit in the way Steinbeck does. His books are like a celebration in humanity without even trying to instil any hope!
2. Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Ever since I opened One Hundred Years of Solitude (and later read that he is a journalist, and our birth dates are very close in the same month — not year though!), I have been attached to his writing the way one is attached to old, dear friends, to precious memories you cherish and are so afraid to lose and let go of, because somehow they define the best part of what happened to you, and of what you are. I used to copy favourite quotes in a notebook, and there were several pages only with quotes from Love in the time of a cholera. And it doesn’t matter that the stories and the characters he describes are from another time, from quite a different place than where I was coming from, somehow their problems, their worries, their fears, their hopes, were mine own as well. He is the absolute master of pinning down, with excruciating details, the depth of the human soul. And what more can a writer do?
3. Milan Kundera
Perhaps not of the same greatness as the other two, I could not leave Kundera out of my list, maybe because I was engulfed in his work before getting very familiar with the work of the other two, and so his novels are also a reminder of the way I felt, the place that I was at, when I was reading them. I started reading Kundera a little before my semester in Prague. Then when I went there I continued, and read every single book he wrote and that I could get my hands on. And there is no better place to read his works than being in the city so often mentioned in his novels, walking the streets his characters walked on, eating the food they ate, finding in the crowd their faces. If you every happen to go to Prague, visit the national library, go to the common reading room and grab one of his books. It does not get more magical than that!
So, if you could sit down and talk to three (or more) people who inspire you, whom would you choose?