Monday, January 16, 2023

Closing the library at Stanford with William Carlos Williams and Gabriel García Márquez

In the mid-1980s, shortly before midnight at Stanford's Meyer Undergraduate Library, we staff members made an announcement that began, "The library will be closing in 20 minutes." After making the announcement several times, I started playing with it. Once, I recited William Carlos Williams' "This Is Just To Say", and then continued: "No, this is just to say that the library will be closing in 20 minutes." But in my favorite, I recited the first sentence of Gabriel García Márquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude" and then added, "Many years from now, when you face your firing squad, all you'll remember is ... 'The library will be closing in 20 minutes." (Andrew Shields, #111words, 16 January 2023)


Note: Here's the first sentence of "One Hundred Years of Solitude", in Gregory Rabassa's translation: "Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."

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