It was good. Got to see some old friends and eat some good food, including some deep dish pizza that was very good but probably wasn’t the hour and a half wait. My paper presentation we well, and I got some good feedback, I think. I didn’t get to go to many panels or explore the Magnificent Mile like I wanted due to some hellacious headaches, but that’s not a big deal.
Shortly after I got to the Chicago hotel on Thursday afternoon, I checked the internet on my phone and discovered that Gabriel Garcia Marquez had passed away. My literature class had just finished his One Hundred Years of Solitude, which is also my favorite novel, just a week before. I was so happy to finally teach it and introduce Gabo to a new generation of readers, but now I am saddened that the next time I teach Solitude, I will have to give his date of birth and his date of death in the same breath.
After reading of Gabo’s death, I looked outside the hotel window to the skyline of downtown Chicago, wanting to see a shower of yellow flowers falling from the sky as they had upon the death of Jose Arcadio Buendia. In my mind’s eye, I saw the flowers swaying in the winds that came off Lake Michigan, and I hope that anyone and everyone who had ever been touched by Garcia Marquez’s writing saw them too. Then the entire world would now be resting beneath a carpet of golden flowers.
Airplanes, man. Airplanes.
Also, if you’re ever in O’Hare airport in Chicago, make sure to stop by Rick Bayless’s Frontera restaurant. Awesome tortas. And bloody marys.