Filed under: chronotopes, departure lounge | Tags: duty, Italo Calvino, life, passion, The Road to San Giovanni, waste
Italo Calvino describes his mother’s domesticity and his father’s passion: struggles with ourselves and with the world.
His mother turned passions into mere duties, her strategy for quotidian domestic life: sure, methodical, hardworking. His father on the other hand embraced passion, altruism, innovation, pain of existence, a desperate confrontation with the world.
That life is partly waste was something my mother would not accept: I mean that it is partly passion. Hence she never left the garden where every plant was labelled, the house swathed in bougainvillea, the study with its herbariums and the microscope under the glass dome. Always sure of herself, methodical, she transformed passions into duties and lived on those. But what pushed my father up the road to San Giovanni every morning – and me downwards along my own road – was not so much the duty of the hardworking landowner, the altruism of the agricultural innovator – and in my case not so much those definitions of duty that I would gradually impose on myself – but passion, fierce passion, pain of existence – what else could have forced him to scramble up through woods and wilderness and me to plunge into a labyrinth of walls and printed paper? – desperate confrontation with that which lies outside of ourselves, waste of self set against the waste of the world in general.
The Road to San Giovanni, Italo Calvino
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