coromandal


waste of the world
September 13, 2015, 1:57 pm
Filed under: chronotopes, departure lounge | Tags: , , , , ,

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



the secret of lightness
September 29, 2013, 9:52 pm
Filed under: the sweet life | Tags: , ,

Thirteen years on, a vision for the millennium I think still applies and is worth yearning for:

Were I to choose an auspicious image for the new millennium, I would choose that one: the sudden agile leap of the poet-philosopher who raises himself above the weight of the world, showing that with all his gravity he has the secret of lightness, and that what many consider to be the vitality of the times – noisy, aggressive, revving and roaring – belongs to the realm of death, like a cemetery for rusty cars.

Italo Calvino