Wanderlust, or: The Luggage of Words

Milano, Stazione Centrale

It is a human characteristic that we often want to be where we currently are not. Exploring new places, meeting new people, eating unknown food, learning new words (or even whole languages). It has to do with beginnings. And there is something amazing about beginnings: this mixture of curiosity, adventure, learning, sensing, and broadening of one’s own horizon. Traveling holds many beginnings. So, no wonder that – at least for many people – it is a very exciting endeavor.

The English language has several expressions for this longing to travel: itchy feet, Continue reading

Pareto and Me: How to Trick My Writer’s Block

Typewriter

It dawned on me. Late. But not too late. And for sure it’s not the least of things I need to know for now and my future: “Cooperate with the Pareto Principle!”

You never heard of it? Nevermind. Here it is. The Pareto Principle is named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923) who observed that 20% of the pea pods in his garden yielded 80% of the peas. Well, more excitingly – and more economy-related - he also observed that 80% of the land in Italy belonged to 20% of the population. Needless to say that this principle holds true in many other areas of science and life and has since been widely confirmed, adopted, and applied to various areas of life. One of them is time management. Or have you never experienced that most of the furniture refurbishing, Pizza-making, scrapbook-assembling, etc. is done in a comparatively small amount of time, whereas the final amount of work seems to eat up most of the time? Here we go. Welcome to Pareto-World! :) Continue reading

Listen. To. Me.

Listening ear

“Listen to me.”

What is about this appeal that gets me every time?

It must come from someone who has a voice. Someone who knows how to speak, to communicate. But even more, someone who has something to say.

“Listen to me.”

A verb in the imperative, a preposition, and the object form of the personal pronoun I. Three words. Not much. But so much.

Someone else’s desire for Continue reading

“I do!”

to-do list

To-do lists are not my favourite literature. I prefer Zweig or Leopardi, Goethe or Dante, but To-do lists? No, thank you. They smell of bureaucracy, management, and office pressure. Not too much the kind of company my libertine, chaotic, and spontaneous spirit would choose. The problem with a libertine, chaotic, and spontaneous spirit: at the end of the day, there is often a lot of artistic air, but not much of an outcome, to put it boringly plainly. So once every 133.5 days I make a to-do list. Full of enthusiasm, new courage, and a lot of hope. Just in order to realize that, at the end of the day, I accomplished not even a third of what I planned to. Not the best prerequisite to repeat it the following day.

What I realize: to-do lists have the wrong name. They shouldn’t be called To-do lists, but I-will-do lists. You think there is not much of a difference? Then take a look at all these inspiring people who say that they wrote down, for example, 50 crazy things they wanted to do until they reach 50 years of age. And they actually did them. The reason for their success? They wrote down what they will have done by the time they hit that age. Not what they have to do. Subtle difference in wording, huge difference in our mind. And in the results.

So I wrote Continue reading

Beginnings

Beginnings

Being married for some years now, and thinking more and more about having kids on my own, I often find myself reflecting on the first moments in which I realized that I am. Being is very fascinating. (Everybody should try that some time ;) )

Seriously: when earliest childhood memories flash through my mind and do their Harlem Shake in front of my confused mental eye, the same scenes appear again and again: certain dramatic incidents involving sickness, circumstances with the first realization of other people in my life, blurry scenes of sand box “crime and punishment” – and most of them not distinguishable into moments that I consciously experienced, or simply scenes that I reconstructed from the stories others told me. Among the few very first things I remember are times, in which my parents told me that they wanted me. That they had planned me. That they talked about me before I was fathered (and mothered…for the sake of inclusiveness). When I got a bit older Continue reading

Benvenuti! Welcome!

Life is beautiful. Language is beautiful. Language is life. Without communication, there is no life. And without life, there is no… well, you get the point. I am amazed by both. And in a very practical way I dedicated my life to languages. And to life, to the Word. They fascinate and challenge me, make me cry and make me laugh, make me try and make me love. (See, and they even make me rhyme.)

You love life, too? Or you try to wrap your mind around it, like I am trying? Then stop by now and then, and let’s explore it together. In its connectedness, its complexity, its thousand shades. Life is absolute. There is no way around it. It’s broad enough that no one actually gets around it, even if one tries very hard.

I look forward to post my thoughts on life here, and I am delighted to hear from you at some point. Share your thoughts and lets dialogue. Benvenuti!

P.S.: Make sure you read the poem that lends this page its name. You don’t want to miss this stunning piece of art. 

About me

Giacomo Leopardi, the writer of L’Infinito, had a younger sister. Her name was Paolina. In many ways I feel like a sister to him, a little sister. Therefore I call myself Paolinetta. Like her I have an affinity for languages, for writing, and translating. And for my older brother. I love living, thinking, speaking. “Speaking” merely because it helps me think (“How can one think if he is not allowed to speak?”). This blog owes its existence to this peculiar phenomenon.

Tea & Text