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.
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 →
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.
Giacomo Leopardi, the writer of L’Infinito, had a younger sister. Her name was Paolina and in some ways I feel like a little sister to him, too. Therefore Paolinetta. Like her I have an affinity for languages, for writing, and translating. I enjoy living, thinking, speaking. “Speaking” merely because it helps me think (“How can one think if one is not allowed to speak?”). This blog owes its existence to this peculiar phenomenon. Welcome!
The immensity of life – in its complexity, its depth, its riddles – is like a sea. Wading in it is a necessity. Swimming through it is an art. Drowning in it – a sad possibility. But what about a shipwreck? A decent, reasonable shipwreck? And what about a shipwreck one can even enjoy again and again?!
Continue reading, and explore with me the immensity of life… as I see it from a lonely hill and a hedge.
Sempre caro mi fu quest’ermo colle, e questa siepe, che da tanta parte dell’ultimo orizzonte il guardo esclude. Ma sedendo e mirando, interminati spazi di là da quella, e sovrumani silenzi, e profondissima quiete io nel pensier mi fingo; ove per poco il cor non si spaura. E come il vento odo stormir tra queste piante, io quello infinito silenzio a questa voce vo comparando: e mi sovvien l’eterno, e le morte stagioni, e la presente e viva, e il suon di lei. Così tra questa immensità s’annega il pensier mio: e il naufragar m’è dolce in questo mare.
Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837)
Always to me beloved was this lonely hillside
And the hedgerow creeping over and always hiding
The distances, the horizon’s furthest reaches.
But as I sit and gaze, there is an endless
Space still beyond, there is a more than mortal
Silence spread out to the last depth of peace,
Which in my thought I shape until my heart
Scarcely can hide a fear. And as the wind
Comes through the copses sighing to my ears,
The infinite silence and the passing voice
I must compare: remembering the seasons,
Quiet in dead eternity, and the present,
Living and sounding still. And into this
Immensity my thought sinks ever drowning,
And it is sweet to shipwreck in such a sea.