Lorenzo & his humble friends

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool

Tag: ernest hemingway

Like a Karius pass

Okay, time to confess: between May and June I went to Cuba with Thomas. It was the first time we spent time together since our Tuscan farewell in 2015. Apart from the rain that escorted us for the first seventeen days, these are the words that I will remember from this experience: Casa particular, tabacco con miel, Malecón, Capitolio, El Nacional, arroz con frijoles, ron collins, mojito, daiquiri, cubanito, Floridita, finca la vigìa, coco, bucanero, montecristo, robusto, cochiba, Rom de Santiago. Comisión, yuma, jinetero, hustlers, scam, campesinos, todo está fresa, 26 julio, 1958, José Marti, Camilo Cienfuegos, René Portocarrero, realismo sucio, bloqueo, yoruba.

In bold characters the things I liked about my three-week vacations in Cuba. All the rest, we highly disliked. I do not feel like explaining why right now right here.

If only I could read the signs: I should have known better.

Thirteen books from 2015

How much did I read this year? I suppose there are different ways to answer this question. I could count the number of pages; or the number of books; or the number of authors. But the thing I do is count the number of friendly faces that come to mind when recollecting the books I read over the months. Just like I did last year, I have now tried to associate each book read in 2015 to one or more persons I know. Based on this scientific method, I have estimated that in the year that is about to finish I read a lot.

These are the titles, then. Whilst I am only going to mention a couple of the people I thought of when scrolling through the list of books, many others might recognize themselves in the titles that appear beneath.

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In the first period of the year – the cold, long, tiring winter months – I read a collection of three books from Italo Calvino. The first on the list is the first novel he wrote; the third is, up to day, the book I would recommend to those who do not know him yet.

 

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In the Spring months I was really into mountain-related reads. If you are, too, then these are all exceptionally good books – the first of the three being very relaxed and similar to Thoreau’s Walden; the other two more erratic.
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I remember reading the two books above in a timid April sun of Piazza Santo Spirito. I already encouraged many friends to give a try to the first of the two. As for the second, which is a book on Tuscan cyclist Gino Bartali, I can say that today I got lost in Chianti with Giallu and we ended up breaking the tyre of the car. We were lucky enough to find Alvaro, an old mechanic who used to work for Gino Bartali: while fixing the tyre, he spoke about him as “a truly good man“. (This, in turn, made me think of an old interview with Giacinto Facchetti, another sportsman. When, as a player, he was asked what he wanted to do after retiring he replied he was going to try to be a man). If you read the book you will understand why elderly people here remind Bartali as a good man rather than as one of the greatest cyclists of all the time.

 

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In the Summer months I read two books left me from the brother who continued shape my life from afar – I shall also add a third book to this list, a collection of letters he gave me in March and I read throughout the year. I would assume these three are among his dearest books.

 

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And then. Since I was back in Florence in late September I have read only two books – but of remarkably high quality. The characters of these books have a certain depth and I realized it was really hard to get away from them after having finished their romantic, erratic, naive, contradictory life-stories.

Lentezza is a beer with friends

The last few weeks were hectic and I barely had time to sit down and talk. Who had a chance to spend a bit more time with me probably thought I was on drugs. (I was not).

I am not always like this. Already in 2011 I decided that if I had a newspaper, I would call it Lentezza. Here some thoughts I noted down on a small paper when travelling back from Lugano, where I went to visit Anna.

Avessi una rivista mia, una specie di inserto di riflessioni e parole, la chiamerei Lentezza. Lo ho deciso origliando conversazioni sul treno: viviamo, oggi in un contesto frenetico in cui mancano gli spazi per l’approfondimento e la comprensione. Tutto é veloce, breve, rapido. Le notizie si adattano al contesto: veloci, mai ragionate, raramente discusse. Sono stato fortunato e fino ad ora ho sempre avuto modo di ricavarmi spazi di riflessione lenti: gli incontri di redazione al giornale QT ne sono un esempio chiaro, quasi estenuanti nella loro monotonia, ma avvincenti nell’incedere senza un binario, senza pressione, senza fuggire. Insomma. Se avessi una rivista mi piacerebbe che fosse una lenta utilitaria che avanza piano nel paesaggio della campagna mentre in città centinaia di macchine sfrecciano da una parte all’altra senza badare a tutto quel che sta attorno.

In the last few weeks I definitely was one of those fast cars. Before getting into the loop, I knew it had to be this way and I do not regret one single thing. I love to be stressed and overwhelmed by work as long as I know I will be given the time to stop, think, and communicate. That time will come this summer. I am hoping my girlfriend, parents, relatives, and friends will wait until then. I am looking forward to the moment when we will be able to sit down, have a beer, and talk. As Ernest Hemingway once said, an intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools. I am very much looking forward to that moment.