Dear you (plural), it has been called to my attention by a recent comment I received that blogging—especially this sort of daily blogging—carries risks. Not seismic risks, but small risks of another sort altogether. The first risk is that in the effort to write daily (which is largely a personal, experimental choice) the chances of my not writing well or of not producing anything of consequence are relatively high. I thank ALL of you for being the patient guinea pigs in that experiment.
The second risk is that in choosing explicitly to focus on detail—i.e. small observations—I double that risk. Writing about the perfection of a chocolate egg could potentially lead someone to believe that I am engaged in a laughable pursuit of navel-gazing, or that I don’t give a damn about world hunger, earthquakes, nuclear meltdowns and the tragedy of man’s inhumanity to man, finding instead that sugar glazing is somehow more newsworthy than universal healthcare or other important and debatable topics. I don’t. Quite the opposite.
It’s just that in the midst of global warming, rampant war, and countless superior commentaries on other things that interest me (architecture, design, art and literature), I find it useful to express myself in this way: finding beauty (great or small) where I can, appreciating the human gesture, and observing and describing with openness whatever pulls my spirits up. Sometimes, my comments will be useful to you. Sometimes they won’t. Sometimes they will be laughable failures (I’ve already put a few of my posts on that list).
One could say, I suppose, that in a way, I’ve demonstrated the good and the bad of the Italian plight: As so much in Italy malfunctions, spectacularly compromising the chances for individual success, mobility and achievement—need I say more than the words “Berlusconi,” “mafia,” “corruption” and “hegemony”—we are driven more and more to find our happiness in the beautification of the quotidian, the softening of the social, and the amplification of the small human act of kindness and/or gentility. What has frustrated Italians for centuries has also lead them to make an art out of living that is recognized the world over. Neither this blog nor the chocolate egg is the apotheosis of this achievement, but both, I think, are created in the spirit (and hope) of putting something decent and unharmful into the world.
I hope that’s the spirit in which you take it. And to the person who left the comment (which I did not have the courage to publish): Whether I misunderstood your intent or not, thank you for inspiring me to make this clarification. And now, as I always do on Saturday: Doors closed until Monday.
If all the world’s a stage,
this is the most romantic stage prop.
“All things rubber”
In which we appreciate rubber stores in general,
and Moroni Gomma in particular.
“Hugs and kisses/abbracci e baci”
In which we notice that there’s
a lot of public snogging going on.
“Postcard #12: Furniture 500”
On patio furniture made
from the original Fiat 500.
On my love for the annual appearance
of chocolate chicken eggs.
The beauty to be found in the smallest of details renews us and allows us to see beauty in the smallest of gestures. That helps me remember to try and show kindness, even in small modest gestures. Sometimes that is all we can do.
Kenneth, thanks so much…
I have somebody who only leaves negative comments on my blog. I have published all of them. My argument is – if you don’t like it, don’t read it. My blog is about everyday stuff too, mostly things I like. Generally if I don’t like it, I don’t write about it. There are exceptions occasionally to this. I too, have interests and opinions about things other than travel and the gorgeousness of Italy. This place frustrates me to bits sometimes, but I prefer to keep that to myself. If we want negativity and sadness there is always the news.
Y’know, I have to say, I didn’t know how to take the comment that inspired this thought/post. I read it as sarcasm, but the writer of the comment (with whom I exchanged some mails) assured me it wasn’t meant that way. This is a problem of the digital media…it’s also just the way it is…I will, from now on, most likely publish all comments as well.
Speaking only for myself…the major shifts in my existence have occurred in the very small moments: a stolen look, a perfectly-timed touch, the sublime bite. I hope I never miss the small gifts received and given, because only through them can I even begin to process the “big issues” of the world.
I have no idea how anyone else read that post. I experienced a wonderful thrill in the moment I realized that the eggs were chocolate. Publish all the comments or none of the comments – they won’t change my experience!
Thank you Joselin. (I owe you an email in response to your facebook question…I’ve been pondering it, quite frankly, and am unsure how to answer…it’s a thorny issue.)
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some people…..good grief.