Archive for June, 2010

Pessoa’s disquiet


How I’d love to infect at least one soul with some kind of poison, worry or disquiet! This would console me a little for my chronic failure to take action. My life’s purpose would be to pervert. But do my words ring in anyone else’s soul? Does anyone hear them besides me?


the blind man of San Galgano


The day tripping tourists had drained out in their coach loads, but the Vernaccia was still flowing. In his Purgatorio, Dante tells us that this noble grape had led to the gluttonous destruction of Pope Martin IV, but it was a warning we chose not to heed.

Presently, we could make out the reverberations of distant music as the shadowy towers of S. Gimignano ghosted over us. We decided to thread our way through the labyrinthine streets to discover the source of the sound.  We found a blind pianist playing to a throng of gargoyles who were gathered in some old cloisters, and we were invited to join them. There, we were offered more wine and were introduced to the assembled. We listened to the tunes played out above the ominous chatter.

The next day the blind pianist, accompanied by his elderly mother, paid us a visit at our apartment. He insisted that we must visit an old monastery called San Galgano. Not knowing anything else about this place, we were intrigued enough to make the trip.  Not without our difficulties in finding it, eventually we crossed the heavily tilled fields, walked up the avenue of cypresses and there the ruined eyes of the monastery confronted us. It was an unsettling mirror of the pianist. When we returned home we discovered that Tarkovsky’s camera had ploughed those fields before us.



Robert Ryman at work


Michael Pollan on ‘makings’


Architects do their work on the the frontier between the ideal and the practical, translating wisps of ideas into buildable facts, and carpenters are among those lucky souls whose handiwork actually adds to the available stock of reality. To a writer, whose creations can really only be said to exist among the human speakers of his or her language, this is cause for envy. For us, terms like “architecture” and “carpentry” are little more than pretentious metaphors we use to dress up our far more ephemeral makings.