Day 24, I write to the cynics
We wake surrounded by white mountains. It’s snowed in the night but the valley stays green. We learned yesterday that there is a plan to start again, to re-open, piano piano (little by little) beginning, aptly, just after Easter; and we learned that it may be too soon or too late, depending on whether you are listening to people of science or to people who’ve waited long enough and have nothing left to live on.
We see that in some places it’s so much worse and are both horrified and grateful.
Deeper in the south there is unrest; the out-of-work petty criminals are getting hungry.
The larger criminal groups know potential when they see it and are luring the desperate with free food from supermarket raids. I feel a strange pang of compassion for pick-pockets and thieves. These are hard times for everyone.
I read a social media post by an Italian friend who tells a story: a grandfather looking back from 20 years into the future, talking to his granddaughter about how Italy has risen stronger from this crisis, even as the EU turned its back on her. He draws a picture of a tenacious and generous people, creating something splendid out of the hardship. There are dreamers in every language and we need to stick together.
I read too much of the news and I begin drafting a letter in my head, not to those who continue to act divisively and aggressively; who continue to deliberately engage in the destruction of this earth and of human life, even now in light of what should be a reason to try and work together. I am so angry with them but most seem too far-gone to reach with a letter, even an imaginary one.
So I write to the cynics, the ones who’ve bandaged their shattered idealism in apathy, pessimism and gloom and who are sitting around knowing that it’s just going to keep getting worse and do not dare to imagine (or act) differently.
It starts off like this:
My dear broken-hearted lover of beauty and of all things sacred (yes, I’m talking to you… don’t think I don’t see who you really are), I just want to say that you and your oh-so-intellectual and arrogant distaste for impassioned vulnerability are hurting the rest of us out here. I get it, you feel ashamed of the old wound you’re protecting (I know it hurt to have your innocence squashed). Or maybe you’re afraid to meet the wonder and goodness that you thought was much too defenseless to be allowed out to twirl in public and so left flattened under the weight of your “realism”? Whatever your excuse, you have to face the fact that you’re dead weight right now. It may seem harsh but it must be said: you’re worse than useless-- you may as well be working for the enemy. Isn’t there enough darkness in the world already? You’re going to have to do better. Stop feeling sorry for yourself! Courage! Be reckless! Abandon your pernicious convictions. Take up more enchanted ones. Use your imagination for chrissake. Not like this, you smug shit-- do you really think that anyone will be around to hear you say “I told you so” when there’s nothing left of civilization??
I’m not sure if it’s constructive to continue. I take refuge within the walls of my studio and clear the floor for dancing.
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I added this blog as a way to share some thoughts and experiences around the impact of Covid-19 on my life here in Southern Italy. These posts have been a near-daily practice during this time and are largely unedited, most having been first posted on Facebook. They are of course in order with the most recent entry on the first page. I invite you to explore previous posts or even start from the beginning.