How are you? Welcome to my weekly post! Today I’ll write about books.
Like most children, I learnt how to read when I was 8 and after my first book (which I think was either Ingo e Drago or La casa di Piero) I never stopped. I’m addicted to books, which in some ways is a blessing because back at school I was diagnosed with dyslexia and had to read so many of them out loud. Books are full of wonderful stories, wild adventures and unexpected truths, but most of all they hide gems that help you get on with your life – if you are able to catch them. When I was at uni, I used to skip entire lessons just to stay one more hour in bed, reading yet another novel. I loved books so much I wanted to live surrounded by them, by all those inspiring pages that were helping me shape my life.
One day, I went to the local shop next to the flat I lived in and bought some brown wrap paper, the one you use to wrap mailboxes. Being a student, I didn’t have a lot of money, and that’s the cheapest paper you can find in the market that comes in wide sheets. I bought five or six pieces and covered a w h o l e wall in it. I then started to draw a h u g e tree, I had to step on my bed to be able to draw the highest branches. My bedroom never looked so alive. And then, instead of drawing leaves, I wrote quotes all around it. Whenever I watched a movie or read a book, I would stop and write the best sentences on that tree. It kept me good company during my years at uni, though sometimes it took me a while to deeply understand what those words meant.
This week I’ll take you down to memory lane with me and share with you some of the quotes that were on that tree, hoping you may find them as inspirational as I did in the various stages of my life.
Solitude is independence. It had been my wish and with the years I had attained it. It was cold. Oh, cold enough! But it was also still, wonderfully still and vast like the cold stillness of space in which the stars revolve.
This is the first quote I felt the urge to write down on paper when I came across it back in high school. There was a period close to the end of high school when I decided to read German literature. I think it all started with a book called Buddenbrooks that I found in my grandfather’s library. There was something in that book that I hadn’t found elsewhere: it was beautifully tragic. It helped me see the beauty in such a dramatic situation, it was poetry in a novel. I went on reading more of the books by German authors we already had in the house and found Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse, where I found this quote. Soon afterwards I was in university and started living on my own. Suddenly, I felt how cold it was, the independence I had craved for so long. Yet it made me feel shiny as a star in the night sky, all by myself in the darkness of the universe.
“(…) Maybe you’d explain why you married me.” “Because of breakfast,” I said I was looking for someone I could have breakfast with all my life, so my choice – that’s what it’s called, isn’t it? – fell on you. You’ve been a marvellous breakfast partner. And I’ve never been bored with you. Nor you with me, I hope.” “No,” she said. “I’ve never been bored with you.”
Yet another quote from a German author from the book And Never Said a Word. I love breakfasts, there’s something special about the first few moments in the morning, full of hope, dreams and joy. It’s a bit weird for me to say that because those who know me well will agree I am a terrible person in the mornings. I basically won’t speak, please don’t talk to me for the first hour or so, it drives me crazy. But still, I love breakfasts and if I’m on holiday and I’ve slept enough, I might also be up for a full conversation. The problem is that for many years I’ve had breakfast on my own as both in high school and at uni, I was the first one to wake up. I lost the habit of having breakfast with other human beings and I now enjoy the morning silence soooo much. Anyway, during those years of solitude, I longed for someone I could have breakfasts with. I think I’ve found him.
Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life. Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.”
This quote is actually from an article. If there’s something I had to learn in life was to let go. This is mainly for two reasons: the first one is that I can be very stubborn so moving on from something I truly believed in has always proven difficult to me. The second reason is that I’ve travelled a lot and moved house pretty much every year since I was 19. Each time you leave a flat behind you, you need to throw something away, give piles of clothes and towels to charity, say goodbye to an awful lot of friends, be ready to call your everyday habits memories. Having that quote written somewhere on a wall gave me the strength to do it, move on, let things go.
These are among the first quotes that got stuck somewhere in my heart and that marked important periods of my life. I think this post is long enough now, I don’t want to make it even longer so I’ll stop here. However, please let me know if you liked it and I’ll be happy to write another one with more quotes (there are so many in my head, I could never stop writing).
What about you? I’m sure you’ll have a favourite quote and I’d love to read it in the comments!