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Amber Paulen

Paesaggio Interiore

Last night after Italian lessons I wanted to stave off the tidal wave of English for just a little longer and so sought something online to keep Italian buzzing in my mind. I tried music. But music is often too much for me: too much noise, the voice and the instruments (if you’re lucky these are both real and not synthesized, but who are we joking?) simply jar the quiet currents of thought. Music sounds to me like a power drill. So I switched to YouTube for voices and found a a clip of Pier Paolo Pasolini and an interview with Italo Calvino.

Pier Paolo Pasolini spoke rapid-fire Italian like poetry. But Italo Calvino’s Italian came more clearly—despite his visible awkwardness of speech—and though I still struggled to understand what he said, I understood his reverence for our internal scenery, the life of the mind.

The mental cinema is always at work in each one of us, and it always has been, even before the invention of the cinema. Nor does it ever stop projecting images before our mind’s eye. —Italo Calvino, Six Memos for the New Millennium

After listening to Italo Calvino I began to wish that our internal scenery was valued as much as it should be. Dreamers are thought to be opposite of the practical, yet I see no difference. Imagining is a practicality that we use in order to survive—an imagined outcome may prevent us from a certain action—but it also makes our lives better. Imagination is the begetter of empathy and the foundation of utopias. It is also, on a minute basis, a way of interpreting the world—the wider these interpretations span, the farther the imagination sees, the more adaptable we are, one of the human race’s single best attributes. Try to find an intelligent mind with a small imagination.

Italo Calvino certainly had a big amount of both.


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