Now you are being read. Your body is being subjected to a systematic reading, through channels of tactile information, visual, olfactory, and not without some intervention of the taste buds. Hearing also has its role, alert to your gasps and your trills. It is not only the body that is, in you, the object of reading: the body matters insofar as it is part of a complex of elaborate elements, not all visible and not all present, but manifested in visible and present events: the clouding of your eyes, your laughing, the words you speak, your way of gathering and spreading your hair, your initiatives and your reticences, and all the signs that are on the frontier between you and usage and habits and memory and prehistory and fashion, all codes, all the poor alphabets by which one human being believes at certain moments that he is reading another human being … The Other Reader now is reviewing your body as if skimming the index, and at some moments she consults it as if gripped by sudden and specific curiosities, then she lingers, questioning it and waiting till a silent answer reaches her, as if every partial inspection interested her only in the light of a wider spatial reconnaissance. Now she dwells on negligible details, perhaps tiny stylistic faults … and she exploits them to establish a margin of detachment, critical reserve, or joking intimacy; now instead the accidentally discovered detail is excessively cherished — for example, the shape of your chin or a special nip you take at her shoulder — and from this start she gains impetus, covers (you cover together) pages and pages from top to bottom without skipping a comma.
- If on a winter's night a traveller, Italo Calvino.
Oh, as lovers/readers, what shivers of delight!
Brought to our attention anew by Maria Popova. Read her whole piece 'How Reading is like Love: Italo Calvino on the Ecstasy of Surrendering to Other Dimensions of Experience' here.
END OF THE CENTURY
I'm getting closer to the coast and realise how much I hate arriving at a destination. Transition is always a relief. Destination means death to me. If I could figure out a way to remain forever in transition, in the disconnected and unfamiliar, I could remain in a state of perpetual freedom.
- Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration, David Wojnarowicz.
For fans of Before Sunrise and Sliding Doors – all chance encounters, romantic alchemy, and the road not taken – director Lucio Castro's debut film End of the Century hits all the right spots.
Ocho is on holiday in Barcelona, travelling alone after the recent end to his twenty year relationship. Noticing Javi from his balcony and again on the beach, the pair soon hook up, and together the next day, Javi reminds Ocho that it's not the first time they've met.
A flashback to 1999, initially disconcerting - the pair look almost entirely the same age - but you soon settle in (and isn't that also the thing: twenty years older or younger, we remain the same in memory). Spending the day together, the chemistry zings. Ocho is on the brink of something, and Javi is there for the cusp. Back to 2019 and then a pleasingly dreamlike segue into the imagined present.
A gently lyrical rumination on love, sex, relationships, memory and freedom. The David Wojnarowicz quote above, a key moment mid-film, is the best way in.
An underlined sentence in an old issue of Apartamento: 'For years, Philips has been developing luminous fabrics to cure neonatal jaundice in hospitals. The experimental treatment is used in the Netherlands, and allows sick newborns to stay in their mothers' arms rather than being separated from them and put in an incubator.'
Thinking very much about our need for touch, after a year of none-to-little.
While the hug, hand-holding, forehead kissing days are still a little way ahead – we can still touch the earth. Walking barefoot in sand, grass or soil increases energy, lowers stress, promotes calmness, reduces inflammation, improves blood flow, reduces tension and boosts the healing process.
Shoes off for April and beyond. The earth is a grounding force.