Selling stories is a job for crazy fellows. I’m not insane, I just sell my stories door-to-door. Rather, I tell them.
Like any other worker I face good or bad days. Like any other worker I have to be smart and intuitive. Intuition is a must, indeed. It plays the most relevant role. That’s what makes me choose between a whatever “Mr. Carinci” or any “Falpalàs ”doorbell.
Choosing the right story is even harder, if possible. Something weird happens every time a door unlocks and someone shows up. Standing on the doorstep, for a little moment, everything around me gets black. I feel as if sunk into the void. Then is the light again. Like a vigorous pearl diver, I come up with a brand new story.
I sell words. At a good price. I allow your warm heart to state their value. I trust you.
Buying stories is a job for crazy fellows.
The legend of the sunflower
What an eccentric guy! One day, no one knows why, he decided to capture the four seasons. But, every time he tried to negotiate the terms with the sun, he ended his days, head bowed, counting the grass blades around his feet.
Skies get smaller when the comets devour them. It’s what kites were called where he was from. He used to make comets and play with them down the beach. He spent half of his life handling the long kite string against the wind to feel its strength, the rest trying to fix thin papers to dried swamp reeds with homemade glue.
When the invitation to the first international exhibition came, he showed up with a brand new piece: a yellow paper biplane with a red-painted flower on the top wings that recalled the brand of a supermarket.
Simple and with a reduced visual impact if compared to the rival architectures, that suburban kite was the only one that day to take off and duel against the riotous winds blowing across the competition field.
Witnesses, experts and jury ventured guesses about the complicated implications of the elements when simultaneously act in a particular situation. Other theories stayed unexplored.
The ask for sharing the project left him bewildered. In a blank page of the journal, he drew a few lines which summed up his personal concept of aerodynamics.
A few minutes later, he tapped trice the tip of the pen on the page and said “I still have doubts about this point”. With no other hesitation, he left the room. They had been waiting for him for ten years.
Life is hard for collectors. Only a few samples of the entire collection of photographs slipped through her fingers. She jealouslytreasured it to the end. The reason for such a strict custody lies in the folders of this story.
They fell in love on the eve of the War, which left them both unharmed. He, a test pilot, used to wear a pair of thin mustache, à la mode until 1937. She, conveniently desirable and given to reverie, couldn’t stop smiling and addressing him letters in a delicate and airy handwriting that she thought proper for her unique and special reader.
In return, she received overexposed snap-shots, stressed by an intangible chromatic intensity, painfully suffocated or burnt by the solar bulb, which he imprudently took during his solo flights.
The first she got was wholly black. She promptly praised his effort to catch the entirety without falling behind the single element. Nevertheless, she exhorted him not to exclude other ways to approach the universal beauty.
Such a warm support produced an increase in his audacity and more shots soon came: inconsistent walls of clouds, massive skies opening on a solid void that she imagined to be desperately deaf to the comforting sound of the backwash and the leaves rustling.
In a word, they made up a new love alphabet. And it drew the interest of the public.
When she was called to share her memories or unveil their secrets, she waved and said “Phew! He was a skilled dancer, but often his steps were out of my reach.”
He was expected in Wien, but never got there. He crossed the border at night, the jacket in tears, the blood-soaked save-conduct in the pocket and a wound in the belly.
When the feeble lights of the village blinked in the dark, he realized how ridiculous that entire story was and leaned against a wall before passing out. It was a bizarre sensation, something like being caught by strong hands and thrown abruptly through a hole in the ground. The liquid torpor he was floating on was animated by jelly like voices which exhorted him not to give up. “Only slivers” they said, “can sew up the interstices between life and death and blood” they went on, “is the essential condition to pass through the two-dimensional door”.
He woke up and stared for a while at the colorless filament of the dawn across the room.
Instinctively, he lifted the blanket and looked at his belly. It was untouched. The head fell back on the pillow while the last nocturnal frame faded definitively away. The sea came to his mind along with the stillness of the wrecks after great, terrible storms.
He stood up and went to the window. A line of houses which looked alike were drying in the sun. The parking lot was empty.
“Oh God, give me a fresh start” he thought and looked the other way”I’d like to be a fisherman, with a yellow and pale blue boat in the water off the port of Camogli”.
For that photo, no, indeed. It was of a Machiavellian ambiguity; it lacked of passion or the renaissance features that hold the observer’s elbow while stepping into the frame, waiting for him to be accustomed to the lights and ready to be overwhelmed by the story.
Where was the symbolic bridge that links the inside to the outside world? And that mirror game, it gave it but a flat double-reading, like a playing-card.
The scene was factitious, accurate but cold and even the female body, mine in that case, tossed like that in the middle of the room couldn’t mitigate the unpleasant feeling of the imminent drama.
I pointed all this out and he took it badly.
The flame increased. “Human figure is not more important than a key or a bicycle” he said citing Léger. “It’s nonsense” I replied “Léger gave every single element of the scene a plastic value, making it part of the artwork, including the human figure!”
We argued still for some time, then the insolent whiteness of his shirt slipped into a taxi.
He used black to fill in the eyes with irony and yellow to enhance the nature of a face; a shade of red to instill a sense of ambiguous turbulence. Finally, some white to mitigate the strength of the ensemble.
His work was a sort of popular census, something that he did obstinately and shamelessly.
“No, it doesn’t work”. He burst out one day. “What ’m looking for is the spark of a more genuine humanity”.
Then he fell silent, grabbed a knife and began removing the seeds from a big slice of watermelon.
The tinkling of four golden coins grabbed everyone attention. That was the reward the foreigner threw across the table. Will that gang of idlers be brave enough to face off – that very night – the gods of the storm?
All eyes turned to the man who stood up to count them before bursting into laughter.
He grabbed hold of his hat and flung the door open giving voice to the angry wind of the night. Once on the doorstep, he hesitated and when the door got shut abruptly, he was still in. He came back to the candle light with no more hint of irony on his face. “You can’t even image what it is like in the eye of the storm” he said to the foreigner “how could you understand anything like the resentment of the sky, the eternal agitation of the sea, the aversion the wind has felt to the earth since the very first day? Oh no, you can’t. Go away. It’s not your business, it’s ours”.
“I see” the foreigner replied “but I cannot bear the idea of a place where there’s no room for me”.