Happy Birthday, Italo Calvino!

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Buon Compleanno, Mr. Calvino.

You know, your name invokes multiple emotions in me; some I can put in words, others I cannot. Basically, what you do is exactly this: treat me like a friend but never lemme forget even for a second that you belong to a different world, a mystique and scintillating land, way beyond my reach. And that’s the sort of wierd reason why I love you. You are acutely aware of your superiority but you never intimidate; on the contrary, you inspire! Voila! Should I learn that from you? Hmmm.. You bet! 🙂 I have often wondered if I should bind your writing in the confines of magical realism, a genre you own like none other. But  then you scoop something like these from your box and shut me up good:

The unconscious is the ocean of the unsayable, of what has been expelled from the land of language, removed as a result of ancient prohibitions. 

Your pen is a pithy rainbow, effectively appearing to clear the skies of your stories, rendering a collage so beautiful that the parchment of my heart can absorb years of your literal pouring.

Did you ever miss Cuba? How does it feel to be born in one country and embrace another? Italy must be special; you found your feet and lot more there. If I ever visit the country, I will make sure to visit Turin. You loved it, didn’t you?

Oh by the way, I always wanted to ask you: How did you end up writing If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller? Was that triggered by some real-life experience, a deep search for a fragment of that story which remained incomplete and hence, intriguing? Or was that a result of a restless phase of your reading days when all you could do was begin enthusiastically but run out of steam half-way? I feel it’s the latter. You know, this pattern – I see that in Invisible Cities as well. Wandering from place to place and finding half-meanings; leaving a good amount of things to anticipation and guesswork. I suspect you were hysterically inquisitive and the world, dangerously inadequate. You two never got along and you left it for the solace of your magical, fictional world. I almost see that moment when you chose to run all your experimental blood into your pen and unleashed them to immortality in biblio-corridors. have loved coming back to your books; you provide me a respite from the humdrum of the real world. Did you ever take any lessons on narrative rendering? Because your abstract context is ably held by superlative narrative! Now, now: that’s not very common. But yes; You Are Italo Calvino! Right!

A little birdie told me you loved Kafka. Boy, Oh Boy! Wasn’t he fabulous? I haven’t read him all but I know you both belong to the same school: unconventional plots, imaginary spaces, psychological facets, overlapping allegories and parallel voyages. I wish you two were born the same time; a co-authored book would have been a blockbuster!

And what was all the hullabaloo about Oulipo ? No, I don’t demean it. But well, its sort of…darn hi-fi! A tantalizing prospect though! Literature marrying Mathematics! Man! Only you and your besties could have crystallized this brilliant concept by some diligent adoption. Queneau and Perec, right? Say my hello to them.

Are you guys partying today? Over Kafka-Group Read I suppose? 😉 Ah! I wish I was the torch-bearer…literally! I miss reading your interviews. But I don’t miss you all that much; you live through your novels. You talk to me; so many times over. So what if its through fiction? It’s the best I can get. For I feel the same as you.

Personally, I believe in fiction because the stories I like are those with a beginning and an end.

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