We have really enjoyed reading these journal extracts from some of the Fabulamundi writers posted in reaction to these days of isolation. We hope you do too
Italian author Francesca Garolla
titled in its original language as – Esercizidilibertà (ancheiohopaura) – or “Freedom Exercises.”
March 9, 2020
Finding the exact point of salvation these days is a mission.
I do a lot of counting.
I count when I hit the elevator button. One. I count when I open the front door. Two. I count when I open the gate leading to the dog area. Three. I count if I use the phone (maybe I touched it when I paid for cigarettes or while I was at the supermarket checkout – maybe it’s contaminated). Four five six. I count the steps between me and that person I met by chance, seven, eight, nine… (but wasn’t one enough?).
I have never counted so carefully.
I count the touches, the touches, the field invasions.
To defend oneself, borders are protected, to survive, borders are demarcated, to win, borders are built.
And humans are thin-skinned territories.
So, okay, we respect the limits and do everything as we should: we go out a little, we try to be cautious, responsible, careful.
But let’s do it gracefully. No weapons are needed, it’s not a war.
Let’s hold hands.
We also hold by the hand those who start counting (like me), those who take the train because they are suffocated by anguish, those who cannot cope with the silence of their home, those who have children to explain to that cities stop but time doesn’t, those who fill the fridge and empty the supermarket, those who take drugs, those who try to save themselves thinking that it is the fault of the state, of the Chinese, of globalization, of newspapers and always, always, of others.
Here, above all, we hold by the hand those who think that the fault lies with others.
We are the others.
Let’s hold hands with caution and respect. With hands from which we have removed anger and fear.
With washed hands.
March 10, 2020
let it be
hand in your pocket
turn the light off
let it pass
let it go
It heals quietly, do not scream
March 11, 2020
Today, in the street where I live, the magnolia has bloomed.
White and pink flowers.
Magnolia doesn’t care.
Trees know more than we do.
March 13, 2020
It’s a war. There is the military, anger, curfew, enemies, allies. And the heroes.
The image is as immediate as it is uncontrollable.
So, for days, I have been breaking the trench of the door to walk my one hundred daily steps (for which I thank the dog, Elm) walking close to the wall.
Look at the ground, mouth aimed at the asphalt.
Today, however, for the first time, I felt the weight of my backpack of death. My dose of potential disease loaded on my shoulders.
And I thought someone could tell me: hey you, with that dog, without a mask, in that park, you, what’s on your mind?
It takes very little to switch to the bad guys.
Instead, a lady smiled at me and said that I have a nice dog (which is true).
And I was glad that she didn’t have a mask, so I could see her, the smile
And I returned it.
A few meters away, but I returned it.
And she saw it too.
March 14, 2020
The boy with the dog was happier today, he was talking to a friend at a bench far away, he also has a dog.
They are beautiful because they break the silence.
Then, at noon, everyone applauded, but I didn’t remember what there was to applaud and I looked, leaning out of the balcony, for a reason to do it.
When it occurred to me, I applauded too.
In the afternoon I thought how hard it is for the lady who lives opposite, who has four children.
But they play on their balcony and are happy. Maybe it’s not bad to be with four children playing.
I should try.
I have thick wool socks now.
I wear them every night even if it’s not cold.
The air is fine.
There is a light wind.
Freedom is in the details, I tell myself.
March 15, 2020
It’s a bit cold. That’s right, spring is like that.
The eastern lady with the large black dog has a mask. In the end she gave in too.
I waved to two girls dancing on the balcony, they were happy.
I was happy.
I was about to cry two tears, only two. But I called my dad and he got me through.
Dogs play as if nothing had happened, I said to myself, even if we masters have fog in our eyes.
Yet it will be nice all week.
The weather will be nice.
March 17, 2020
He can’t clean what’s dirty.
He tries, he works hard, shirt sleeves, trousers with creases. Scrub, scrub. It feels cold.
She checks, scolds him. He tries again.
She checks back, scolds him. He tries.
In the evening they have a glass of wine in the illuminated kitchen.
They talk about what there is to clean and the day to spend, clothes to iron and fear.
Even of that.
They talk. And I look for them.
But I don’t see them tonight.
In the dark we talk to each other more carefully, I think.
And everything is clean.