I’ve always been fascinated by people who are passionately obsessed with what they do, no matter what it is. For these individuals, the pursuit of excellence is highly addictive, they are quality-junkies with an insane attention for details. Typically, they have little interest in entertainment and live in a symbiosis with their obsession; others often admire them but tend to avoid inviting them to parties. Yesterday I went to Ten Katemarkt, a neighbourhood market in the West of Amsterdam, for my grocery shopping. Some veggies and a cone of fries was all I was after, in this unexpectedly sunny Dutch afternoon, but I ended up making an interesting encounter instead – the path to serendipity is unpredictable by definition.
Watch the book releases in September: something warm and tasty is cooking for you and some other millions people. That food connects us one another and to our environment is a very basic concept we first learn as school kids, with that of food chain. Unfortunately we tend to forget that we live in a network of feeding relationships with the world, until we bump into a reminder.
One of my absolute favourite books is Italo Calvino’s “If on a winter’s night a traveller” – first published by the renown Italian publishing house Einaudi in 1979. The novel is a hauntingly entertaining chain of inceptions based on the ultimate need of any reader, or simply of anyone who is listening to a story: the urge to answer the classic question “what happens next?” The very ordinary heroes of Calvino’s book – a man and a woman who meet in a bookshop while trying to find the missing part of a novel they both began to read – are after a story that never comes to a conclusion, but instead keeps drawing the readers to more and more unfinished stories, and eventually to one another.
I received my first birthday present up in the sky this year. The author of the gift was my dear friend Nina, with whom I was travelling from Amsterdam to Lucca, Italy, to celebrate. We were probably flying over Germany or France when she handed me a funny patterned bag and wished me happy birthday.