Caro Diario

Dear Diary.

VIP and I watched Caro Diario by Nanni Moretti tonight. I’ve been hearing about the final chapter in this movie for years from VIP, and it was finally time to watch the film for myself. VIP says that Moretti is known as the Italian Woody Allen. Appropriate.

However, I wasn’t prepared for what we saw.

In that last chapter, Moretti is struggling to deal with a persistent night-time itch that is keeping him awake. He sees one dermatologist after another – the best that Rome has to offer. He takes a roomful of prescriptions – a set that he surrounds himself in one of the ending scenes. But it isn’t until the Chinese Medicine doctors, realize that what they are doing isn’t working, and suggests that he should get a chest x-ray for his coughing that he figures it out. That’s when they find the cancer. There is a brief scare, downplayed in the film, that it’s an inoperable, incurable form, but then they realize that this Hodgkin’s, and that the symptoms of this cancer including itching and insomnia.

It’s an interesting story, but the first part of the film is the part that intrigues me most.

The first chapter, My Vespa, about Moretti’s views of Rome from his Vespa is a lot of footage following Moretti as he winds along Rome’s streets. There are references about Paolo P(?)’s assassination, and we go to visit the spot with no further illustration on who the man was or why he was assassinated. The monument is in an overgrown field, casually protected by a few fences.

We see dancing, and a strange scene where Moretti confronts Jennifer Beals from Flash Dance, and her (then) husband about learning to dance. She categorizes Moretti as “off”, “off-center”, “whimsical” and finally “dumb”. The film reflects these traits, but Beals misses “funny.”

It took me a while to relax into this pace of story-telling. VIP says that it’s because it’s a story about slowing down and appreciating the small things after beating a disease like cancer. It’s certainly a tribute to Rome, her streets and cities, with some odd commentary about Italian films

In the second chapter, Islands, Moretti and his friend Gerard visit several islands in search of  a place to work on the idea for his next film. Each island visit is a caricature of what that island is like. It’s travel blogging at it’s best.We were having a conversation about writing about travel earlier today, and I thought if only you could capture the essence of a place like this, you would be a very successful, or at least entertaining, travel blogger…

I loved this film, in all of its subtlety, and slowness, with it’s incisive cracks and humorous observation – with it’s appreciation of life and whimsy (by which I do not mean “dumbness”). I wish I could describe exactly what it is that I liked so much about the film…  Perhaps that’s what’s missing for me as a writer. That ability to come right out and say what it is.


Tiptoe Goals


It’s just before 6 am, and though I know this goal that I had to write daily, once abandoned briefly due to illness, didn’t recover for much too long, I’m not letting that deter me from shooting off into a million other directions.

I collect goals the way cat ladies accumulate cats. I love them all dearly, these goals of mine, but they seem to have a life of their own, and I have enough of them that’s it’s a little hard to keep track of them all the time. Since I put out food and water, they seem to linger, but if you asked me at any point where a particular one was and how it was doing, I might know, or I might not have really seen it for a few days… or more.

I’ve started making my bed. That’s funny, because though my poor mother tried to make this a habit, it never really stuck. And I wouldn’t pass any kind of housekeeping inspection with my quick effort that amounts to little more than pulling the covers up and smoothing them out. But a friend got me started on Marie Kondo’s book a while back, and though I haven’t gotten very far there either, I do agree that having tidy spaces is restful for the eyes. I’m making an effort.

I’ve been trying to eat before 7p. It doesn’t always happen. Yesterday, VIP proposed a running date, meeting at a neighborhood trailhead at 6p. It was after 7p when we got back to the house, and our new renters had just arrived, so rather than diving directly into the business of dinner, we spent a bit of time getting them oriented and providing suggestions. So, I failed yesterday. But I have an alarm that reminds me to start thinking about food at 6p, so more often than not I’ve moved my meal-times a little earlier.

And speaking of exercise, there is that nagging running goal. And the low sugar one that is successful most of the time, except when I’ve had a particularly bad day. I also have a bunch of professional goals. And other, non-running, fitness goals. Cats, I tell you.

Another quiet effort, started today, is getting out of bed before 6am. I tried this a while back as a 30 day challenge (getting up before 5:30 that time to take more advantage of my mornings) and liked it, though the  key to success is not the morning alarm, but the bedtime alarm.

I thought I’d tie that effort to writing, posting, drawing and other creative endeavors.

Before, when I was trying to write/post something regularly, I was sitting down and trying to get inspired late at night. Late for me. And it felt like the goal was interfering with my sleep. Hopefully, I will be able to retrain my muse to show up in the morning instead.