Travel diary. The value of writing on paper.

“The best thing would be to write down events from day to day. Keep a diary to see clearly—let none
of the nuances or small happenings escape even though they might seem to mean nothing. And above
all, classify them. I must tell how I see this table, this street, the people, my packet of tobacco, since
those are the things which have changed. I must determine the exact extent and nature of this change”

Small happenings. This what paper allows you. The paper is immediate, is part of the trip.The paper absorbs the smell, the rain. The paper burns. There are pages where I tried to put a scent, where I scribbled the anger, I’ve  kissed, I have ripped out and then glued. There are tickets, addresses. The paper weighs, but it is still absolutely indispensable.

There are pages written on lines, others on small squares of books bought in Cuba. There is this page, in the photo. The first of a diary bought in Blantyre, Malawi, in a small workshop of recycled paper, handmade from old paper or elephant shit. Really. I did not believe that one day I will have written on what was a giant dung.

As J.P. Sartre wrote at the beginning of  Nausea, keeping a journal is to see things more clearly, but not necessarily immediately. Maybe at a distance of days or weeks.And then the paper and only paper allows notes and not writing. The travel paper will not necessarily need reasonable sentences. The message has to be changed, revised, rewritten, before being handed down.
Gradients. How many times have I said to myself that these give life to colors.
The dust of Africa is almost palpable in the rough pages of a diary that is a piece of Africa itself. Surely there is some grain, a few atoms of dust, possibly the dried blood of a mosquito squashed between the pages.

“Africa begins between bare feet and shoes polished in the city ‘

Rough and smooth. Dirty and shiny. Full of contrasts and loud juxtapositions.

“Thoughts want to become words” that want to crawl on paper as a foot in the dust Like snakes, like drops. A pen that runs on paper and shit like feet of children who roamed the earth. How muc Africa I found on this page, when, after more than two years, I have re-opened, re-read, rewritten.

If you travel, if you write, do it again for a long time on paper with pen.
Everything Else (Tablet, Pad, Pod) is not poetry. Neither trip. Neither emotion.

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One Response to Travel diary. The value of writing on paper.

  1. Randagia says:

    Fallo sulla carta, con la penna… tutto il resto, comunque te lo ciulano!

    Ho lasciato un netbook in India, non per mia volontà, ma il quadernino comprato a Città del Messico, e pieno di parole e pensieri, è tornato con me. Lo rileggo ancora, spesso.

    Buon viaggio, neh!
    Randagia, che scrive la lista della spesa sullo sterco di elefante…

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