April 3rd, 2007

A Single Rule

The magical transition from winter to spring begins on Ischia with the emergence of yellow wood sorrel, soon followed by the appearance of cute little green speckled lizards that scurry along green tuffa walls, and finally the budding and leafing of the ancient grapevines. Another important event, which occurred yesterday, was Franco at La Piazzetta putting out all the tables and chairs, so I could sit in the sunshine in the newly paved little piazza, sip my espresso doppio con latte caldo, write in my notebook, and rejoice.

At my regular table I scribbled a few paragraphs about people I have known, those who have had a profound impact on my life. I remembered that while we ought to respect the memory of the dead, there is, according to Dr. Samuel Johnson, “more respect to be paid to knowledge, to virtue, and to truth.” In solitude for the past five winter months, this is precisely what I’ve been trying to do. "If nothing but the bright side of characters should be shewn,” Johnson says further, “we should sit down in despondency, and think it impossible to imitate them in any thing."

My guide in all this will be the single rule my city editor gave me when I was a cub reporter. “Just tell the truth,” he said, “and let the chips fall where they may.”