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John Palcewski's Journal

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Upside Down

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My Dear Jack, two things for you this morning. That’s me on Forio’s Chiaia beach with Mt. Epemeo in the background. A moment after I clicked the shutter I felt the head of the chair slowly sinking into the slope of the sand, and then it and I overturned. One moment you are lanquid in peace and tranquility, and the next you are upside down with sand in your snout. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.

By the way, in real life there are ugly power lines in that particular view. I removed them with Adobe Photoshop. This is called gilding the lily. Or seeing what you wish to see. As you know, I’ve always been an idealist.

Anyway, a good caption for the picture would be that famous Oscar Wilde quote. When a journalist asked him what he did during the day as a poet, he replied, “In the morning I put a comma into one of my poems. In the afternoon I took it out.”

The other thing I’m enclosing is a reproduction of an old map of Ischia I bought at a bookstore near Bar Maria. The island is presented upside down, with North at the bottom. Why? Because that’s the view of the island from the mainland, where the map presumably was drawn. This is not documented history, of course, just a guess.

I am sorry to hear that work pressures keep you, Marcia and the kids from coming this summer. And please don’t worry, I’m not as distraught as these tears and groans might indicate. You should consider an obvious fact: visiting Ischia in the winter has tremendous advantages. The hotels are dirt cheap, even the four- and five-star outfits, and there are virtually no tourists crowding the streets. Think about it, lad. Please.

Not much to report about you-know-who. The latest word is that she might come in the middle of September. She will not tell me any specifics about the medical thing, other than it has to do with feminine plumbing and a doctor who keeps ordering tests and changing appointment dates. Despite that she has been rather good lately about correspondence. She tells me stories about her childhood in Buonopane, and I eagerly write them down. You know what they say. Writers don’t choose their subjects. The subjects choose them.

I’m strangely content in my solitude. Yesterday I thought a long time about Vittoria, and felt a delicious sort of longing. In that kind of aching nostalgia beautiful things take on a mystical glow, especially in late afternoon. Kind of like how you feel when you fall in love for the very first time. And I thought, well, maybe I’m entirely more suited to a long-distance relationship than one in the flesh, so to speak. In this situation it’s easy for me to idealze the woman I love.

More anon…

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i'm enjoying looking at that map. it requires a kind of shift in vision to reorient the mind. then i see it from the mainland. lovely. i also like the flipping into the sand. that's somewhat like life, yes. :D

Thanks. Yes, getting unexpectedly flipped is an extremely odd sensation. You know it's actually happening, and there's nothing you can do about it, and at the same time there's such an acute feeling of unreality. Or maybe like, why now, and why ME?

If the tumble is not a fictional episode, I sure hope you didn't get sand in your camera! I ruined my first Cannon with grit from the arenas I shot in frequently...

The tumble on the beach is a very humanizing touch. We all try so hard to be suave and sophisticated...

It reminds me of one first date I had with an equally humanizing incident...

Thanks for your comments, and also thanks for your interesting and engaging story about the snow cone episode.

The beach flip actually occurred as described not too long ago, but I made up the part about it happening right after I took the shot. The Nikon was safe in the black Tamrac bag.

Good boy! Gotta protect those important assets!

"I’m strangely content in my solitude."


The is such a lovely map. I wish modern day maps were filled with as much character!

I like the colors in the beach-bound image.... blue sky, yellow buildings, deep green trees, tan sand, green lounge chair... it has a purity and sense of "otherness" to it.

BTW, I've enjoyed reading your posts and viewing your pictures. Vittoria reminds me much of some of the mystical Mexican women with whom I grew up. There's just something about the way she says things and leaves you hanging that makes me grin with familiarity.

Many thanks for your comments. You are exactly right. Mexicans are very much like Italians in a lot areas. At least that's what my daughter, who married a man named Martinez, tells me!

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