Because I use the same brand of notebook for my diary, I thought it’d be funny to have a weigh-in. This diary, from December 25, 2019 through March 1st, 2020, gained 103 grams, or approximately 5 human souls. (Kidding.)
This, by the way, is the only kind of weighing in I want to do these days. It’s getting heavy enough out there. I’m carrying my own load and don’t want to add to anybody else’s. No time for despair.
I’m reminded of what Italo Calvino wrote in the “Lightness” chapter of Six Memos for the Next Millennium:
[M]y working method has more often than not involved the subtraction of weight. I have tried to remove weight, sometimes from people, sometimes from heavenly bodies, sometimes from cities; above all I have tried to remove weight from the structures of stories and from language.
For the rest of the lecture, he attempted to explain why he considered “lightness a value rather than a defect” in art. At some point he became aware of “the weight, the inertia, the opacity of the world… At certain moments I felt that the entire world was turning to stone: a slow petrification, more or less…”
He said if he were to choose “an auspicious image for the new millennium” he would choose:
[T]he sudden agile leap of the poet-philosopher who raises himself above the weight of the world, showing that with all his gravity he has the secret of lightness, and that what many consider to be the vitality of the times—noisy, aggressive, revving and roaring—belongs to the realm of death, like a cemetery for rusty cars.
I don’t pretend to understand everything that Calvino was talking about, but I’ve always loved this idea of lightness. (Bill Murray: “If you can stay light…”)
I take the fact that I have a readership very seriously. If I need to get heavy, I take it to the diary. (And even there, I attempt cheerful retrospection.) That’s where I put the weight.
(I should probably read up on physics before I mix metaphors — does light not have weight? — but I feel that my other job is to be the light or reflect it.)