By Julio Cortazar
Death stands there in the background, but don’t be afraid. Hold the watch down with one hand, take the stem in two fingers, and rotate it smoothly. Now another installment of time opens, trees spread their leaves, boats run races, like a fan time continues filling with itself, and from that burgeon the air, the breezes of earth, the shadow of a woman, the sweet smell of bread.
What did you expect, what more do you want? Quickly. strap it to your wrist, let it tick away in freedom, imitate it greedily. Fear will rust all the rubies, everything that could happen to it and was forgotten is about to corrode the watch’s veins, cankering the cold blood and its tiny rubies. And death is there in the background, we must run to arrive beforehand and understand it’s already unimportant.
A Song of Despair
By Pablo Neruda
The memory of you emerges from the night around me.
The river mingles its stubborn lament with the sea.
Deserted like the wharves at dawn.
It is the hour of departure, oh deserted one!
Cold flower heads are raining over my heart.
Oh pit of debris, fierce cave of the shipwrecked.
In you the wars and the flights accumulated.
From you the wings of the song birds rose
Destino was initially a collaboration between Salvador Dalí and Walt Disney. The project began in 1945 and was finally completed 58 years later. Production ceased due to Disney’s financial problems in the WWII era. In 1999 Disney’s nephew Roy E. Disney unearthed the project and decided to bring it back to life by hiring a team of French animators to produce the film based on Dalí’s notes and storyboards. It was finally released in 2003.
Who would have thought that Dali, the artist of dead animals, skulls, and horrific monsters, could work together with the all-American promoter of family values and happily-ever-after? It seems they had more in common than meets the eye. Their differences are nicely summed up in their personal descriptions of the plot of “Destino”: Dalí described it as “A magical display of the problem of life in the labyrinth of time.” Walt Disney said it was “A simple story about a young girl in search of true love.”
A Sense of Time is a short story by Finnish writer Tove Jansson from her collection Art in Nature.
The book is full of beautiful and amusing stories which all allude to art in some way. A Sense of Time, my favourite from the collection, is about an old lady who has lost all sense of time. She lives with her grandson and brings him breakfast for dinner, tells him it’s bed time when he’s just woken up, and takes mid-morning strolls in the middle of the night. The conclusion is that her senility is a blessing — while her grandson lives in a state of anxiety, worrying about deadlines and trying to keep up with society’s expectations, the old lady lives a calm and stress-free life.
“Grandmother’s private, interior world must be very strong if she can so serenely deny the sun and the moon. I wonder what it is that shines for her that makes her so terribly certain and calm.”