The Meaning of an Island
When our friend Ciriaco asked me and another B39 contributor to try and write something about the Sardinian retreat, my first reaction was: ‘Hold on, we are not even going there! We do not even know what this whole thing will develop and evolve! How can we possibly write about it?’
Well, I know what Ciriaco meant : we should use our imagination, like every time we write.
It is needless to say that, looking at the gorgeous picture of the Sardinian sea appearing as a background on the B39 website, and at the profiles of the many and interesting people participating in the retreat, I should only feel a sense of ‘envy’ and regret for not being able to join the merry and lucky group.
But life is not always kind enough to allow us to go wherever we wish, or do whatever we want to. So, let’s take an aerial perspective and try to think of why would this event be so unique and – for sure – very successful.
First of all, like in all situations where you need to organize things for others, I can only imagine the hard work behind it. Especially if, on the other side (like it always happen), you have some ‘reception’ problems. Also, like with holiday groups, there could be some unhappy customers asking for room upgrade or limousine transfer, when all you can only offer is a neat and simple room and a sturdy Sardinian donkey, or maybe not even that! In general, as you work hard and try to get things done perfectly, someone may just drive you nuts, and the carefully assembled puzzle breaks down for a silly missing piece. So, kudos to Ciriaco for all his tiptoeing like a Chinese equilibrist holding spinning plates. Just for that, nobody should ever complain of any possible hiccup.
Now : Why Sardinia? The organizer comes originally from there, true. And Sardinia is a place of real and subliminal beauty. It is not an island that I know that well, I must admit. I visited the east coast a couple of times, and yes, the sea IS indeed clear, transparent and beautiful and nature is so wild… But there is much more to it than meets the eye.
The ‘nuraghe’ is a standing testimony of a very ancient past, a pre-historic past. Phoenicians, Cartaginesis, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Aragonesis, the House of Savoy, Italian Kingdom… are the many ‘sovereigns’ who, over the centuries, ruled the island, not always giving it a chance to develop and prosper. It is quite fascinating to discover and find out more about Sardinia’s exceptional and complicated history. It tells us a lot about its uniqueness within Italy.
Sardinia is also Grazia Deledda’s birthplace. During this retreat, participants will get the chance to get to know more about this writer, Nobel prize winner in 1926. Therefore, exploration of local culture and gastronomy, meaningful lectures and resulting bright exchanges, while being immersed in a land of rich history and natural beauty, should give everyone such a marvelous inspiration to write and to create plots, situations, characters.
Also, do not forget the meaning of the ‘island’. An island is an escape, a diversion, a distraction, a getaway, a retreat, a place for the soul…Even if ‘ No man is an island, entire of itself: every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…’, like John Donne said, we can find the island in ourselves. Especially so while there. I am sure that a flash of meaningful thoughts will be the result of deep inspiration, for islanders and visitors alike.
All those staying put on Hong Kong Island (not exactly of the same inspiring beauty) like myself are looking forward to reading all the nice comments and sensational stories. These will unfold like waves reaching the shore, coming from ‘that’ special island, while we will be unrelentingly searching for ours.
Island of primeval time
lost and found,
of thoughts for the itinerant soul
and food for the craving mind.
Scraps of spikey shrubs, wild bushes and holly oaks
eavesdrop on murmuring rivers and still lakes.
Petrified, silent and forgotten stone forests,
connect with megalithic nuraghes,
standing signs of times long gone.
fiercely resisting brutal invaders.
Place of exclusive and secluded identity,
and theatre of legendary antiquity.
Dry, thirsty and aching land,
surrounded by emerald and clear depths.
Pungent Mediterranean scents hover in the air,
sensually blended with the salty and tangy breeze from the sea.
Past and present are joined with a seam.
inspiring land of nostalgic desire
for nomadic shepherds
meandering in search of the unknown.
Paola Caronni – 25.09.2014