Calvino’s “Cosmicomics” and all things Imagined

I like to imagine the world and the universe once acted like the story in Italo Calvino’s “Cosmicomics” entitled “The Distance of the Moon.” In my imagination, the moon was not the first to grow apart from the Earth. The whole cosmos once lived as neighbors around our world, within earshot and eye, at distances where we could see galaxies swirl with one another, and recreate themselves in endless chemical attraction.

At night, I would sit out on my rooftop and smell the solar vapors of Alpha Centauri. I wouldn’t be trying to take Ferris wheel rides on the moon. Instead, I would shed a solitary tear, for the moon, for the stars, for the worlds beyond ours. We don’t mean to push you away, but it’s our nature to grow and change. You might as well leave right now, I’d say, and still, everything took their time. Now, several tens of hundreds of thousands of years later, the memory of a time long past is but an ever-distant photograph.

The closer we get to seeing it all, the closer we get to capturing but a moment’s feeling of that relationship we once had with all things.

— And for your entertainment, here’s a short film I found that tells the story of “The Distance of the Moon.” Enjoy :-)

Parler Des Livres Avec Le Barista

Hey, Zucker.

~ Hey, Mel, how’s it goin’?

Oh, it’s all good, you know. It’s sunny outside and we got a good breeze for 8am coming thru the door. What can I get you?

~ I’ll have the Breakfast Blend today please.

Sure thing. Small?

~ Yep.


~ And sugar, please.

There’s a quick smile of understanding between the two of us before she goes to make my cup. Her eyes look at me, searching for meaning, for a moment. It’s just a good day, I suppose, for both of us.

Here you go.

~ Thanks.

She notices the book in my hand, different from the one I was reading a few days ago, “Cosmicomics” by Italo Calvino.

What are you reading now?

~ Oh, I’m trying some Gertrude Stein. “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas.”

I show her the book, she looks at and opens it, reading the personal note that was written from my mother to my brother. She smiles and quickly closes the book.

Cool. Is it any good?

~ Yeah… it’s a lot of talk right now, though.

A quick laugh, as I, nor her, apparently know nothing about Gertrude Stein’s writing style. I’m not thirty pages into the book, and the journey within has not yet begun.

Alice does talks a lot, but it’s enjoyable. Autobiographies in general are written to show no distinction between conversation and narrative, and that’s what makes this book so great. Whenever a character speaks, it is Miss Toklas’ interpretation of it (even though Gertrude Stein is writing everything). The conversations between Miss Toklas, Gertrude Stein and other characters in the story are ensconced in art and the procurement of art in Paris during the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s.

Neither of us knew why we laughed… maybe it was the book… maybe it was us.

Well, I’ll see you around.

~ Yeah, I’ll see you Monday or something. Have a good weekend, Mel.

You too. Hi, can I help you?