Roberto Innocenti
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few words about me few words from others about my birth

about my birth


I cannot tell much about my birth; I was not aware of the moment, that I suppose, was the consequence of the traditional procreative process at that time. I tend to exclude every theory of miraculous, characterized by something original advent. I however reject the idea that I would have make myself on my own. The place was a farmhouse of the Bagno a Ripoli hills for sure, but I cannot identify which one, between the other ones surrounded by small farms, paths on the way to Ritortoli. The time of my birth was never registered at the civil registry, and even my date of birth is estimated. It depended on the fact that the farm branch of my family used to follow lunar cycles  very carefully, ignoring the horoscope. After all, at that time everything might be quite approximate. In fact, my father’s first name was handed down to me, but my two brothers, born in Florence where I moved in my tender age, bear a “Degli” before the same surname. So I result as an only child, and they, as nobody’s sons. I can’t say if the mistake was the civil register employee’s or owing to the illiteracy of my maternal grandmother. The first event that sometimes involved me, they called it “Second World War”; a show that, although it was not so suitable, was not “prohibited to children”. Thus, as soon as I was able to perceive vague sensations raised by external happenings, they occur as long lasting sounds of siren followed by earsplitting hissings and explosion thunders. In addition, armies from all over the world decided to march, running way or moving forward, right in front of my house, leaving the same intense smell of fuel oil and cordite. I owe my following and more than once patched up “human life” to a couple of the most important events of the twentieth century: the invention of penicillin and the battle of Stalingrad. The first one for the noun, the second one for the adjective. When I was born, Earth was orbiting around the Sun, and it hadn’t just started . Since then, it realized just sixty orbits, but I feel a bit changed, a bit tired, feeling like I contributed with a little of my energies in its movement. Thinking about a small blue ball lost in universe, about my microscopic being there for a while, and finding out how it feels to be “me”, right me, because I, among billions of similar presences, I am amazed; I grasp the haziness of each thing, each word, placing myself uncertain between joy and dismay. The reason why I am not a writer but a draftsman, is exactly this one: I get lost in words, but I find myself in figures. They say we remember very little about our life: glimpses of days, events, sequences, every time modified by every revisit of memory and experience.   Maybe is what amazed, scarred, thrilled, surprised, disturbed or touched us the most. The happiest and the saddest moments. Fear. At the age of four, the faces of my parents and the faces of our presences in my life were not so clear to me: I think I bestowed them, coming back with my memories, the faces I focused just after. But I am perfectly able to remember the impetuous show of the infinitesimal part of that war seen when I was a child. Later in years, I stubbornly wanted to know as much as I could, like someone who is searching for the identity of  a third parent. I knew enough, and I feet hostile and hurt when someone wants to revisit war in order to judge who was the most evil, or to define if those who lost, had several qualities still to be discovered, hidden by the winners.  I feel immensely grateful for all those soldiers and all those super-armed armies, for all those who resisted, the partisans. For the most solitary fighters, the wretches - spies included – who managed to defeat the  armies that wanted to conquer, submit and bury every community, every trace of idea, civilization and freedom under a swastika. My third, controversial parent, is everybody who could say NO when it was so hard; the hardest moment in the whole history of mankind. I elected them. I don’t have glimmers for a debate about it.

Roberto Innocenti
Da "L'Isola delle Figure" 2001

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