What do you want me to talk about today?

Every day, even before the sun rises, I have to choose the topic for the column. And, from the theme, the tone, the general arguments, the title. Sometimes it’s easy; you can almost catch the theme in the air. Overall, though, it’s a gamble – with a clear edge for error. Not to mention the permutations whose result is always an unknown: right theme, wrong title; right theme and title, but wrong tone; right title and tone, wrong theme. And I won’t even talk about the way because this discussion would have no end.

Despite constant accusations of politically intentional omission, I rarely run out of topics. It’s just that sometimes the issues I think are most important aren’t the issues readers think are most important. Then I hesitate to write and keep whimpering on the editor’s shoulder, saying that, hey, I wanted to give the reader exactly what he wants to read, not what I want to write. Today, for example.

It’s just that here and there I let myself sink in quicksands that I don’t even tell you about. Or rather, I tell you, yes. But first, allow me one last thought about the climate and the influence of this rain and cold on the minds of those who write daily. It has been raining and cold in Curitiba for at least a week, but it seems longer. It feels like a month, a year, decades! And, as much as creativity overflows at times, it’s no use: the low clouds and the insistent downpour do not allow the chronicler to admire the world or analyze life (how pretentious!) for more than a few hours.

All hopes, in those days, boil down to the next day. The possibility of a dawn without so many clouds, without so much water, without so much cold. And all the memories are of hot, sunny days, complete with caipirinha on the beach and that optimistically farcical worldview, no doubt the product of hallucinogenic fumes of too much sunscreen. Ready. Now that I’ve fulfilled my role as a Curitiba native complaining about the weather, let’s go to the quicksands.

Well, I was watching one of those classics that everyone likes to hate: “Sociedade dos Poetas Mortos”. Wow, I have a lot to say about the movie. But who said that the reader is interested? Take, for example, the poem “O Captain! My Captain” by Walt Whitman. Professor John Keating (really?!) says it was written in honor of Abraham Lincoln. Really was! And that little bit of information was enough for me to see Whitman as a Stephen King and Lincoln as an Obama.

Does this observation yield a text about the promiscuous relationship between art and politics? Certainly. If it weren’t for those clouds and that brandy that make us moved as hell, I could even include a Gustavo Lima to give the chronicle a touch of actuality. I could mention Chico Buarque and Lula too – just to warm the heart of the cold reader a little.

Back to the film and quicksand. Soon after, the same professor recites the poem “Ulysses” by Lord Tennyson. At the very end of the poem, it reads (in the original): “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield”. All the translations I found speak of fighting, seeking, finding and not giving in. Or don’t back off. But “yield” has another meaning in English. It also refers to production, usually agricultural. With this interpretation, the verse would read something like “fight, seek, find and not reap”.

Which is, in essence, the destiny of saints and visionaries. Of people who seek to do right, even if there is no hope of seeing this right come to fruition. Nothing is more at odds with a time, ours, in which it is inconceivable not to witness the consequences of the revolution and the “realization of utopia”. A time when all leaders act and speak with some kind of profit or palpable satisfaction on the immediate horizon.

Now I will end the chronicle. So, abruptly. But not without first paying a silent tribute to all those who got in the way. To those who gave up right away in the title or in the first paragraph or when I started talking about rain and cold or when I mentioned “Sociedade dos Poetas Mortos”.

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