I came across a programme about Andrea Camilleri the other day. He is Italy’s most read author. He wrote the Inspector Montalbano books which have been serialised on BBC 4. You may have caught them.
Now this is not the kind of programme that I would have normally watched. Sure, I like his books. I have even blogged about them before. They are a fascinating read and I have enjoyed watching the shows but an interview with an author can sometimes shatter the impression that you have of them. People don’t always live up to their printed persona.
It was definitely an interview in that someone was asking questions yet Andrea always responded with a story. He was a master at it. The tales flowed from his lips and we, like the interviewer, hung on his every word. He didn’t start writing until quite late in life. It came about because he would tell stories to his father as he was lying on his death bed, both to pass the time and to take their minds of the inevitable future. His father made him swear that he would write the stories that he had told and that he must write them in the same way that he had spoken them. There was not a dry eye in our house.
He reminded me of the great power of stories. He reminded me that this is something that I need to work harder on perfecting. There is nothing more human than a story.
Towards the end of the programme he described his philosophy to life. He has a theory that when you are born you are given an all-inclusive ticket. It gets you into all of the attractions that life throws at you, the good times, the bad times, the joy, the sadness, the heathy times, the illness and ultimately death. They are all part of the deal and you have no choice but to face them and deal with them. It is a great philosophy. The pleasure can only come with the pain. They are both part of life’s rich tapestry.
So, when I am at work and am faced with some system failure, or irate customer, or when someone has seemingly let me down I will stop and remind myself that this is the price I pay to get involved in all of the other interesting and rewarding parts of the job that I am lucky and honoured to have. They are part of my all-inclusive ticket.
Thank you Andrea.