Short stories about my scarfs, written by writers who love what I do.
Born at the beginning of the 1980s, she was brought up by two parents who left her free to be herself, Maurizia Triggiani earned a degree at the Bocconi University and worked for over fifteen years as an accountant in different sectors. She is now an entrepreneur in IT and editor of @discorsionline together with her husband and life’s love with whom she writes the social page @disordinaryfamily and their books:
“Disordinary Family”, Sperling & Kupfer 2018
“La Famiglia Tre Cognomi”, DeAgostini 2019
“Io, Disordinaria”, DeAgostini 2020, written alone, but Marco’s touch is always there.
This is what people ask when they don’t know what to say to children and Diego, at the age of twelve, had heard the usual question a million times.
The first time, if he could still remember it, was when he was five.
Aunt Clara had come to our house for supper and mother had prepared lasagne with pesto and her sister Betta had just come out of her room all red in the face after talking on the phone with her first boyfriend Matteo, the one who would break her heart a year later by cheating on her with her best friend.
-“Well, Diego, what do you want to be when you grow up?”
-“David Bowie,” he’d replied immediately with his mouth full of lasagna.
Aunt Clara, mother and Carlo, his foster father, had broken out laughing.
-“What do you mean? What do you know about David Bowie?”
-“I dreamed about him.”
-“You dreamed about him? What was he doing?”
-“He was singing and he told me, ‘I’m your future’.”
And more hilarity, but he was never one to take offence and wasn’t too worried about it.
They couldn’t know about it, but he did.
How a child of five born into the digital world could know Bowie in a house on the outskirts of Milan was an authentic mystery, with parents who grew up in the 1990s and who today hardly had time to listen to music, exhausted by their shifts at work, he in the hospital as an emergency ward nurse and she in a glass factory.
What was sure was that as a child it seemed like one of Diego’s funny ideas, but as he got older it became a genuine fixation.
Diego wanted to be David Bowie when he was a grown-up, just like other children, not knowing too much about it, would say they wanted to be fire-fighters, doctors, veterinarians or pilots. Like her sister said she wanted to be a psychologist.
As if being David Bowie was a real job or a scholastic career leading to a diploma in Davidbowieology.
Naturally, mother, father and grandparents bought him CDs and a few posters, as when a child loves a Disney cartoon and receives a sweatshirt, action figures, a cup, a jigsaw puzzle and other things that only modern merchandisers can invent.
And every time someone asked how a child of that age could know a singer of the 1970s, when others of his age were fixed on the pop singer Rovazzi, and his sister and her girlfriends were fans of Marco Mengoni’s, he would say he’d dreamed about him.
And not just one dream.
He always dreamed about him. He dreamed of him singing in places as a boy, on tour in the Glam epoch of Ziggie Stardust and Aladdin Sane, or with bleached hair of the 1980s, and up to the cool grandfather of Blackstar. At the end of each dream, the performer would come up to him and say, “I’m your future.”
On growing, Diego began to realize that this story, which everybody thought funny and original, was starting to alarm his parents. He sometimes heard them talking when they thought he wasn’t around.
-“Don’t you hear he’s way off key whenever he sings? Maybe we should start trying to discourage him. What do you think?”
-“Don’t know, after all, he’s not hurting anybody with this. He’ll probably grow out of it.”
-“And what’s the sense of dreaming about a rock star of the past that always says the same thing to him, ever since he was too young even to talk about it? Maybe he needs a psychologist.”
-“Oh come on, don’t get upset, Diego’s doing great.”
On his eighth birthday, his mother signed him up for a singing class without telling him.
-“If you want to be the new Ziggy Stardust, you’ve got to start somewhere.”
Diego appreciated the gesture but hated the course with all his being. He loved listening to music of all kinds, he even liked Rovazzi, although he was ashamed to admit it since he was then, for everybody, the smart, strange kid who wanted to be David Bowie.
In reality, his overriding passion was drawing. Music was a way to isolate himself in a separate world where he could pick up his pencils and colours and create his fantasies.
He drew on everything with any instrument, using every colour, brushes and Pantone. After two years of singing, he still sounded like Max Pezzali with a stomachache. To compensate for this, at the age of ten his mother sent him to take guitar lessons, but this too ended in disaster.
So, during the summer of his twelfth birthday, after dreaming for the thousandth time of David Robert Jones telling him he was his future, he went to his parents with a face like an upcoming thunderstorm, hoping they would understand that he was not asking for permission, but stating his position.
“Listen, folks,” he said, all heated up in the doorway to the kitchen with his fingernails stuck into his palms, “I hate singing, I hate playing an instrument and I probably won’t ever be a musician. I’m sorry.”
He burst into tears on discharging the tension caused by saying out loud something he ‘d known for years.
His parents rushed to embrace him.
-“Well, sweetheart, try again if that’s what you want to do…”
-“No, you don’t get it… that’s not what I want to do. I don’t know why I have that dream – it’s not my fault, it’s just a dream. A bad dream. I wanna go to art school.”
Starting that day, Diego took down all the posters in his room and put away the clothes, postcards, records and gadgets. He wanted to get David Bowie out of his life, and that’s what he did.
It was a shame that he couldn’t remove the dream that kept coming back at least once a month.
Diego continued maturing, and, after completing art school, he went on to study at the Brera Art Academy. And it was on one of the nights during those interesting years of studying, girls and making plans, that Diego was preparing for an exam and dreamed of David Bowie for the last time. But this time, the singer who had been tormenting him since he was a child, approached him with a brush and put it in his hand.
-“I told you so.”
He awoke with a start, ran to his desk to get what he needed. He started with charcoal, then went on to colours and, after a few hours, he stepped back from the canvas and realized that his destiny was actually being fulfilled: it wasn’t to become David Bowie, but to start painting him. Painting a face that he now knew everything about.
A year later there was the vernissage of his first exhibition: ‘Ziggy Stardust and the Lifetime Dream’: entire walls full of portraits of Bowie rendered with mixed techniques and bright colours. They defined it as the birth of a star, and it really marked the beginning of a career of journeys, exhibitions and competitions. He never again dreamed of ‘his future’.
He was now living it and understanding that to follow your destiny in life it’s enough to pay attention to your heart.
Maurizia Triggiani can also be found HERE.