Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Phillip Togni and the Transitoriness of All Things

While I was away overseas recently, a casual friend developed a brain tumour and died.

I was stunned.

And have been catching myself repeatedly thinking about the transitoriness of all things.

I usually drift (happily) from day to day without the sense of time passing or of moving unavoidably and finitely forward. As probably do we all. I have the feeling of things being cyclic and for ever, emotionally not cognitively of course!

The last time I was powerfully taken by these ideas was while and after watching the Bertolucci film 'The Sheltering Sky' (1990), based on the Paul Bowles 1949 novel. Set in the Moroccan desert, the central protagonists are New Yorkers Port and Kit Moresby trying to resolve their marriage, and their friend Tunner. But in this arid landscape, many of the comfortable and necessary illusions they have constructed for themselves are stripped away.

I was struck by the recurring theme of never knowing, when you are doing a thing, whether it is for the last time. There is the sense that there always will be another time/s - otherwise life's transitoriness can be unbearable.

So I began to wonder when I last saw Phillip. And couldn't. And the thought is uncomfortable. For more than one reason.


  1. Sorry for your loss of your friend. And I think I understand where you are coming from. I suppose these are the times when you would like to believe that he is at a better place.

  2. hey greg - thanks for your kind reaction - in a strange way, it's lucky we weren't closer cos the loss would have been greater. my first real boyfriend visited me unexpectedly from the states last year. unbeknown to me it was a farewell. i learned he went back and committed suicide a few days later - I was totally distraught. and did a post on it as a tribute. it can be searched with in the blog 'peter upton.

  3. Of course I want to say right away that I hope you didn't blame yourself for what happened. Thats definitely a shocker, no doubt. But I think you should take it that he liked you enough to want to say goodbye (in his own way) before doing the deed.

  4. As time goes by and we get a little wiser we feel in our bones the effect of time and our fragility as human beings...few are the answers to some final questions,and we just wonder what to say to one another...