The Hero’s Journey of Simone Petrelli

What is the best thing that I love about my work?

The possibility of putting the best of me in the keys of a computer (I know that “on the tip of a pen” sounded better, but let’s be modern…). You know, there are a lot of people out there who don’t know what to do facing a blank sheet. Perhaps because I hate emptiness, facing a blank sheet, I love to decorate it.

What is my idea of happiness?

Being the master, the master for real, of my time. Of all my time. I just turned 40. I’m part of a generation that has been used to thinking that best thing in life was to find a solid, stable and imperishable job, in which to barricade oneself, waiting to grow old and, along the way, filling boxes on standard life checklist. Find a job. Get married. Become father. Grow old. Retire. Always the same, for everyone, forever.

What is my greatest fear?

Getting lost in the crowd, don’t distinguishing me from the mainstream. See above. About my life, I want it unconventional.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

I’m too condescending. Attempting to convince my interlocutor as quickly as possible, I tend to embark on crusades which, really, I could often spare myself. In my life I’ve learned a lot about labels. The more I learned them, the more I hated them. The more I hated them, the more my stomach got tangled with putting them on stage.

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire?

Chuck Palahniuk, talking about terrible things in a terribly sublime way. Check it out. “Anger”, to be precise.

What is my greatest extravagance?

Working with social, hating social. You won’t find me on FaceBook, or Instagram, or Tik Tok, or any of that devilry. I joined LinkedIn for fun, and after 1 month the system banned me, because I had reached 5 thousand contacts. Today it seems that I had chosen to be a LION (LinkdIn Open Networker). In fact, I was just looking for the fastest way to get to the largest possible network. Even though I didn’t need it. Social networks are not made for me.

On what occasion would I lie?

Honestly? Everytime is needed (complete truth is completely foul). Hands up if you have not willingly accepted to lie in order to bring home the result. And I’m not talking about being forced, and therefore innocent. We all lie. Everyday. Because we are human beings, and lying is the easiest way for our brains to work less and achieve more goals.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

Giving my talent to others, who have neither time nor desire to discover their. Let me resume my generation’s theme. While trying to become a journalist, I realized that the world was full of people who lived a foot below the surface, making the work for other people who lived above the surface of the water, and had the position (and the image!) to take credit for that work. For a long time in my life, I’ve been there too. Underwater. One fine day I got bored. Instantly. Because I realized my epiphany. I was giving the best of me to lazy, incapable ones, unworthy even to tie my shoes. Presumptuous? Maybe. But in nature whoever adapts faster lives, and I think in writing it’s exactly the same.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?

When I started to work by myself, signing my own writings. Maybe some of you will find it obvious. You write, you sign. Crystal clear. Well, for me it wasn’t that at all. And, anyway, I had to submit to an infinite series of agreements, first of all with my conscience. Because I practically got it. A book of mine. Written by me, the one I fought for, the one I really wanted to write. But maybe it wasn’t the one I could publish… So, as in the most classic hero’s journey, each beaten monster opened a new challenge for me, and I had (and will have to) start over, again and again. To die, and be reborn, a thousand times. But it’s normal, and healthy too. Too much happiness will kill you. And we all are restless animals.

If I could, what would I change about myself?

We all are made of totally unstable alchemies; if only I changed a piece, it would all mess up, I guess… So, I stand pat, as in poker.

What is my greatest achievement in work?

Easily doing things that others consider impossible, while earning good money.

Where would I most like to live?

Italian countryside (my top3: Arezzo, Gubbio, Montepulciano). Months ago, I met a kind of social communication guru. Introducing himself, the guy says he had built a 3-year plan to solve his business situation, reach his ultimate goal and, last but not least, find his lost spirituality. Then, he asked me: “What is your ultimate goal?” And I started thinking. And I realized my ultimate goal. Retiring to private life, moving to a country estate and living like an eighteenth-century landlord. Full stop.

What is my most treasured possession?

My 1.800+ books. And the ones I’ll be finding around in the seasons to come.

What is my most marked characteristic?

Stubborness. If something goes as I say, fine. If something doesn’t go the way I say, I’ll bump into it until it changes its shape.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?

Villa Pamphili, Rome’s greatest metropolitan park. Acres and acres of trees and grass and paths, where the city disappears for a while.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?

Having been born in the wrong century (and not accepting it at all), I insist, like many Romans, in eating and drinking in characteristic taverns. Small places, stacked tables, where you are entitled to only one glass and the menu is verbally recited by the host. A heaven on earth. My trusted tavern is just over 1km from my house.

What books influenced my life and how?

At seventeen y.o., Cien anos de soledad by Garcia Marquez taught me that there was another, more refined and bombastic way to tell stories.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?

Joy Division sound pretty good to me.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

Ivar the Boneless, from Viking’s serie

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

Ivar the Boneless, from Viking’s serie

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime?

Lawrence of Arabia, naturally: “The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts.

What role plays art in my life and work?

I’m addicted to classic art, often indulging on a certain dandy’s Art Nouveau attitude, on one side, and Art Brut (the art of fouls), on the other.

What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ to me?

They remind me of my 30+ tattoos. My entire hero’s journeys depicted on my own skin.

What project, in 2021, am I looking forward to work on?

Creating my own brand.

Where can you see me or my work in 2021?

If I’m lucky, very lucky (or just a bit more stubborn, it’s the same), I’d say you can see me around

Here are some of my (boring) books (available on italian market…):

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