300 short stories:: story 131

story: Cities I’ve Never Lived In 

author: Sara Majka

year: 2015

where: Fiumicino Airport, Roma

note: As someone who has traveled places grand and bland alone, this story felt sometimes like a mirror.

a line: “I thought that those few people passing out food—with their hands in little plastic gloves, and their cross behind them—should not be our major defense against this kind of poverty; as a defense it felt hopeful, frail, and largely hidden.”

bonus line: “I said that art can end up being compassionate—because you’re trying to communicate to people and that’s a compassionate act—but making it is often unkind.Artists take images and stories from people without telling them, and artists are doing it for their own ends, or for the ends of art. Even if they have morals or set limits, they are still taking from people.” …I think artists know what she means.

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