Clementine Journal: Proposition 01 - Eutopia

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Proposition 01




EUTOPIA Let’s start with a word we might all know, “utopia.” Coined by Thomas More in 1516 in a book by the same name, “Utopia” described an imaginary Island, a complex, self-contained community free from corruption and crime. The word is a play on the Greek eu-topos meaning “a good place.” Utopia, as coined by More, is taken from the Greek ou-topos meaning ‘no place’ or ‘nowhere’. At the very heart of the word, utopia is a place of freedom towards which society could strive, but one that exists “nowhere” in the real world. As if to prove the point, More was later convicted of treason and beheaded for his refusal to support the King’s annulment. The less commonly known homophone, “Eutopia,” is sometimes used to refer to a society that is actually achievable or realizable, characterized by social and political harmony, justice, equality, and well-being. In this sense, “Eutopia” is not just an imagined ideal with no real place in the world, but a goal. According to Ernst Bloch, a German philosopher and Marxist theorist, Eutopia is not a perfect society, but rather a society that is in the process of becoming better. It is a society that is oriented towards the future, and in which individuals are constantly striving to improve their lives and the lives of others. In his book “The Principle of Hope,” Bloch argued that the desire for progress is not only a fundamental aspect of human nature but an essential element of happiness.


But how does this apply to our very individual visions of Eutopia? Would More’s belief in freedom apply to our most internal experiences of Eutopia? Do the submissions here reflect Bloch’s essential elements of hope? It is no surprise that when we ask people what Eutopia means to them, we get a wide range of responses. Eutopia is the euphoric feeling I get when I write. It’s the smell of my grandpa’s old truck. The memory of laying in bed with my mom and brother and naming our family dog. Sitting in the grass on a beautiful day. Laughing so hard I can’t breathe. The excitement of listening to new music. The comfort of going to my grandma’s house for breakfast on a Saturday morning. It’s telling the people I love, how much I love them. Despite all these moments in time, the thing that I keep coming back to is that Eutopia is a process. In fact, it’s not an end state. It cannot be packed up with a bow and applied for future reference. But the memory of a Eutopia can still have an impact on our very current lives. Perhaps that memory can help fuel the desire for progress towards a more ideal state. Because if we’ve learned anything it’s that Eutopia is a state of being, a place, a thing, and at the same time nothing at all.


Mary Pratt



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THE COIN PURSE I’m looking at a cheap little souvenir coin purse, in the form of a Swiss one-franc coin, made of synthetic leather. It is about 7 cm in diameter, and about 8 mm thick. If I recall correctly, I bought it in the mid-nineties. I think I had just moved to New York, so it must have been 1995 or 1996 perhaps. Or was it before? Hard to say for certain. In any case, I was with my mother. We were on a little adventure in her car, driving back from the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, the Ticino. On a whim, we decided to take the St. Gotthard pass, rather than staying on the highway, which leads through an impossibly long tunnel. The drive through the tunnel is 10.5 miles long, or just shy of 17 km, and it takes about 20 minutes. I’ve always found it excruciating to drive through so much mountain. So, we took the pass. My mother loves to drive, and she loves hairpin curves. I remember that we had a very open, emotional, heartfelt conversation on the way up. Back then, we didn’t always have an easy time with each other – these days we do. But on this drive, I felt close to her, and the honesty and frankness were quite remarkable. When we got to the peak of the mountain, we stopped for a break. There was a little old-fashioned kiosk, freestanding and away from the main building structures. It was run by an old Nepalese man with crazy teeth and a big, warm smile. I don’t know if we spoke to each other in Swiss German or


English, but I do remember having one of those special conversations – the kind that makes you walk away smiling, feeling refreshed, and joyous.


To me, it is perfect. Yes, it represents those rich memories. But I’d also be charmed by it if I came across it anew, in a museum or at the flea market. It has a certain Warholian quality, and I love the red and green color combo, along with the gold embossing. As with many objects that have accompanied me over the years, I don’t really use this item. It’s just part of our household. Occasionally, it gets knocked off the shelf by the cat (an attention-seeking strategy). Picking it up from the floor, I remember inhaling that cold mountain air at an altitude of 2,114 meters.

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Amidst Toblerone chocolate, gummy bears, and postcards, there was this little coin purse, neglected and a bit dusty. It must have been part of his inventory for at least two decades, ignored by countless travelers.


Then, upon arrival at the peak, and getting out of the car, the briskness in the air. People in the peripheral vision, climbing out of cars and buses, milling about. Clean air! Wind! My hair getting tousled, the coldness on my face. How do you describe the smell of the mountains; the smell of rocks and moss? I think the feeling of Eutopia was the moment of discovering that object amidst the man’s offerings on the mountain peak, in that fresh air. From the intensity of the conversation and the confinement of the car to that vastness and all that air – it was the perfect break.

However, when I think about why this experience matters to me, there is a shift: the moment of Eutopia punctuated a transition in the relationship with my mother. There are moments of Eutopia in daily life, yes. They’re fleeting and easily missed. They often arise in nature. Paying attention is key. I wrote this last night. Upon re-reading this morning, I realized that, again, there are different parts: the road, the peak, Eutopia, and the memory of it. Impossible to stack it all into one. The components complement each other, each one reinforcing the other. How many moments have we lived through that we have no recollection of whatsoever? And why do we hold on to some memories and not others?

Lucas reflects on The Coin Purse I’m not sure if our interpretations of Eutopia or similar or not - but I love Toblerone chocolate and gummy bears. To me, both of those are definitely a bit of Eutopia. I like her attachment to the purse, and how it brings back these Eutopian memories for her in her current life - especially when the cat knocks it down, she gets to rewhiff that fresh Swiss mountain air. I once watched the cycling race Giro d’ Italia in this area of Switzerland, which for me was a bit of a Eutopian experience - Switzerland as a whole is a bit of Eutopia - anyway, I kinda got a double Eutopia when reading Mary’s story as I was able to experience a moment of her personal Eutopia while also remembering some of my own due to the Eutopian setting and location of her story.



When I think back and travel to that moment in my mind, I see the mountain pass, the winding road snaking around that massive piece of granite. The colors: variations of light grey (mountain, worn asphalt, sky), some pale green from the sparse vegetation.

Lucas Badtke-Berkow


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A HAPPY STORY I’m writing this piece atop a small Japanese mountain located in Kobe’s Mt. Rokko National Park. I write amongst the Japanese red pine trees perched a good 800 meters above sea level. Below is a beautiful twilight view of Kobe’s bay and the city, and in the far distance, but still visible, are the twinkles of Osaka and Okayama. I’ve been invited here to experience a new trend in Japan called ‘Workation.’ The process of working away from home and office; if the idea catches on, modern society may be heading towards re-discovering what was once an ancient lifestyle: ‘Nomadism’. I heard a story recently about an old guy who lost his house. It was a happy story. I kinda can imagine him as when I heard his story, my heart flickered, and a tear of joy dripped from my eye. The guy lived in a beautiful mountain area outside of Kyoto in a bucolic meadow-like village. His name, for the sake of the story, is Munehiro-san. He had lived in his house for well over 50 years with his wife. Unlike most couples in Japan, where the woman outlives the guy, Munehiro-san, who was a sweet and loving man, had outlived his wife. So, for several years, he did his best to keep up his home and the surrounding two acres of land. But as he aged into his early 80s, it became harder for him to do everything on his own. He decided to move to the city and live with his daughter and her husband. But he still made the one-hour drive to his home every weekend to pay respect to his home and, when doing so, no doubt


Munehiro-san turned 90, and despite having lived with his daughter in Kyoto for a good 10 years, his heart was still in his home in the magical mountains and meadows outside of the city, where the bees buzzed louder, and the birds chirped more melodically. Except for the occasional woodpecker which just drilled away all day. On his 90th birthday, the small village of 20 households and approximately 30 people - with a good 20 of them over 70 decided to hold a birthday bash for Munehiro-san. Of course, he knew everybody at the bash. And of course, he felt at home. He sang and drank and made merry enacting using music and dance to mimic happenings from the village’s past. And as his spirit sparkled, a young woman who lived in the village on the other side of the mountain was also present. She frequently visited Munehiro-san’s bucolic vil-



When Munehiro-san turned 88, his daughter took his driver’s license from him as she was scared for his safety as his eyesight and motor skills slowly depleted. Without a license, he could no longer make the journey to his home. Occasionally, between work, kids, and spouse time, Munehiro-san’s daughter would find a Saturday or Sunday once or twice a year to accompany her father to his house located in the magical land of small mountains, fresh water, good-smelling trees, plenty of mushrooms, and lots of wildflowers. Munehiro-san would enjoy these annual trips as a small child being taken to the ice cream parlor. His cheeks would blush, his heart became light as he did his best in the few hours he had to pull weeds, dust off tables, sweep floors, and preserve to the best of his ability his home sweet home.

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heard whispers of his wife, which tickled his bones and put a spring in his heart.

lage as she dreamt of someday moving to the village. She was good friends with a young local couple - a pianist and an artist - who needed the village and its natural energy to create and inspire their souls. Though being an outsider the young woman, who went by the name of Mihoshi, was well known amongst the villagers - and frequently brought freshly baked bagels and gluten-free bread to the locals when visiting her two artistic friends. It was also known amongst the villagers that Mihoshi was looking for a house so that she, too, could in her heart find a ‘home’. And so in the glee of the moment with no cue at all - the villagers began chanting to Munehiro-san - ‘Give her your home’, ‘give her your home!’, ‘Just do it - give her your home!’. And Munehiro-san himself was caught in the warmth of the moment. He too thought perhaps this was a good idea and smiled bashfully - while sipping a bit more sake under a crescent moon. Months went by and the young baker, Mihoshi happened to be in the idyllic village visiting her friends on a fine June day. And on this same day, Munehiro-san was making one of his rare visits to tidy up the house. The two met over a bunch of light blue Hydrangea flowers and Mihoshi was the first to mention the night of festive celebration a few months back. Munehiro-san, who knew both in his mind and heart that he could no longer nourish the house and its memories, politely asked Mihoshi to take his house and live in it with all the love in her. Munehiro-san didn’t need any money for the house. In fact, he didn’t even consider this in his decision to pass his home on to Mihoshi, he just needed to know that his home would be in loving hands, and with that his heart could rest peacefully be it in Kyoto or heaven - he would be content knowing that the whispers of his memories would be well looked after.


The two stared wide-eyed at one another looking beyond the eyes’ window into a deeper space - they saw not each other but rather the energy of one another. They were aglow knowing that they both had found love and peace or in simpler terms, they had both found a Home.


And so it was that Mihoshi and her husband got a new home and Munehiro-san kept his home. And all lived and will likely die happily ever after; having found a piece of love at a place they both call home.

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The end is the icing on the cake. Munehiro-san, sheds a tear - Mihoshi hands him a tenugui. Munehiro-san looks down, again cheeks turn a slight shade of bashful pink and he says - “Can I still visit?” Mihoshi pulls the tenugui back and this time wipes a tear from her eye. “Of course!” she says “of course! I’ll pick you up in Kyoto and drive you to the village and then take you back to Kyoto whenever you like.”


Can you tell us more about why you chose to share this story? How you found it and why it spoke to you of Eutopia? Lucas: I wrote the story as I frequently write - free-style just kinda letting my brain and fingers guide me on a journey and this story was the result of that exploration into Eutopia. I think the hardest thing in the world is to see and understand yourself - but by looking at others, I think it helps add insight to your own being and understanding. It was good to explore those stories around me as well as my own feelings. I was struck by how this story felt like a fable - or a morality tale. Do you think this story has a moral?

Travel to that moment in your mind In a few words, what do you see? The space in front of me - nothing more - nothing less. Total nowness. Is there sound? Quiet. Sometimes birds, sometimes wind, sometimes a distance sound car, plane, voice, faint buzz or whir. What do you feel on your skin?

Yeah, I really like children’s books and fables. For 20 years I published a magazine for children and parents called Mammoth. I think the story has the potential to have many morals - but I want to leave that up to the person reading because like those in the story, those reading the story will all bring to the table a different set of hearts, eyes, experiences, and emotions - so if they find a moral or personal connection or meaning to the story that’s what’s most important to me.


Have you experienced a moment of Eutopia in your own life…how was that experience for you?

Yes, very much.

Personally, I frequently experience Eutopia. I think just being alive in this world at this time in history is a total


miracle and for that experience and the kindness of so many people in the world and beautiful sights of nature and people I’m so fortunate to constantly come in contact with - to me it’s kinda all ‘one big Eutopia’. I think I’m constantly trying to expand that Eutopia bubble so that encompasses more and more people and that more and more people can feel good and inspired - in some ways, this is the purpose of Papersky magazine.

In your hands? A gentle breeze. What do you smell or taste? Tahitian vanilla beans, Ethiopian coffee, Taiwan pudding cake, Japanese kinmokusei. Can you feel yourself in this moment?

Do you think, with this description, you could get back there? On a good day, in a good condition.


Clementine: You chose, in part, to share someone else’s story. This was really interesting to me, and it honestly shifted the way I’ve been thinking about this project.

WELCOME HOME Clementine reflects on A Happy Story

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with a book of Aesop’s Fables. The stories seemed to wend their way around animal characters who often met with a tragic final act that could have been avoided. Those same stories, and their lessons, now seem plain and clear. But to a child’s mind, the wisdom was hard won. I read and re-read each one, lost in the words, searching for meaning in the acts of the grasshopper, the alligator, or the lion. Reading A Happy Story, I found myself wistful at the end, ready to start at the beginning again and re-read it. I was brought back to those moments flipping through a chapter book of fables, wending their way around characters who’re reaching their own final act. The old man lost his home and found it again by sharing it. How complicated, how simple. I did not wonder about the meaning – for me, at least, it was clear and simple. It parallels my experience, in fact. There’s a certain spirit I inhabited for a long time that was lost or felt out of reach, and reading these stories and sharing them has rekindled that spirit for me. When the old man shared his home, it made that home available to him again in a way it wasn’t before. It took on new meaning, more layers of meaning. That’s how I feel about creativity, ideas, and inspiration. Something happens to curiosity. It happened to me, at least. I don’t think I would have called it curiosity then, but whatever it was, at its core was discovery and fun.


But at a certain point in my life, curiosity became less valuable than achievement. I’d learn something new so I could turn it into a skill – a line item that could be monetized in my career. A strategy to become more efficient at home. A philosophy to make me more confident as a parent. There wasn’t so much aimless wondering anymore. Instead, I was building something. A life? A facade? It’s hard to say, really. Some of it, of course, is extremely important. There are skills I need to work, to live, to parent. But I found myself holding on very tightly to my ideas. Time seemed less elastic. The endless, goal-less, talking-for-miles curiosity gave way to the ins and outs of daily life. Then add the shared uncertainty of our country’s recent politics and the shared fear of a global health crisis. Curiosity seemed downright luxurious. Sharing ideas about how the world worked was


scary – and it became less of a priority than simply figuring out how to work and live in this crazy world. And I know talking about the pandemic mindset is passé. We’re bored of it, we’re back to normal. But I don’t really think we are. Reading A Happy Story reminded me if we hold ideas too closely, our creativity becomes more distant. Life has the capacity to build barriers between our daily activities and our curiosity. But what happens when we share our ideas? If we find Eutopia in curiosity, like I do, then sharing it is the only way to keep it going. When we say, “Here is my home, give it new life,” then it becomes ours again. Our ideas become more vibrant when someone else adds layers of meaning, new thoughts, and different perceptions on top of our own. It brings the whole thing to life again. Sharing curiosity is a simple way of giving my creative life a way to come home again. To all the ideas, curiosity, to aimless wondering I’ve left behind, I now say, “Welcome home.”


I’d stumble on a topic that intrigued me and dive in to learn more. I took hundreds of hours of courses in philosophy. Thousands of hours in physiology. I spent countless hours around my dining room table talking about language, politics, and jokes. I sat in the passenger seat of my best friend’s Oldsmobile as we drove nowhere in the night wondering who makes highway signs, or highways. There was no destination for those nighttime drives. There was no aim. No goal. And no end.

Martin Friedrich


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THE MOUNTAINS On the following page you’ll see a photograph of the Marxenkar in the Karwendel mountains in the Alps. After a very exhausting climb the day before and a very cold night in a bivouac 2,400 meters above sea level, I had to descent through this cirque. When the sun rose, I eventually started feeling warm again. There are almost no climbers around in this part of the Karwendel, as there are no marked paths or huts. I had the mountains all to myself that morning. But neither this particular place nor this photograph is crucial. The image is merely an example of this very romantic notion of freedom. Although this may seem kitschy and generic, I am searching for moments like these that make me happy. For me, it is the mountains where I, unlike anywhere else, can find this feeling. I know them. I like being there. Would I be living by the sea, I might be a surfer instead of a mountaineer and it might be the sunrise over the ocean. But where I live, I have the mountains. I usually hike alone in the mountains. That always has been an important part of the experience for me so far. The solitude in nature and doing everything at my own pace regardless. Without having to wait or hurry and only being responsible for myself. But I do hope I can share these experiences with my son one day. Surely, that would mean even more happiness then.


Mary reflects on The Mountains Mary is a producer and consultant in the photo industry. Her reflection on Martin’s story is expressed through photography. Here is a selection of images that she pulled from Martin’s archive that speak to Eutopia. All images ©Martin Friedrich







Thank you for your contributions: Mary Pratt Lucas Badtke-Berkow Martin Friedrich Tyler Smith Mikalya Dumas Thank you for sharing your Eutopia: E 01: E 02: E 03: E 04: E 05: E 06: E 07: E 08: E 09: E 10: E 11: E 12: E 13: E 14: E 15: E 16: E 17: E 18: E 19: E 20: E 21: E 22: E 23: E 24: E 25:

Mary Pratt Monika Höfler Martin Friedrich Anonymous Lucie Kim Mary Blakemore Matthew López-Jensen Brian Janusiak Ian Lyam Stephen Cordone Anonymous Yuki Kameguchi Melissa Landauer Agnieszka Węglarska Annika Kaeppele Yasue Maetake Sebastian Moock James Henderson Daniel Giordano Lydia Rodrigues Marcus Civin Aarin Purple Sarah Hadley Melanie Bordas Lucas Badtke-Berkow

Clementine Clementine is a collaborative storytelling platform founded in 2020 by artist Lucie Kim, later joined by writer Carrie Ingoglia and others, to spark and nurture curiosity in the creative mind. By exploring and questioning the small or elusive things that matter, we share uplifting and thoughtprovoking content to inspire, connect, and inform how we work and live. Submissions are ongoing:


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