Florence? What is this metaphysical perfection? Strolling down its streets, flipping through its yellowing, exquisite pages, bowing politely and nodding to the ethereal ghosts that jostle alongside you in the fifth dimension, one is struck down by the futility of aspiration here. If it weren’t for Brunelleschi and all the other heavies, if so many of the visionaries and pioneers hadn’t had their greatest hits here, maybe it would be different. But in the face of such loftiness—the Faustian hubris of Dante, the colossal conceptions of Michelangelo, the grotesque beauty of the Baptistery—it’s hard to slot the train of creativity onto the tracks of realization. Why bother to put pen to paper, easier and better to put napkin to mouth as all of one’s pathetic little dreams of greatness ebb and flow and finally dissolve, jettisoned onto the crepuscular beach of reality, shared by writhing half beings and sailors who have fallen from grace.