Restlessness and Tuscany

Do you ever get restless? Just restless, precipitated by nothing in particular? And, if so, what do you do about it?

It could be that I’m restless…Could be that I look forward to shaking myself up at some point. You know I’ve been living on a writing grant, which is wonderful, but the thing about writing grants is that to draw the money out as long as possible, you gotta live, well, like a starving artist or something.

I don’t like that term, “starving artist.” Sounds like I’m being pretentious and martyred at the same time. I’m not; it’s just a phrase and by using it most will understand what I’m getting at: I’m living on a strict budget to further a creative goal.

This is fine, but I’m restless. Since my trip to Italy one year ago — who loves Italy? raise your hands! — I’ve led a quiet life. A year of writing mixed with procrastination, a few highs, a few lows, but mostly even keel despite how it may seem to my readers. (I deposit my more dramatic moments on this blog because, let’s face it, they’re more fun to write!)

Here are photos from Italy since I’m thinking about that trip and future trips. Restlessness, be gone!

In Florence, gotta get your touristy cathedral and statuary shots in…

  Santa Maria Novella 









Il Duomo in the background








These are the kind of photos I snap for potential writing fodder…people, details, unusual stuff, typical stuff…

Hanging in a bistro window









At Italy’s oldest wine festival 








A shrine to the Virgin in an olive grove











Italian grandmother











Daily life within ancient buildings









Last but definitely not least, the highlight of the three-week trip: One week in a rental castle(!) at the invitation of a fellow writer for her big 5-0. Fun! (And thanks once again to Stacy and Ron!)

Castello di Magona.
Check it out here.











Hostess with the mostest,
talented musician as well as writer. 

Friday ‘Fess Up + Four = Friday Five

I’m combining two Friday memes that seem to be going around (but not like a virus). First, the literate kitten’s invitation to ‘fess up to our crimes and misdemeanors against our writing efforts and then a “friday five,” in which we list five random things about our week, about anything. I like both ideas, so I’m combining them…

1.  ‘Fessing up: Ideally, my writing work-week begins on Monday. This week Monday was once again my Sunday. I don’t know why, but Monday often turns out to be the one day of the week that’s truly mine and truly free (except for the fact that I’m supposed to be writing, of course).

Also, I’ve finally discovered the fun of participating in the blogosphere with a blogroll, comments, and so on. YIKES! Blogging: procrastination, time sink, distraction! The fact that I know what the word “meme” means frightens me. I must take care — this week got a little out of hand.

Two new scenes written; one of them felt particularly good.

2. Self-promotion has been on my mind lately. I recommend the how-did-you-find-your-audience? series of author interviews on debuting novelist (2009) DeAnna Cameron’s blog. Worthwhile reading.

3. A strange thing happened at my mom’s house. I happened to pop in while an arborist was trimming the trees. This arborist was a delicate women who spoke with a breathy Jackie-O voice and wore her cumbersome tool belt gracefully. I swear that her gaze quickened when my mom mentioned my writing. “Oh, you’re a writer?” she said. I could see it in her eye — suddenly I was interesting. Seems she writes also (go figure). She asked me for advice about how to transition from short story to novel. I bumbled my way through an answer, which was based on my personal experience, and she actually thanked me as if what I had said came out of an “expert” place, like I knew what I was talking about or something. Frankly, I felt weird. To some folks, I might be considered an expert?

2. Started reading The Gathering by Anne Enright. OOh, baby, I can already tell this novel is going to be one of the stand-outs on my 2008 reading list. Starts out, I would like to write down what happened in my grandmother’s house the summer I was eight or nine, but I am not sure if it really did happen, and continues on fascinating me with its stark yet lush voice. Technique-wise, the way she circles around the unknown event is masterful in its non-linearity.

5. Photo of the week as shown above: One of the many reasons why I love Italy (Siena). It’s probably too much to ask that he’s got a novel tucked away in his backpack, isn’t it?