Wednesday, December 28, 2016 | Category: Reflections, Travel Stories, Travel Writing
Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all. — Charles Bukowski
It might seem strange to say that I have writer’s block when, for the first time in my life, I am in the middle of two manuscripts. One is a collection of poetry from my travels around Southern Italy; the other is a memoir about my life-long journey/struggle to finally be “out” as an Italian-American (no, I wasn’t always an Italian).
In recent weeks, I have had a hard time focusing on these projects, what with all the nonsense of our election, of Brexit, of LePen, of Renzi’s gamble, of looming global isolationism . . . and of the terrible and terrifying news all over the world.
And the losses. Oh, the losses! While we might not have personally known Prince, Alan Rickman, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, Carrie Fischer, George Michael or any of the other talented folks who left us this year, they put a stamp on our hearts and will be forever missed. As so many people expressed on Facebook over the last 12 months: WTF 2016?!?!?
Finally, we have been traveling a lot — three trips in six weeks — and while they were all for brilliant causes, this is not a good time of year to be so uprooted, given all the usual seasonal madness that must be attended to.
In any case, I have stopped and started, stopped and started, stopped and started and finally decided to just admit it. But when words won’t come, sometimes pictures and memories can be good inspiration.
Tim and I were incredibly lucky this year: we got to resettle his mother close to us, and that seems to be working out very well for all of us. We made two trips to Italy — two tours, and then time on our own after each — which went swimmingly. We were thrilled to introduce a few of our good friends to the pleasures of Abruzzo as a whole, and to Sulmona specifically. Over the five years that we have been traveling to this region, we have made many strong friendships and leaving there is always an emotional parting.
On the flip side, Tim and I were incredibly unlucky this year: in February, just two days before Tim’s birthday, we had to say goodbye to the love of our lives, our little Maxine. She was 15 years old and not a day has gone by since that we don’t think of her. The tears still come, but I think we are both getting ready to look for another little doggie. Watch this space for the happy announcement.
So what will 2017 bring us? I hope it brings me my words again. I hope we can complete the two tours we have planned for you — one to Southern Italy (Sulmona, the Adriatic Coast and Matera) and the other to Northern Italy (Vicenza and Venice). And I hope the global situation won’t be as dire as it looks at the moment.
I pray that cooler heads will prevail, that we will all find the better angels of our nature, that compromise and cooperation will make a comeback and that we can learn to be good to one another, despite all the evidence to the contrary.
In this final week of 2016, truly an annus horibilis in so many ways, I wish you a joyous and peaceful New Year filled with friendship, love, good food and great travels.