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secret windows (don't look back)

I found myself in a conversation with an old friend, about the crossroads of writing, nostalgia and memory. "Distance and perspective are the upside." I said. "The slippery slope is romanticizing and being nostalgic. Well, that's the memory trap no matter who you are."
"It's funny... I spent most of my life thinking that I had a rather dull adolescence, and it's only recently that I've discovered that these stories are a lot more interesting than I gave them credit." My friend replied. I admitted that I gravitate towards stories that are based on a mistake, a lie - thinking you had some great childhood, when actually it was a shitshow, and you fantasized about being adopted but sort of blocked that out.  


The question wobbled around inside my head for a few days. Was I too fast to judge nostalgia, to quick to brush aside its sweetness, stepping over it towards something invariably darker and sadder?  On Sunday, I was walking on Kutuzovsky,…

la prima pagina (the first page)

Twelve years since I sat in a loose chair on a piazza, staring off at the rooftops. I was finishing my novel. It seemed easy, after lunches of bresaolo and long walks.

Our bellies are full. N turns to me sometimes, a quiet smile plastered across her face. She has never been here before. 

Squash blossoms, artichokes and a sun that spreads sideways into rooms are the language of Rome. I wander the ghetto, taking pictures of old men as they become silhouettes. We take a walk long after midnight, me still drunk on Arneis and wild boar. The city breathes us in, holds us for a moment then lets us go. 


In Florence, there is a cold wind and a deep blue sky. I call E, making jokes, wishing her sweet dreams. She asks me what presents I have bought for her. I miss her terribly.

Before I left, I gave her my last red notebook. I wrote a message to her on the first page, telling her to fill it with stories I could read when I got back in a few days. Her chin slumped, tears splashing on the empty paper.
"I'll be ok, Pop." She said, nodding once.

I am starting my new book in Italy.
I told her I had to come to write it, just the first page.
"I understand." She whispered, squeezing my hand.



Comments

liv said…
Oh, how exciting! Write, write, write...and then eat some more...and them love that beautiful N and the write some more!

I can imagine how E is missing you. So I hope the presents are good! xo
Mely said…
Enjoy every moment of it.

This entry was like a postcard from Rome.

Nice,

Mely
Oh YES, M. Memories of that first page. Heaven before the hell that follows. But what a marvelous place to begin.... (Rome, I mean.)

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