Day 113 – Back to work and writers group

After a long week of too much heat and sunny days, it seems that the weather finally heard my prayers and decided to offer me the gift of wind, clouds and rain. Yay! Hearing the thunders last night and the heavy rain knocking on my windows just made me sleep better. Anyway, it’s Monday again and because summer is gone and the laziness must disappear, us Florence’s Writers, start our usual Monday meetings again. After a long time of not writing any new short story I can’t wait to feel the pressure of having something done each week again. This group is awesome and the people in it…well, they are amazing writers with incredible stories to share, both in their writings as well as in a friendly chat outside of the work meetings. This year we hope our group will expand a little and we can find new fantastic writers that can join us and to whom we can easily connect with. We have become very tight as a group and I think when you spend that much time with people that share the same passion with you, bonding is inevitable. So, today is all about creating, reading, hearing and speaking good literature in a very cozy environment and after such a long break the hunger and need for that is bigger than words can describe. Welcome back creative Mondays, I have missed you a lot!

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Day 112 – Giardino di Boboli and another amazing Sunday

After a twenty minutes meeting with another fascinating artist who will be interviewed for The human behind the artist project, we walked towards the Boboli Gardens where Ephia and D were waiting for us. I haven’t been there in such a long time and strolling through the garden now as a resident felt differently somehow, but in a good way. When you are a tourist in Florence you want to suck everything in as fast as you can so that you can keep as much as you can gather, with you when you go back home, but when you live here, and you go over the same places you have seen as a tourist, they make you feel like you belong somehow. Besides the awful heat, the stroll, the friendly chat, watching my daughter feeding small rocks to the ducks, which her father hold in his hand for her to pick up, was all refreshing and gave me just enough to keep me going next week. Because a good friend teased us with his spaghetti alla carbonara dish a couple of days before, that was all we wanted to have for lunch and we couldn’t wait to get home and make it. Ephia offered us another fun scene when she started gobbling her spaghetti with both hands and of course after such an energy consuming morning and a lunch like that, she need it a cool shower with her ducks and her toy sprinkler. We ended another amazing Sunday with a girls evening out in...

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Day 111 – What makes an artist an artist?

What is it that you are allowed to do as an artist when your words and opinion mean something to the world out there? What is the artist’s meaning to others who are listening, admiring and following him? Should he be a teacher or impose a certain conduit on his followers, or should he be excused to be himself, just because his way is why others look up to him? Who or what makes an artist famous or worth speaking about? Is it the people who glance at his work or the work itself? Is it the impact of the work or his own mirror? I have been working with lots of different artists for a long time now and I can tell you for a fact that each and every one of them see life in a very unique way and all of them have had some kind of impact on me, either if it was a good or a bad one, but the thing I just haven’t quite figured out yet is what makes them so appealing to the world. Sometimes it can be their work and sometimes it can be the story behind it, or maybe it’s both. Is it that artists are in fact “alien” creatures that can never be figured out or is it that the people around them make them seem like that. So many questions that circle in my head and none of them have any answers what so ever today; maybe...

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Day 110 – About stories and storytelling

What makes a story a good story? Is it the craft of the one who tells it or of the one who writes it? Up until the age of eighteen I have been frantically reading every children’s story they had stored in the public library from my home town and when I have finished browsing many, many books written by writers (mostly gathered ones with unknown authors) who came from totally different cultural backgrounds, I have picked my favorite kind and never stopped reading it. Yes, I still read children’s stories occasionally and although now I see them with totally different eyes and from a different perspective, I still love them and I think it’s one of the few things in my life that make me feel completely comfortable with myself when reading them. But, the best stories, no matter what subject you prefer, are the ones told out loud, the ones who make your mouth open with no control from your part and for that you need to have a great storyteller (I know a couple of those). I for one have never been good at reading my own work, I feel awkward and like someone is twisting a knife into my throat, but when it comes to inventing stories out loud, well, that is my comfort zone and I can confuse and charm you with three hour long stories. I think this happens because I have never wanted to be a grown-up, I have always wanted to stay...

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Montaione blog

Day 109 – Places in Tuscany: Montaione

My first house in Italy was in a small town called Montaione, strategically located at 40 kilometers away from Florence and about 50 kilometers from a lot touristic cities from Tuscany. Its location (it seemed to be in the middle of everything) allowed us to visit at least two new cities every weekend and after touring through the entire Tuscany, we made a habit of going once a week at the Marina di Pisa and drink our Saturday morning coffee there. Our apartment was ridiculously huge and the rent was ridiculously low, but the most amazing thing about it was our balcony. The first year we moved there, we had an infusion of friends over and at some point we were going to the airport to drop someone and stayed around waiting for another one to land (fun, interesting days). We then used to organize an entire tour for them and because we also had jobs to attend, we used to ask them to squeeze a weekend in their visit so that we could give them the proper welcome and make them really feel and understand why we love Tuscany so much. But you know what? No matter what city we would have taken them to, or how the waves conquered the rocks of the Marina, or how the Campo Square from Siena charmed them, or any other wonder we would put on the table for their eyes to feast on, they had always come back to our apartment, went to the...

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Day 108 – Funny potty training stories

When you are raising a toddler there comes that moment when you have to introduce panties and the toilet to him or her. In my case I have started a while back but in a casual no pressure way. Some weeks ago, realizing that summer will be almost over soon, I said to myself I should raise the bar a little and get rid of diapers while in the house, hoping that by the end of the summer we can get rid of them all together. All went well, of course with the occasional peeing on the armchairs or on the floor, washing panties like crazy and running to the bathroom every two hours but other then that we were on schedule, until today. Sometimes, like today, I don’t have time to eat lunch with my daughter, so I feed her and after I finish my chores, I eat too. Today I made myself an amazing bowl of pasta con zucchine e gamberetti and I couldn’t wait to put my taste buds to work, when Ephia saw me and reached her hands in the air to be picked up and taste some of my food too. Before I continue, I must admit that I can get disgusted very easily and my bowels are very sensitive to gross events happening around me or to me. So, I picked her up and she was enjoying the pasta with both her hands while I was trying to get the fork into my mouth too. These are...

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Day 107 – The kind of writer I think I am

Yesterday I was talking about things that inspire me, places I encounter and people I sometimes meet. Today I will tell you one of the things that inspires me the most when I am writing short stories. I am fascinated by the human sorrow and people’s life stories. Each and every person I know has a particular story and something they have suffered greatly for, either if it was a dead pet or family member, if they were abused or just ignored as children and the list can go on forever. No matter how big or small their sorrow is it will always be a part of who they are and who they came to be. But, to get back to the title of this article, most of the time I am a morbid writer. My characters never have a clear facial description nor a name. I think I don’t name them because when naming a thing it loses a part of its meaning and it becomes somehow superficial. Names identify a person or an object and you instantly think about what that object does or how many other people you’ve met having the same name and what were they like; because they are nameless, you can never do that with my characters. Also a name can later mean attachment and I can’t allow myself or anyone else who reads my stories to get attached to any of them because they are suppose to make you feel and not visualize....

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Day 106 – Never ending choices and their beginnings

What should I talk about first? Should I tell you about the wonderful afternoon I had yesterday drinking wine and eating chips in Piazza Santo Spirito, talking to artists whom I love and inspire me every time we spend time together, or about the wonderful morning I had today having coffee with some of the writers from my Writers Group talking about writing and new projects? Tough choice. Or maybe I should talk about the fact that when you make your art your business, your inner self becomes so crowded in that tiny space left in your brain and soul, because of all the ideas that seem to never end and that you never have time for. I am weirdly exhausted from all the busy days and nights lately, trying to put everything in its rightful place and arranging new projects and beginnings. But it’s a good exhaustion; it’s the kind that keeps you awake at night just to finish that last phrase from a presentation, or to add another sentence to that article you have to submit. It’s been a very lazy and awful summer work wise and finally this year is starting to be gentler and kinder to us. And because all good things are usually temporary I am grabbing any chance I get, expanding my eardrums not to miss any interesting whispers that might soften my path. As I have started to make so many changes, I thought that after 106 days of writing about my...

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Day 105 – Sunday habits

I am beginning to love Sunday mornings. It became kind of a family ritual to wake up together, go to our favorite pastry place, grab a cappuccino and a creamy cake and enjoy a conversation about nothing while watching Ephia gobbling her piece of cake. The normal ritual after a morning like that, is making lunch together and then while Ephia has her nap one of us goes out, usually with an artist friend. Today I will be the one leaving the house and enjoying a lovely afternoon in the company of my favorite painter and sculptor, as Frank has finally claimed his prize, the glass of wine downtown. Sunday evenings are normally very lazy and although we easily accept to play around the house and destroy any kind of tidiness that exists around us, we don’t feel like dragging our lazy asses outside and go to the park (but the trip to the park happens more often than we would like). I have a feeling that this evening I will watch my daughter poking the water from the pound with a stick at out normal spot where ducks are friendly and turtles are playing hide and seek. This is what Sundays are like in our family for some time now and I think we can get used to this and make it a permanent habit. May you all have a wonderful Sunday and a good week start. P.S. As I am writing this, my daughter is cooking some...

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Day 104 – My August

Remember I was saying here how my American friends are deserting me? Well, one of them came back today and I couldn’t be more thrilled. He was a little zombie looking like and and a little offline, but who wouldn’t after all those hours spent in the air. I guess jet lag is a bitch and I hope I can find that out on my own skin sometime soon. August seems to wrap up its things and move out of the city quickly, because the streets are seeing more and more cars every day, I have to look out for available parking spaces and also my building is starting to act like its alive, which means people are coming back from their vacations. This was the best summer in Florence ever; the weather fulfilled my needs perfectly and the constant thunderstorms were a lovely addition (hopefully there will be more of those). Seeing people coming back from the seaside or wherever, I realized with the passing of August I started to regret that we didn’t go back home to visit this year. We don’t actually miss going home and that was never an issue, but this year I would have loved to just travel through the country, showing Ephia the places we love, randomly selecting cities to go and revisit; you know, driving, stopping for lunch or a coffee, taking quick picture breaks and then go on the road again. There is also this feeling that Italy always gives me...

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