Writer In Florence Ela Vasilescu

Day 100 – The winners


I am so excited to write this post! Happy birthday dear project! Along the way, I had a few bumps that almost demolished this whole thing, but it survived and now I am celebrating day 100. Yuhuuuuu!!!! I’ve learned a lot about myself these 100 days and it gave me the discipline of making my writing feel like my job which is exactly what I wanted. I must admit that it also took some things away from me because struggling to write every day, took away those few moments which before I used to create short stories or characters; but no worries, I am learning how to organize my time better as we go and there are still 265 days left.

Now, the other thing on today’s agenda is to announce the winners of the contest. Let’s put them in the spotlight and see with whom and why I am going to have drinks or hand a bottle of wine to. Tanananananam!!!!!

First place: When she submitted the answer I had no idea she will become the winner instantly, but the minute I’ve read it, my mind went: “We have a winner!!!” This is what she said she couldn’t live without.

“In chronological order of importance: First, a rock. A rounded stone that I found somewhere before I moved away from Hawaii at age 12. At the time I was convinced it was an artifact of utmost importance called an ‘ulu maika, most definitely dating back to the earliest generations of Hawaiians. Surely. I’m pretty sure it’s just a regular rock, but at the time I wasn’t, and therefore it’s come with me ever since. Second, another rock. Actually a chunk of cement, from Alberto Burri’s Il Cretto in Gibellina Vecchia. Burri is one of my first great art loves, and this incredibly moving piece of land art is one of the works that I think about most often. It’s a lot to explain here, but basically after an earthquake in Sicily in 1968, in tiny Gibellina, rather than rebuilding the town, the local officials decided to move the town about 20 kilometers away to a new location and leave the ruins of the old town. In the 1980s, Burri covered the ruins in cement, maintaining the original street plan, so that now it’s just a white void in the middle of the surrounding hills. Totally haunting. Third, two birds. My mother recently passed these pins on to me from my grandmother, who died about ten years ago. I don’t remember her wearing them, but I could see how clearly my mom remembered her wearing them, which tricks me into thinking I remember it too. This has nothing to do with the pins, but I also just found out that my grandmother was a huge baseball fan. So huge in fact that when my grandfather would take the family to the opera (which in Cincinnati in the 1950s happened to be staged at the zoo), my grandmother would sit through the entire performance listening to the baseball game through an earpiece on her portable radio.”

Yes Anna, you are the winner because your answer had little stories that I could imagine and smile at. If you want more information about her or be inspired by her work, you can visit her website here.

Second place: It will look a little unfair because this is not exactly an inspirational answer, but when I read it, I think I laughed for at least half an hour, and let’s be honest laughter is inspiring, so I granted him second place and this is what he said he couldn’t live without.

“1.Wine and Cheese…because it makes me happy.

2. My family….because they bring me wine and cheese.

3. Wine and cheese.

oh wait….and art and Florence and rabbits!”

So, Frank you won yourself a nice glass of wine somewhere downtown in my company. If you want to learn more about Frank’s sense of humor and also his amazing work you can find him here. Enjoy!

Third place: Her answer was very inspiring and well defined and at some point I felt really sorry that she wasn’t second, but what can I say, Frank laughed it out of me, so please take it up with him. Because I have liked this answer so much and I don’t want to be unfair, the cappuccino which should have been the prize for the third place will be transformed in a glass of wine as well (also because she is not a cappuccino kind of girl hahaha). So, these are the three things my third and last winner can’t live without:

“1. The Cemetery I Live In: Why? Because it’s the most peaceful place on earth. Here I have the silence and the space to contemplate everything, from life to death to art and what it means to try and leave something behind after you’re gone. As I watch the stones slowly crumbling, despite efforts to preserve the site, I understand that no matter what monuments of ourselves we leave behind, no one will ever remember or know how we loved, how we cried, how we suffered or how we laughed. Life is for living now.

2. My Mosquito Net. Why? Because I am a mosquito MAGNET and I live in Florence, and if I didn’t want to smother myself in stinky creams every night just to survive, I need the net! Plus it makes me feel like a princess, which if you know me, is highly unusual since I haven’t been the most feminine woman in the past. Without this net, I would be the weird lady who scratches herself a lot.
3. My Notebooks. Why? Because no matter what is happening in my world, I can take a pen and a notebook and I can write and write and write until it pours out of my head and I am free. When I write, I take something that was intangible, and I transform it so that it physically exists in the world, as words on paper. When I see those words, pages of my handwriting, I feel calm, I feel grounded and I am connected with everything else on the earth that creates as well as survives.
There are more of course, but these are the first three that demanded I share them.”

So, Marisa you get to take me out to Piazza Michelangelo and chat about crazy horrific literature while drinking wine. You will find more of her inspirational writings on her website here.

These are my winners and I hope you enjoyed their answers as much as I have. Until the next one, happy birthday again, my nightmarish 100 days old project!!!!!!!!


About the author

Ela Vasilescu

I’m a writer based in Florence, Italy.

Human nature inspires me, different cultures, traditions, folk stories and the differences which make us unique. Documenting stories is a privilege, a glimpse into humanity, an unforgettable experience, one which I embrace and honour every day.

If you have a story twitching in the back of your pocket, one that is ready to be told, shared and heard, chances are I will be ready to listen; so don’t hesitate to send me an email.


By Ela Vasilescu
Writer In Florence Ela Vasilescu