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Writing Italian Style

So there are a few rules about writing in Italy, in summer, in places that stun with views, that flutter in the sun, and are drenched in incredible food.

1. Start early. Gotta write (and walk - especially if one takes their work into town) before it gets hot . Once it heats up, fuggetaboutit. All I could do was sit or lay down, drink cold liquids, and wipe sweat. Lots of Italians get up early, work from 6-11, and then crap out for a few hours. At 4ish they revive, and work for a few more hours before having their traditional supper, large and many coursed.

2. Like always (and anywhere), read your work out loud. Italians are very talkative and don't tend to care too much about what other people are saying, they love to engage, to listen, to talk. Use it to your advantage and read your work out loud and proud!

3. Eat good food. Always. Whether it's lemon tart or fancy clams, pizza in Naples or pesto pasta in Genoa, writing in Italy must occur on a completely satiated stomach. It's really the only way.

4. Take in the view. Speedos, sunrises/sets, gorgeous clothes, oceans, cliffs, fields of grapes, people so beautiful it hurts to look, terraces climbing mountainsides, there is plenty to take in, so take it all in! It's all fodder, somehow. People (and scene) watching in Italy is chock-a-full of potential character and plot building!

5. Get your hands dirty. There are rosemary plants in Italy as fluffy as the pricker bushes in Old Mr. Harrington's front yard (BIG), and anyone, everyone, pulls off a little now and then. It's part of the national pastime (eating/cooking), and people often have a little thyme, some basil leaves, or rosemary twigs sticking out of their jacket pocket or purse. In Siena, where there's nary a tree for miles, thyme grows out of cracks in the brick. Natural food is part of the Italian landscape. It becomes second nature to look for where the closest rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil plants are to wherever you're staying. It pays to be attentive, life is always improved for local flavor!

Italy was a spicy adventure in both life and in writing! Every day there offered a fresh look at my work, and myself. I hope that my writing is the better for it!

Andy Lee

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