Last week marked exactly a year that I’ve been back in the States, and although I adore San Francisco and being home has been good for me in a lot of ways, one word keeps running through my mind: BASTA. Yup, enough. I’m done with the US (again) for a minute – next up, Italy!
Okay, now that I’ve successfully avoided burying the lede, I can give you some back story. Remember that time that I talked about 20 Feet from Stardom and how it inspired me to do something really exciting and scary and risky? Well, this is that thing: I’m moving to Italy in September, to live off savings for three months and write full time. I know – I KNOW – this is a crazy cool idea and could be seen as irresponsible, but I promise I have enough money in savings, and I figure now is exactly the time when I should be doing things like this. I have no kids or even a partner to consider in my big life decisions, and I’m not currently working in a job that’s super career-building (only because I’m unlikely to want to work in finance for the rest of my life), so what do I have to lose? Only steam, if/when I can’t get this book out of me in an engaging form…
Yes, there is another book in me. I never thought it possible, but after everything I went through in the last year I’m thinking it just might be worth writing about my life, again – it seems that unimaginable emotional pain is my great motivator, which puts me in the very strange position of being torn between writing my whole life and living a happy one. For now, I can’t control the pain I’ve been (and am being) put through, so I may as well get something out of it.
I’ll leave it there for now; I don’t want to tell you too much about the book baby growing in my brain, for fear of it dissipating before it’s born. Instead I’ll tell you why I’m going to Italy, instead of doing this self-motivated writers’ retreat at a much cheaper hideout here in the States, in the woods of Montana or Iowa or someplace. You see, I’ve always wanted to live in Italy. When I studied abroad there in college six weeks was far too short, and I decided I needed to do at least a year some time in my future life. When my ex and I got serious, I shared this dream with him, and we made it ours: when the kids were all grown up, in college maybe, we would go live in Rome or a villa in the country and spend a year learning Italian and taking cooking classes, and I could write and perfect my Italian grammar and we would bask in the beauty of one of my favorite countries in the world.
When we broke up, I felt like ALL my dreams were shattered, as a direct result of my sharing them with him and him destroying everything. It took me months to start to piece together the present, much less a glimmer of a future for myself that didn’t either include him or look like hell without him. And the most recent piece of that puzzle was Italy. That was my idea in the first place – why should it be broken because I shared it with him for seven years? It’s mine. I reclaim it. I’m the one who speaks Italian (albeit not very well anymore – I’ll be working on that this fall), and the one who knew the country better and introduced him to my favorite parts of it. I’m the one who would choose Rome over Paris every time, and did, often. I’m the one with a book to write, a career to foster, an audience to appreciate and hopefully grow. Fuck him – Italy is mine.
So, that’s the plan: a new book and a new spot. Luckily I’ll be renting an apartment in a part of Italy where I never visited with my ex, so hopefully there won’t be too many emotional landmines to navigate, but I expect I’ll fight more than my fair share of loneliness and sadness. The good news is that my best writing is often born of such feelings, so at least I can harness that nasty stuff. I’ll also be doing a boatload of hiking and yoga to try to keep my mind in a good place and my body from atrophying.
I may or may not keep you posted. Obviously priority number one is going to be getting this book out of me in decent, editor-viewable shape, but when I just can’t look at my past anymore I might drop you the odd line about the present. And in all likelihood I will be plenty active on Instagram (and therefore Twitter), providing lots of enviable views and photos of amazing foodstuffs. You’re welcome in advance.
In the meantime, please send good writing vibes my way! You guys are a lot of what keeps me going these days and I appreciate all the support and encouragement you’ve given me.
Vi amo, e spero che vi daró un altro libro presto!*
*If that’s butchery, please let me know – I need to start brushing up adesso!
PS I know I promised you a recap of my trip to London in May, but I can’t really deal with reliving that right now. I’m sorry. If you want a very brief rundown and some sense of how much it messed me up, you can get that here.
Oh my goodness how I admire you. You will have a ball. And Italy has such a creative vibe you’ll get so much work done. Wow.
Thanks, Sharon! I hope you’re right about getting a lot done – I’m already telling myself I won’t work hard enough, cracking the whip on future me.
So glad to hear you are taking the lead position! Your plans for Italy will be perfect and you will be great! Will see you soon….
Thanks, Becky! It’s always nice to know I have good people behind me <3
So excited for you! Good on you for making the Italy dream happen… wishing you flowing words and delicious gelato ahoy!
Thanks, Shauna! The gelato is a definite but the words can use all the encouragement they can get 🙂