Tuesday, January 12, 2010

La Serenissima

I despaired when I thought of this theme. I don't have a muse, I wailed. If I had a muse, I'd have her propped on my desk, hanging in front of my eyes. I'd know about it, wouldn't I?

Oh, yeah. Then I guess I do have one. Just one.

Venice is my muse.

In front of my desk, hanging on the sliver of wall that divides my two windows that look onto our street, is a map of Venice. Not that I need one, though. You could dump me in Venice with no money after travelling for seventy-two hours straight and I could have a place to stay and a hot meal within twenty-five minutes. That's not bragging; that's the happy, happy truth. I love the city with all my heart, and I'm as at home there as I am anywhere in the world.

I know a few (a very few) of her secrets. I've taken people there and said, "Follow me," and turned down back alleys, leading them down labyrinthine trails that open onto astonishing vistas that the normal tourist would never, ever find. I know secret patios and when Marco will give you his homemade grappa (hint: it's when his wife is out of town and don't fall for it).

I know how to be there alone. I know how to smile darkly and how to pretend to be one of her citizens, so that Italians ask me for directions (which I can actually give).

I know how to be there with a lover. I know how to fight passionately after too many bottles of wine and cry alone under the Doge's watchful eye, and I know how to make up and dance at midnight in Piazza San Marco while ignoring the rose vendors hawking their wares.

I barely notice that the map is there in front of me, until I'm sitting at desk, stumped. Bored. Wondering why the hell I took this stupid gig.

Then I think of Venice and promise myself a trip. You know. When I'm Really a Writer. And I am aMused again.

* I took this shot during a solitary trip from a little pizza joint I like just under the Accademia Bridge. Notice what's IN my glass of prosecco? Look closely, if you please. I didn't see her until I got home and developed my film. That's my muse, right there. Yup.

9 comments:

Sophie Littlefield said...

ahhhh, this has made me start thinking about where I would like to go someday to reward myself for finishing something big. Junior read this with me and she says Cairo....

Lisa Hughey said...

this is a fun new fact about you...i've never been to venice, would like to go, now i know who to go with.... :)

Adrienne Miller said...

I love Venice. Love. Love. Love. I've only been there once, but wow. It's not like any other city. Not even close.

Kristin said...

So when are we going? I'm all in. :)

Martha Flynn said...

I'm going to need some head time. It'll take me 2.5 weeks to get there via train/cruise/train/car.

Juliet Blackwell said...

I went to Venice years ago, with my mother. I was twenty-one, just finished with a year abroad studying in Spain. We had an incredible time, but i remember thinking it was too bad that I wasn't there with a lover, rather than my mother. Now, so many years later and with my Mom lost to me, the memories of that time in Venice with her are among my sweetest.

I still vow to make it back with a lover, one of these days. I think Mom would approve ;-)

Rachael Herron said...

Juliet: I dropped my mother when I took her to Venice, into the acqua alta -- it was high tide, and we were up on those high platforms that they erect everywhere all over town when the sirens sound. They're one way, all pedestrian tourist foot traffic going one-way this way, and the planks just next to them going the other way. We had high boots like the locals did, though, and I thought we could just jump from one to the other, because I wanted to turn around and go the other way, but I misjudged the distance and dropped her a little, so that she was soaked, up past her waist. Men grabbed her and pulled her up, saying "piano, piano." She was so FURIOUS with me that I took her to the Florian in San Marco and bought her a fifteen dollar glass of prosecco and promised that I'd take her back to the hotel to change, but by the time she finished her glass, she was pink and giggly and very taken with her adventure and mostly dry and wanted to keep exploring and poking her nose where it didn't belong into Venetian gardens whose doors didn't close all the way.

Joan said...

Thank you for the lovely photo of "my" prosecco stopping place - La Serenissima is like nowhere else. And, as you already are Really a Writer, when are you going back to her?

Stephanie said...

Oh wow, that is indeed an inspiring muse. I was lost in your beautiful description. Your next book BETTER be based in Venice so I can get lost in more than a few paragraphs. Bonus: Numerous trips MUST be made for 'research'. Write off! :-)