The Write Life: A Cottage in Italy

I was utterly absorbed in the ambient orange of Florence.

A full twenty four hours had passed since I had arrived in Italy.

Happiness set with the sun.

I had ventured out earlier in the day and gathered wine, freshly baked bread, salami and ripe peaches.

In each deli older men had humoured my attempts at Italian with a paternal gaze and quiet smiles that tugged at the ravines in their cheeks.

As I strolled back to the magnificent yellow Pension with its prized position on the hill, several men whistled out their car windows.

The whistles were nonchalant. They floated on the hot Italian air and wrapped around their pastel Fiats like tendrils of silky pasta.

My room was a small yellow cottage. It sat in a garden of wild lavender and was positioned to the left of the main building; taking in the entirety of Florence below.

Inside was a small bed dressed in duck-feathered pillows and a green knitted blanket. There was just enough room to swing my wine-giddied legs over the edge.

In the bathroom sat a pink tub large enough to fit a small human rolled sideways. It was the also the perfect size to consume messy peaches; their juice steaming the room sunrise-yellow.

Just as a sick dog needs a quiet place to die. A writer needs a quiet place to write. This cottage was all that. Without the dying bit.

Outside my little cottage sat a small round table and a single wrought iron chair.

I positioned the bottle in a grassy nest on the ground, sat with my Panini and started to write. After a while, I’m not sure how long, I looked up from the page. In the distance a bell tinkled. It was the call for dinner.

I didn’t want to miss out on my first three-course-home-made-ancient-recipe Italian dinner so I stopped writing.

I didn’t write on that holiday again. Instead, I spent a month living.

The real writing; the pondering, coffee-fuelled business of serious writing only occurred when I got home.

The clock ticked an elongated beat when I returned home. I had time.

I’m glad that I didn’t write while I was in Italy.

This seems like a strange thing to say for a writer. But truly, I’m glad.

Instead, I lived a life worth writing about.

I intend to return to that little yellow cottage with the green shutters one day.

Something tells me though, that no matter how immersed in the page in front of me I may be, I’ll never stop looking up when the bell for dinner rings.


10 Comments on “The Write Life: A Cottage in Italy”

  1. I want a month of solitude in this sun-kissed cottage listening for the tinkle of the dinner bell every evening.

  2. When I travel I write. I find it hard to make the time, as we all do, but when I start writing I am reminded of the magic around me, my eyes become refreshed, and I remember why I have ventured to such strange lands. For me, writing a travel journal (or a blog) is as much about sharing the experience as it is about integrating the tales into my life story.

    I am full of regret about the trips abroad I have taken when I haven’t made the time to write. I feel that so many moments have been lost, insights squandered! Never again!

    For me, I can’t imagine writing at home, so the thought of a writer’s retreat in a gorgeous destination is amazing. It’s even possible that I could begin to raid the memories laid to waste from unwritten adventures.


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