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Posts Tagged ‘Trieste’

Two things caught my eye in Trieste’s local newspaper ‘Il Piccolo’ the other day. One, the glorious Cafe’ San Marco of literary fame and gold-leafed ceiling, closed down for a month or so since its manager Franco Filippi passed away at the age of 65, is now set to reopen, after much uncertainty, under the management of his wife and daughter.

And two, that ‘la passarella’ over the Canale Grande, meant to  join Cassa di Risparmio to Via Trento has, literally, fallen short. The foot bridge was intended to open another long strip of vie pedonali through the city, so that you can walk unimpeded by cars (or boats I guess) from Piazza Venezian, Piazz Hortis, Via Cavana, Piazza Unita’ to Piazza Borsa, along past Da Pepi’s mythical prosciutto cotto and crudo, wurstel, crauti, mustard and horseradish buffet (the menu hasn’t changed much since 1897), along past the newly renovated and grand Palazzo Ponte Rosso on one side, and another now humbled palazzo inhabited way too long by the carabinieri, with a row of spectacular statues lining the parapets that look on to Via Cassa Risparmio, then tiptoe right over the canal, looking out to the sea to your left, and up to the Chiesa di Sant’Antonio Nuovo on your right, waving in passing at Joyce standing crooked but tall in brass on the Ponte Rosso, then continue on dry land past the lovely but long decayed potential piazza but currently car park where the blackened Lutheran church looms. Once this is all linked up and pedestrianised, the square could become a gem, taking you right into the heart of the Borgo Teresiano, the really neglected part of the city, where Chinese merchants by day (selling incredibly cheap USB cables, padded coats, haircuts and massages) and prostitutes by night, manage to make a meagre but evidently good enough living, on into Via Ghega, the huge artery that curls around to the station. This one road, ahime’, remains as it was when we first lived here in the early 90s and has few hopes of ever being rescued, since its now the main route around and out of the city.

The little pedestrianised bridge (so far only called ‘la passarella’ it seems) was in the news, not because of any grand opening but because a mistake was made in measuring the canal, and the ready-made stainless steel and glass phenomenon, brought intact from Treviso, has fallen a little short.

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Now they’re waiting to extend or engineer the big concrete blocks at either side. In fact, this explains the strange antics I passed by the other day, where two tug of war teams were lined up either side of the canal, pulling on a long metal chain, trying futilely to pull the sides closer together. Another publicity stunt I read about, was a magician from Italian TV’s Canale 5, the ‘Mago Casanova’,  who, in front of four young female witnesses, got into a box on one side of the canal, and appeared shortly after in a box on the other, claiming that magic can overcome these kind of shortcomings, and that he had “the gift of ubiquity”. Great!

So what of these two ‘events’? The demise and return of Caffe’ San Marco and the protracted arrival of La Passarella di Ponte Rosso (you heard the name here first)? My feeling is, just cos it’s old, don’t make it right, and just cos it’s new, don’t make it right either.

I can expand on that if you like… but for now, buona notte!

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Madonna vagone di riso, ogni chicco mille puttane!’

(The Madonna is a wagon full of rice, and each grain is a thousand prostitutes!)

When we arrived at the Nuovo Antico Pavone the other night, this was the last thing I was expecting to hear. It’s always a tough decision whether to accompany one’s partner to a business dinner, but a ‘maths dinner’ offers particular challenges. Mathematicians have a certain reputation, and scintillating table talk isn’t one of them. On the other hand, the Antico Pavone has long been hailed in Trieste as the best place to eat fish and much as I hate awkward silences, I can’t resist the promise of a good branzino.

A couple of minutes after arriving my instinct was to run away. Seated around the long table, unusually elegantly dressed and expectant, were the assembled maths crew: from Argentina, Russia, Italy, America and  India. That’s something that most people don’t realise, that the language of numbers and symbols has made maths a truly international subject and this in itself must undermine the stereotype. But what happened that evening was truly unexpected.

A world famous mathematician began holding forth, and practically didn’t stop the whole evening. But he was intensely interesting, clearly brilliant, funny and a multi-linguist (speaking English, Japanese, French and German and seeming to have mastered Italian just by being in the restaurant). He told us the story of his father, brought up in what was not yet Poland, speaking 8 languages (including Yiddish, Hebrew, Polish, German and a couple of dialects) and then travelling the world as a journalist and then member of the CIA, among other things. The details aren’t private since he wrote a book about them (the father I mean)  – and if I get permission I’ll put a link to it here. His story blended in my fuzzy yet attentive brain with the book I’m still reading, The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, about (obviously a very old) man who, despite himself, during his life had walked across continents, hob-knobbed with presidents and worked out in his spare time how to build the atomic bomb.

From here we moved on to talking about all sorts of things, including a whole bunch of proverbs which, slighlty tweaking one element, though keeping the sense, somehow change the whole meaning. For example, ‘The sun never rises on the British Empire’.

Next up was the expression, ‘Mathematicians can turn coffee into theorems’ which the brillian mathematician said he found himself desperately trying to reverse in one particular maths institute bereft of that wondrous beverage (‘Mathematical theorems get turned into coffee.’)

The Italian maths professor in front of me, who had listened in most of the evening, occasionally adding a key line here and there, said quietly “with American coffee mathematicians can only create lemmas.”

But the coup came right at the end of the evening, when during another discussion about language, palindromes, whatever took our fancy, we ended up somehow on our favourite Italian swear words, well, swear expressions really, since they can start with a word (usually a holy word, like Dio, or Madonna) and then add on all sorts of foul and blasphemous things that they hope will happen to these sacred figures (including the Madonna getting zits on her fanny for example…) The same Italian professor mentioned the best swear phrase he’d ever heard from a friend in Tuscany (apparently as well as being famous for speaking the most correct Italian in Italy, they also create the most complex and creative bestemmie):-

Madonna vagone di riso, ogni chicco mille puttane!’

It loses a lot in translation, you just have to really savour the pleasure of the syllables….

I’ve since found this great Italian site, http://bestemmia.wordpress.com which helps you assemble your own personalised swear expressions by giving you helpful suggestions for all kinds of collocations. I think my favourite, again purely from the purely poetical point of view is

‘Madonna infiammata puttana troia ladra della madonna!’

As I said, when I walked into the restaurant that night, I certainly did not imagine that this would be where we would end up.

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As many of you know, as well as creative writing courses and workshops I run residential retreats (a weekend or longer in a beautiful house, sharing meals, attending writing workshops, writing on your own). I’ve run very successful retreats for the past few years in beautiful Duncton Mill in Sussex (UK) – which has now, sadly, closed down, but today I’m pleased to announce that  I’ve found the right site here in northern Italy.

The house is above the Adriatic coastline between Venice and Trieste, in the village of Ceroglie (next to Malchina and above Sistiana) , 20 mins walk down to the beach and surrounded by woods – and with fabulous ozmizze and restaurants nearby.

The house – Casa Klarceva (a Slovenian name – and I can’t find the cidilla key for the c on the mac!) –  I’ll write a post about the history of the house later –  has been newly renovated by the fabulous Fabec brothers…

…seen here celebrating Carnevale (I’m hoping to persuade them to give us a duet on the trombone and accordion one evening..)

The house has six well-appointed (though still cozily rustic) bedrooms (all of which can be twin if so desired) . Each room has its own ensuite bathroom with fantastic modern shower, etc. Importantly, there is also wheelchair access to all the rooms on the first floor (including a bedroom with a wheelchair accessible bathroom).There’s a lovely large communal kitchen/ dining room and another wonderful cosy room with an indoor fire pit.

The house is centered around a small courtyard and the landlords sell their own salami, cheese and wine at the house (though they don’t live onsite). All rooms have wifi access and there are writing tables in each room.

So, you see why I think it’s perfect! and…. (now I feel like Steve Jobs)… the price will be roughly 100€ per day per person and will include:

  • accommodation
  • all food (breakfast and lunch provided and self-serve; dinner – a variety of home-cooked in-house, trips to local restaurants and a meal out in Trieste)
  • one 3-hour workshop per week day – and a double workshop slot on weekends

There will be various options (weekend only; non-residential, etc).

You can get all details and a programme for the next retreat (coming up soon..June 17th-21st 2010) by looking under the heading Writing Holidays.

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READER WARNING

Only read this if you’re:-

a) a train spotter

b) a plane spotter

c) any kind of timetable nerd

d) hate Ryan Air

e) hate the Stansted Express

f) hate Stansted airport

g) hate the whole public transport system in London

h) are just bored

h) and i) you live within a 1 mile radius of Acton Central station

I have been unable to write this in any kind of interesting way. I apologise. This piece is full of facts. I wanted to get them down on paper. It’s important to me. Cathartic. You’ll have to go with it. 

It could certainly have gone a whole lot better. Most of it wasn’t my fault, in the sense that if the public transport system had been working in any way whatsoever then I’d have got to the airport on time and wouldn’t be sitting at Stansted,  4 hours later, writing this and waiting for an evening flight that would get me in to Venice/ Treviso @ 10pm (still 2 hours from home), instead of the leisurely lunchtime jet set into Trieste, in time to pick the kids up from school, I had been anticipating.

Now I’m £17 poorer for the last-ditch attempt to get here in time by taking the Stansted Express (that, excuse me, is really taking the piss); £100 poorer for the flight transfer charge; £108 poorer for the kids’ clothes I bought at Monsoon to while away the time; £20 spent on books; £20 roughly on coffees, breakfast and lunch; £1.60 for the two bottles of water I have to buy since they cost 10p more than buying one; and £2.50 and counting for the 50ps I’ve fed into the weighing machine to check that all my extra purchases haven’t put me over the Ryan Air weight limit (but with a 1.9k Chrismas pud in there and 2 tubs of Marmite it’s been a challenge). 

Here’s how the journey went. I leave my lovely friends’ house in Goldsmith Avenue, Acton (London) at 7.30 this morning. Plenty of time to get to Stansted for my flight which leaves at 11.20 (gates close 10.50). Approx journey time 2 hours. One hour margin of error.

I have worked out that this time the best route will be:

Acton Central to Finchley Road and Frognal (London Overground).

Alight at Finchley Rd, spring over lightly to bus stop, catch National Express direct to Stansted. No problemo.

Flawless plan, and much better than my usual schlep Acton Main Line, Bakerloo to Baker St, schlep to Bus stop, coach to Stansted route, and preferable I think to the option of catching the bus from Acton High Street all the way to Golders Green (an hour on a double decker – no thank you!) – or to schlepping the hour over to Liverpool Street on the central line and getting the Stansted Express (totally resent paying £17 for a train that travels approx 30 miles (?) and can not in any sense of the world/word be called an express).

P.S. I am not Jewish (nor was meant to be) but I love the word schlep.

So, I dutifully set alarm for 6.30. Leave house at 7.30 as planned. Feeling pleased as punch with my punctuality even though never-ending rain puts a dampener on things.

(From now on I will highlight what I will call Public Transport Errors – or PTEs – as opposed to MPEs – My Personal Errors; that way we can all work out who is to blame for my missing the plane, and then I can plan my revenge…) 

I walk the 3 minutes to Acton Central Station. First Public Transport Failure (PTE No. 1). The train is delayed. There is no train until 8 – and then only to Willesden Junction. I could take the next train at 8.15 which goes direct to Finchley Road (but there’s no guarantee it will arrive even then).

What would you do at this point?

Reconsider one of the many options cited above?

Walk 15 mins to the High Street and catch the 260 double decker direct to Golders Green?

Walk 20 mins to East Acton and get the central line to Liverpool St?

Oh, there are so many options I could have/ should have taken. But even though I am clearly versed in all the alternative ways of getting to Stansted none of them present themselves to me. My mind is a blank. I cannot contemplate not keeping to this route now that I’ve planned it. And anyway, I have an hour’s margin. And there’s a train coming in 15 mins. I decide to wait for it.  (MPE No. 1)

I try to get advice from the very quietly spoken station attendant. I cannot understand – or indeed hear – a word he says. (PTE No. 2) I decide he is a lost cause. Several people do the same. A tall yet stocky man with an East European nose walks boldly up to said put-upon attendant and demands some answers.

“Are you sure the 8.15 will come?” he says, and then when the attendant whispers something indecipherable, persists,  

“Do you in fact know anything? Why are you standing here doing nothing when it is your job to know the answers?!”

East European looking man (who does indeed speak with a slight accent though his grammar is perfect and his vocabulary advanced) – wanders off to get some answers through his mobile phone. I decide that whatever he does, I will follow. Here is  a man who means business! (MPE No. 2) 

He (and thus I) opts for the 8.00 to Willesden. Reassuringly, masses of people are doing the same. 3 minutes later we arrive at Willesden, though none of us are sure where to go next. Here the station attendant calls confidently into his megaphone, “Everybody down to Platform 2” . That is all he says. (PTE No. 3)

“Why you all looking at me like that, why you not moving? I said down to Platform 2”, he bellows.  We bregrudgingly shuffle along, hoping we are all moving in the right direction. Then my East European guru pipes up in clear sardonic tones,

 “We are not cattle. We need to know where we are going.”

I feel he is my spokesman, I watch him closely and consider that whatever decision he makes next will be a wise one, and I will follow him (MPE No. 3).

Down to platform 2 we go.  Down the stairs, over the bridge, down more stairs. I am the only one struggling with 2 suitcases (space for all those stocking fillers I intended to buy at the Pound Shop in Acton and to assuage guilty feelings for leaving kids for a week). But at platform two we are still in the dark. It is raining miserably. I am very cold and miserable. There is no place more miserable on this earth at this moment than this miserable platform at Willesden Junction (deliberately built by sadistic train operators in a wind tunnel).

I wait here a long time, not knowing what is coming next. I find myself, like everybody else, staring down the track in seach of the train as though that will make it come. If I stop looking, it will stop coming. Nobody says anything, we just all stare down the track in the miserable rain. There are hundreds of us.

Finally an announcement. “The train to Sratford is waiting at Platform 4.” (PTE No. 4).

Platform 4?!  I’ve just come from Platform bloody 4. Up the stairs we schlep, over the bridge, up more stairs, stumbling onto the train just in time. The clock is ticking furiously. The train is packed with people coughing up phlegm and swine flu all over each other. A lady sticks her backpack into my stomach. She doesn’t feel a thing. 

(In retrospect, this was a serious MPE – since I could have simply walked over to platform 1, got the train to Euston, from there the tube to Tottenham Hale, from there the Stansted Express – except that this was not an alternative route I had ever planned…so it does not count as an MPE).

I get to Finchley Road, I find the bus stop. But I’m not convinced the National Express will actually stop here since there is no sign (PTE No. 5). Instead I see a double decker heading for Golders Green. I get on it. (MPE No. 3). As we are chugging along, stopping here, there and everywhere, but at least we’re on our way, we’ll still make it in time, the National Express (the A6 to Stansted) sails past. Damn! 

I arrive at Golders Green at 9 o’clock. Just in time to see my coach leaving. I do not chase after it waving madly (MPE No. 4 ) Instead, I check the timetable and see that another one will be along in 20 minutes (PTE No. 6). Still time to get to Stansted (est journey time 1 hour and 15 mins). I decide to wait. (MPE No. 5) 

I wait 20 minutes, 30 mins, no sign of a coach. More and more people are arriving at the bus stop. It is very cold and raining. The minging shelter is not wide enough for all of us (PTE No. 7). Even though I was here first I have no place in the shelter since I cannot stand still (MPE No. 6), and need to pace up and down looking up the road in case I can see the coach coming. If I stop looking for it, it will not come. I am wet and cold. (Did I say that already?) I hate London. I hate England. There is no place on earth more horrible than Golders Green bus stop. 

I schlep over to the National Express office (risking missing the coach while I’m in there). I am reassured by the lone man. ‘The coach should be along in a few minutes’ (PTE No. 8). I decide to keep waiting (MPE No. 7).

After 40 minutes and no coach, a would-be passenger announces to us all that there are floods on the A41 and there will be no more coaches today! (PTE No. 9 and 10) You can’t get there from here. Taxis are not an option.

Why does nobody ever tell you anything? Why are we all left to work out our options all by ourselves? I estimate 90% of the people at the bus stop are from abroad, trying to get home. They haven’t got a clue what is going on in this Godforsaken hole that is London. They want to be home in their nice  starfish-shaped hotel in Dubai (I know you’re thinking if they could afford to live in a starfish hotel in Dubai they wouldn’t be taking a coach to the airport but you can’t be sure…the wise rich man knows that if you look after the pennies..) , or they want to be wandering past their Colliseum in Rome, or picking up pebbles on their beach in Croatia. Why did they ever come to London in the first place??? That’s what they’re all thinking. That’s what I’m thinking.

And actually, I soon know for sure what they’re thinking because when I head off to find an alternative route I am followed by foreigners – and we pick up more on the way. By the end of the journey I feel like the golden goose!  

The revised last-ditch-attempt-but-already-no-hope route is as follows (I have phoned my lovely Acton friend, who gives me instructions as she googles, no point in asking any transport worker for directions..): Golders Green tube , northern line to Euston, Victoria line to Tottenham Hale, from there the Stansted Express…Now I am really cross. If I had known, I could have got on that train to Euston an hour go!!!

Clearly, my plane is a lost cause. But Antonella is going to Rome  and Sanya is going to Dusseldorf and they might just make it, if they can follow me! All right, all right. I am very stressed and bad-tempered but what the hell. We spend tense moments on the Victoria line being stared at for 10 minutes by a train engineer who doesn’t say anything. And the train doesn’t move either.  (PTE 11 & 12) Then we are told the train is unexpectedly terminating at Seven Sisters. (PTE 13) Oh bloody hell! Luckily, it’s just a spritely hop over to the next platform to Tottenham Hale.

Surely at least from here the notoriously exhorbitant ticket price will be cheaper. We’re already half way to Stansted. But no – it’s still £17. (PTE 14) How is that possible? I have to buy the tickets for all of us because their foreign cards don’t work in the machine (PTE 15). They give me cash – and coins. Great! Just when I had managed to get rid of all my change, I grumble like Scrooge.

We get to Stansted. Antonella and Sanya run off to catch their plans. “Ciao!” “Grazie!” “Nice to meet you!” They wave and cheer gaily.

I can hardly bring myself to look at the departure board. My plane to Trieste has long gone – and the one to nearby Venice has just left. There are no planes going anywhere near where I want to go for hours.

I sit down to have a nervous breakdown and a coffee. 

Tune in to the next blog to find out what happens next…this has taken way too long to tell – and I need a break!

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Oh me, oh my, is it really 3 weeks since I last wrote this blog? Feels like it too! The Other Life has overtaken me (temporarily I hope). Apart from swanning around sightseeing and eating a lot with my guests (two families have been and gone and my dad left just yesterday) I have been busy getting wordplay off the ground here in Opicina – and at the same time trying to hold on to wordplay in London. If that sounds like a painful kind of straddle that should really be the splits – that’s quite accurate. If I can pull it off (an unfortunate mixed metaphor – sorry – though worse if I were a guy…) it will be a GOOD LIFE! And if I can’t I will slowly but surely start to go mad as I stand looking out of my kitchen window onto the glorious woods beyond… 

I had toyed with the idea that coming over here I might just dabble around a bit, settle the kids in, drop them off at school, do the housework…get organised (sounds trivial but believe you me it is ALL CONSUMING) and then, in the little spaces between chores, sit down and write my pot boiling Dickensian/Joycean bestseller (an oxymoron if ever there was one). But somehow or other (even though I did sign up for NaNoWriMo – the international internet attempt to encourage all would-be-writers out there that you can indeed write a novel in a month and November’s the time to do it!) the thought of those empty hours ahead in an empty room, in an empty city…fill me with…emptiness. It is too odd to be displaced so totally and imagine that you are capable of living happily inside your own head in your own world for months on end.

Though it can be done, of course. Many writers I suppose have done it that way (though Marcel Proust clearly had a very deep knowledge of the culture that surrounded his four cork-lined walls) . But ’tis not for me. May well just be another excuse to put off doing what must be done (the writing!) but…for now, it’s an excuse that works. But oh that novel under my bed, how it haunts me! When shall I haul it out and dust it off and knuckle down???

Anyway, number one in a long list of more-urgent-things-to-do-than-write-a-novel was to try and sort my websites/blogs out. Have not been entirely successful – yet – and appreciate your feedback on this. I’m trying to nominally separate the personal from the professional. So now I have a personal blog (this one!) where I mention all my foibles, relatives, and daily battles with toilet-cleaning responsibilities as well as the above mentioned crises and procrastinations about the very thing I am supposed to know so much about in my professional life (actually this kind of painful putting off makes me very qualified to minister sympathy and tolerance to all the wretched would-be writers that come knocking on my door).

And I have a professional (aagggh..such a loaded word, that one. Show me the money!) blog which is over on the other side http://wordplaywriting.wordpress.com The idea is that on that one, I try and keep exclusively to things to do with wordplay – courses I’m running, book clubs I’m organising (magari) – and if I’m really organised I’ll also write up what we do in the courses – and get students to participate. The main reason for this is that, if you’re doing a search for writing courses and you stumble upon this blog, it may well not be entirely clear to you exactly what is going on. 

On the other hand, I am having another breakdown (similar to my earlier blog on classifying the books on my bookshelves…I told you I am an absolute nerd) about where the dividing line falls between these two blogs…all writing is writing innit? Do I put my thoughts on a book I’ve just read (Mick Jackson’s The Underground Man, for example) here – or there? Do I write up my experiences of NaNoWriMo here or there? Is it dangerous to expect people to flit seamlessly between the two? And don’t get me started on twitter??? You may have noticed – I started up a whole new twitter account so it could go on my other blog (save the abovementioned customers stumbling upon my domestic life yet again) – but there are infinite complications with this division of labour which I am too bored (and ignorant) to go into here.

Oh well.

Feels like I’ve written a different kind of entry today – even more random than usual. That’s because I have indeed been gone too long. Blogging is a writing muscle like any other – and needs exercising. Writing is always about finding the words. Not sure I’ve done that at all here. But, can’t be too precious. That was the reason for blogging in the first place.

Ta-ra. I’m off to t’other blog now, to put on my professional cap. Better have a sobering cup of coffee first…

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Have been absent from here for a week or more, just after I’d decided (realised yet again) that an hour’s writing and an hour’s jogging every day are what I need to keep me sane and happy (and so it follows that I took a week off running too). My inner saboteur strikes again. 

But there have been reasons enough. After school clubs and homework to organise, endless trips to government offices for the crucial documenti, a weekend visit from Stef’s parents, a dramatic finger-slicing accident in the woods, subsequent trips to pronto soccorso, and tetanus jabs…a needed break from the rigours of running after my heart felt like it was going to burst…a crisis of confidence (oh, when will those stop?) about blogging and time-wasting and splurging to all and sundry the dreadful intricacies of this turgid life…(esagerato, but I’m on a roll…).

The usual persistent, inconclusive decision-making crossroads about how much energy to put into starting up Wordplay again, looking for a space to run workshops (actually, update people, the wonderful Caffe Tommaseo has agreed…more of which later) or should I just kick back, and let the dust settle – oh, and how the dust settles round here….where is my duster???

You see how easily I am distracted?

And also, beneath the surface of all this activity, is the slow getting-used-to of this new home. Home is a big word. And a good word. It has nothing to do with wooden floors and a big back garden, or with cycle paths and sea views, or with the friendly greetings from neighbours and passers-by. It has everything to do with time. And we have a long way to go before we have had enough time here to make this place home.

So I am trying to balance, on the one hand, this objective sense that this place is beautiful – perfect in many ways – and the other truth that I have no roots here; I am displaced. It is a familiar existential feeling – one I first recognised when we were flying over Mexico City many years ago (1990) and all I could think was, why here? why now? why all these houses here?

It’s hard to translate that feeling.

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So this life I lead always puts me in a dilemma:

  • the freedom of being able to up sticks, move country, be here to help the kids settle in, see that they’re fed, done their homework, can tell me about their days, shout at me;
  • the freedom to be able to hang out the laundry…sweep the floor, clean the toilet,
  • the freedom to fit in around everyone else when necessary;
  • the freedom to not have a live-in au pair,
  • not (right now at least) have a cleaner,
  • not have to commute an hour to work or come home just at weekends…
  • not have to make continuous complicated arrangements for pick-ups and drop-offs and holidays and..aaah, the stress…
  • the freedom to – if I feel like it – sit down and write…

BUT there is a lot of frustration too in having to always recreate a schedule, find my place, have no fixed work abode. And right now, no real money that I can call my own, earned money. [God, this is such ancient politics – not being officially paid for housework or childcare – or blogging for that matter!]

Sooner or later I will start up Wordplay again. I’ll teach creative writing in the evenings to adults, I might teach life writing in the mornings to mums, I might teach creative writing after school to kids. I’ll run a monthly book club, I’ll find a wonderful retreat centre and run creative writing residential weekends and holidays. I’ll go back to London every now and then, reunited with my lovely students and continue my programme of day workshops.

All these things I have been doing – and loving it – and it took a long time to set up and get the numbers. Most important of all, I finally found a home for Wordplay in Acton – at The Rocket, a pub with an upstairs function room full of character where I ran the book club, the courses, the short story slam, my farewell party…Now I have to find somewhere like that in Trieste. A place that has a good vibe, feels cultural, artistic, cosy. A place that would welcome creative writers and book readers. Where our relationship would be mutually beneficial (and therefore the room would be free!)

I have to reinvent Wordplay here in Italy (which means sell myself all over again, actually, which I am NO good at).

And the other always ongoing dilemma is whether to just leave it all to settle for a while and use this space to do some writing of my own. I could. I have lot to do. But somehow the yawning undisciplined space leaves me unproductive – and even more frustrated. It’s always better to have too much to do. 

Or maybe once I have stopped shelving and re-shelving my books, once the pictures are hung in their rightful places, the bed is bought, the lawn is re-laid, the flowers planted,  the dishes done…Once all that is done, maybe I will turn my mind to higher things.

Or maybe I’ll just keep writing this blog, in between moments, when my arms are aching from too much furniture removal and I feel the need to communicate with friends and strangers in the world out there and just share the small trials, tribulations and joys of this extraordinarily ordinary life.

What a luxury!

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