Somewhat cynically I had thought of titling a post “Advice to Intending Authors” and then creating a single word post “DON’T.”
Books always get me like this with a vow: never again. And then, a year later that damn writing addiction takes over. The bit that I never relish is the way a book takes you over body and soul and it seems life can only begin anew when it is finished (and you are too). It is not easy for those around either and, for that, I apologise.
I am not alone for I know many authors and there exists this love/hate pact between them and their work. Some are like me and have to clear off everything else so that there is no feeble pelagic excuse remaining to which they can pathetically clutch before going under and start…others (the liars) claim to be disciplined about word counts per day. My trip to the UK put the proverbial mockers on any rhythm of writing and it has been hell to try and regain that. But the incentive “you no finish you no makee money” drives one on.
For the first time in a week I ventured forth further than the ditch that borders our land and from whence the birds are currently giving voice. It was clear but bitterly cold on the rough hillside where I encountered a sea of coltsfoot flowers. Theirs is such a ‘happy’ yellow -probably because it is early in the year and a beacon of hope that things are, at last, starting again. Crocus blooms in city parks at one stage of life and tiny dune forms of the dog violets with cowslips at another have all performed the same spirit-lifting function. Then, this morning, to drive the point home there was a single peacock butterfly plus a large tortoiseshell, a scuttling pair of Italian wall lizards and a few violet carpenter bees… the day is so much better already.
I have remarked often that one of the (many) aspects of Italy I like stems from beginning a day and never quite knowing how it will pan out if, that is, you are receptive to the opportunities/diversions offered. It has something to do with the general chaos endemic to Italy where entropy levels are higher than most places but it means things are never get ‘boring’.
Yesterday, I heard a loud bleating outside as I was working… OK, pause for Welsh jokes: yep, music to my ears, family visiting and so on. It heralded our neighbour Silvano who works in local government as a ‘day job’ but being a countryman/shepherd is his vocation. We have become good friends; he likes what we have done here being true to an old property and not indulging in the usual makeover and stops by to see the progress (or not). We, in turn, manage to pass near a cave he uses as his winery…and where he can often be found – a couple of beakers of his best white and nothing seems to matter much on a warm afternoon.
We talked, as we do, about advancing spring for he is tuned into the signs, and of the likelihood of snow – his meteorological sheep move to higher ground instinctively where snow-cover will be blown thin. I mentioned we had heard foxes and their eerie romancing most nights of late…he asked had we heard the wolves, too? What, had I heard correctly…wolves? In fact, one night a week or so ago he had lost eleven lambs to these scheming hunters. Silvano is a countryman through and through and listened patiently to my wondering about feral dogs, humans in search of a bit of cheap meat…he had seen the tracks and heard them.
Last year we read of wolves that had moved within reach of Orvieto from Apennine heights some 25km distant as the crow flies under cover of strips of woodland connecting much denser oak forest… All it would take is for these animals to cross the autostrada and there are lots of tunnels if they did not feel up to dodging traffic. I shall watch for any signs.
As a final comment on unexpected nature I have included an image of a fungus – its habitat is not immediately obvious for it is growing out from under the laminate on an old table which supports a chop saw indoors…in my workshop! In the two weeks I was away, whatever fungal spores had invaded when the table was left outside in the summer seemed to have taken hold and thrown up fruiting bodies. I admire the sheer resilience of nature – even more persistent than a wagon-load of Jehovah’s Witness in search of converts to earn themselves another rung or two on the Stairway to Heaven.