Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Back from Italy!

I had every intention of writing a few more blog entries for the weeks I was away, but like was just way too hectic in those last few days before departing. I apologize for the hole on the past three Tuesdays!

So you probably want to know how the trip was. In a word, it was fantastic. My wife, whom I have taken to calling my “linguini” (a pun on "linguist") learned to speak Italian and served as my able translator. Actually, that’s giving her short shrift. In nine short months, she became fluent in Italian, and was pretty darned impressive throughout the trip.

My job was “logistics”. I read a ton of books about the cities and areas we visited and suggested what we might want to see based in the time we had available. I also had another reason for handling this facet of the trip: research.

I’m currently playing around with a novel that will be a sequel to next May’s The Fallen One, a book whose main character is an opera singer. This is the book I went to Paris to do research on late in 2008. As I completed TFO, I realized that my character’s story wasn’t yet completely told, hence this new novel. Where better than to send an operatic crime fiction novel than Italy, the birthplace of the art form?

The already completed part of the story has a few passages set in Rome, about which I was purposefully vague, having never been near the place before. As we made our way around the Eternal City, I had my writer’s hat firmly on, soaking up the ambiance, the feel of the places I am going to use. Armed with a good camera, I also took a lot of reference photos of appropriate buildings where my characters might live and visit, restaurants where they might eat, etc. And then there’s Rome’s opera house (a ho-hum structure on the outside which is all we saw) which got the full photo treatment.

A later part in the story will take place in Venice. I won’t bore you with comments about what a magical place this city is, but it has several features that I am dying to take advantage of when I come to write that part of my novel. My concern is to do it justice. So many writers have blazed the same literary trail down which I’ll be travelling. I know I won’t do it better, but will I at least be able to do something that’s true to life and captures even a little bit of the ambiance of this singular place on our planet?

I only have about 800 photos and even some video. I won’t bore you with that, but I am attaching two of Venice as a sort of teaser about what is going to happen there.

This is a place we’re already dreaming about visiting again.

I posted our favourite pesto recipe while we were gone (my one blog posting). For those who are interested, I clarified some of the instructions so that it makes things a bit more straightforward and understandable. Once you’ve made pesto a time or two, you can literally whip it together in the time it takes to bring the pasta water to a boil. By the way, we usually use linguine or fettuccine, but any pasta works. Click HERE to go to the recipe.


Pam said...

Can't wait to see the pictures!!!

Donis Casey said...

I'm looking forward to the book. I spent quite a bit of time in Italy 35 years ago, and your post made me long to go back. One of the coldest nights I've ever endured happened one December in Venice!

Rick Blechta said...

Weather was one area in which we were fortunate on this trip. No rain for 18 days, hardly even any clouds. It was hot, but generally with a good breeze and never humid – even in Venice where I understand it can get quite stifling, even in June.

As for cold, come visit Ontario in January, Donis. I'll take you north and you'll think Venice was balmy!

Donis Casey said...

I'll do Ontario in January if you'll do Phoenix in July, Rick. Actually, I'd love to go to Ontario any old time. I'll have to buy a coat, though.