Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My own “footsteps into history” story

Oh dear, here’s Blechta again – and very tardy as seems to be the case too often of late. The past few days have just gotten away from me, it seems.

I really enjoy Aline’s post yesterday and have a similar type of story to hers that I’d like to share.

Last year, my wife and I went to Italy for three weeks. In honour of the trip, she learned to speak Italian – fluently. My Italian is strictly limited to bad words (learned from Italian childhood friends), more bad words (learned from my Italian neighbours), and really bad words (learned from Italian conductors). Oh and musical terms, lots of musical terms.

So off we went. Part of it was to do research for the sequel to my about-to-be-launched novel, The Fallen One, and part of the trip was to just experience this most delightful country. On all fronts, the trip was unreservedly successful – except I haven’t finished the damn novel yet. As a matter of fact, I haven’t even gotten the protagonist to Italy yet, other than in a flashback.

The Via Sacra descending into the Forum, Rome AD MMXII.
I was especially eager to see Rome. You see, I took three years of Latin in high school (not mostly forgotten), but our teacher was ex-Army and seemed to focus a lot of his teaching around Caesar’s Gallic Wars. We had so much vocabulary based on military terms, it was quite astonishing. I actually enjoyed those classes, so it makes sense that I grew to love all things Roman. Well, I actually didn’t like all the killing and crucifixions and stuff, but I find the way they lived and worked quite fascinating. Other than Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland, UK, I’d never seen anything Roman, so I was champing at the bit.

The second day we were in Rome, I wanted to visit the Forum. After a bit of research, and some guidance from Rick Steves, we approached this ancient landmark from the east, starting at the Colosseum (impressive) walking along the Via Sacra, which was basically ancient Rome’s “main street”.

To be walking the same path so many famous historical people trod was really a marvelous experience. Julius Caesar walked to work here. It was the route of all the Roman triumphs. Two days later cycling on the Appian way, we had the same experience of being where history was made so long ago.

Can I use any of this in my novel? I doubt it. Something like that would probably come across as totally indulgent, but it is tempting…


Charlotte Hinger said...

Sometimes I think I made a serious mistake setting all of my novels in Western Kansas

Rick Blechta said...

Well, there's always OZ...


Aline Templeton said...

It's always the places where people have lived that get to me too, Rick. Artefacts in a museum - yeah, OK, fine. But it's the sense of being there, with these legendary names, just a few centuries later - and what's a millenium among friends?