July 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

In case anyone has been curious about the state of my novel – that thing which I came to Culonia nearly two years ago to write – I am pleased as punch to tell you that it is going very well. Very well indeed! I finished the rough draft a couple of months ago (huzzah!) and am now looking for agents (the opposite of huzzah!). Between teaching and travel writing, I’m deep into the revisions of said book; my routine at the bar still sacrosanct. For all intents and purposes, Caffè Girasole might as well be my second home, so deep is the imprint of my ass on the chair at “my” table. The staff tells my visiting parents that I’m “family” and routinely slip a gummy candy into my hand along with my receipt. My friends know that the bar is where they can find me, and they pop in regularly, unannounced, and when I’m not looking, pay for my Lemon Schweppes. My friend Andrea – prisoner in arms of the 7:30 A.M. commute to Rome – tells me, People see us together and they say, “We’ve seen that girl at the bar.” You have a reputation. Everyone knows you as that foreigner who writes at Caffè Girasole.

I can think of worse reputations.

And even as the summer heat wears on and I find myself stymied by revisions, even as I find myself fighting waves of icy fear – I’ll never find an agent. Nobody will like the book. This metaphor I thought I liked is derivative crap! – I can’t help but be proud of myself. Even if it’s true that nobody will like it, even if it’s true that I have only months of rejection ahead of me, I’ve still written a book. I made a commitment and saw it through. I created something. I kept a promise to my six year-old self.

"Holy mother of God, it's cold out. Why don't you find some nice young man - I don't know, one of your friends - and take him to bed with you? It'll warm you up."


"Look. Stop working and look at me. I had surgery on my hand and it really hurts."

"Look! Look! Stop working and look! The baby wants to steal your hat!"

"Hey! Stop writing. Take a picture of me outdoors, wearing your hat!"


"Hey! Look at me! Here's a picture of me when I was the same age as that good-for-nothing guido behind the bar. I keep this photo in my car. Look! Just try and tell me that I wasn't better looking than that dumb sack of crap behind the bar, I dare you!"

Yes, I made something in that bar. Just don’t ask me how I did it.