In the middle of an awesome blog giveaway, while writing guest posts, and studying how to market my books, my father called and asked me why I didn’t post a snippet last Friday. I forgot. So, in his honor, here is a piece from a novel set between Rome, Seattle, and Pantelleria. I’ve been rewriting this manuscript for the last four years, and hopefully soon I’ll decide it’s finally ready to be sent to my editor.
From Her Book:
One day, after lunch, I noticed that Giulia had left pencils and papers by the stone bench facing the sunflowers’ row.
“Do you still paint?” I asked. We were drinking espresso under the pergola.
“I come here mostly to paint. I’ll show you my latest drawings.” Giulia went inside only to reappear a moment later with a thick stack of papers. “Here, take a look.”
I leafed through the drawings, mostly black and white representation of the view from the house, a few of them architectonic details of the dammuso itself. A column, the archway, terracotta vases. “They’re beautiful.”
“Pantelleria is beautiful.”
“Do you still paint?” she repeated the question for me.
“Not like I used to.” My eyes went to the capers flowers cascading from the trellis, their alien shapes begging to be sketched.
“Let’s do it.” As if reading my mind, Giulia passed me colored pencils and paper.
We spent the rest of the day walking around, looking for objects to immortalize. The night came and I had filled several sketch pads with prickly pears cacti and bright yellow broom fields.
The morning after, Giulia found me in the kitchen, still drawing. The first light of dawn had woken me up and I had gone downstairs for a cup of espresso. The sea framed by the wooden window was picture perfect. “I had to draw this.” I smiled at her.
“What do you think about touring the island on my Vespa? There’s plenty of interesting spots.” Giulia went to the moka to fill her cup.
“At one condition.”
“Which is?” She turned to look at me.
“Only if you let me drive.”
“All yours.” Giulia tilted her head toward the dusty-pink Vespa anchored to the wall just outside the kitchen door.
I removed the chain and the rusty lock and straddled the seat. “Are you coming?”
Giulia got a bite out of a succulent persimmon, wiped her mouth on a napkin, and followed me outside. “Let’s get off of the beaten path.” She sat behind me and we left. “I’ll show you a place where tourists never venture.”
“Cool.” I followed her direction and drove the Vespa unhurriedly, toward a winding road that looked more suited for goats than wheels. “Are you sure?”
“Park here and we’ll go down by foot,” Giulia instructed me.
I stopped the Vespa under a tree and I secured it to its trunk.
“Be careful where you walk, the gravel on the road is treacherous.”
She hadn’t finished saying it that my flat-soled espadrilles slid on the gravel and I fell on my butt. Giulia looked at me and started laughing. “Care to help me?” I couldn’t help to laugh all along. It felt good.