Today I walked two miles to take an envelope to friends who are returning to England tomorrow. It contained a Contract I had signed with Endeavour Press, an independent publishing company based in London. They have taken on “Tuscan Roots” and “Now and Then in Tuscany”. All along the dusty track I had last minute nerves: was I doing the right thing? Why didn’t I continue to promote these books myself?
As I walked, ideas for another book started to drift into my head. Inspired by abandoned houses in our valley, I feel there are stories still to be told; ghosts from the past knocking at my mind. I passed a trough that may have been used in the past for animals or laundry by the local women. In it lay a piece of discarded barbed wire, like a symbol.
And then, more ideas presented themselves and I stopped to jot them in my notebook. Afterwards, I realised I hadn’t thought this way for a while. I’ve been so preoccupied with marketing my first two books, I had no space to think of my next projects.
Once home and after I’d delivered the envelope, I felt freer and I wrote a 75 word submission for Planet Paragraph. It may well not be accepted, but it marked a turning-point for me.
“Up the track I trudge, air scant, broom and orchids withered now. Holm oaks sough in the Scirocco wind and cicadas blast my ears. By a crop of sandstone, a lizard scurries over crisp leaves. My heart thumps, the terrain is arid. I stop to guzzle water from my flask and scribble in my notebook. Perched on the Apennines, high above me, sits a huddle of abandoned dwellings. Ghosts whisper to have their stories told.”
The photo below wasn’t taken today because I was on my own and it was hot. This is Tuscany when it drizzles. The village of Gattara that I am looking at has plenty of stories and I shall weave them in. My heart feels lighter now.