Moments of Absence

Editing at Caffe degli Specchi on a drizzly morning

Editing at Caffe degli Specchi on a drizzly morning

Life in the last couple of weeks has been busier than I’d quite anticipated. A writing project that I’d been poking around the edges of for a couple of years finally came together, and last week I signed a contract with my publisher for a collection of essays, articles, and other (mostly) previously-published works to appear under one cover. What this means is that I’ve been busy collecting files, making sure I had permissions from original publications, and messing about with the idea of self-publishing, though that has gone by the wayside, as it is just too much work for me.

The thing about writers is, ideally, that we write. It means that sometimes we disappear into ourselves and our notebooks or computers for days or weeks or months at a time as we work our way through our projects. Stuff gets neglected. Like, say, eating and sleeping. Also, blog posts.

My printer is out of ink and I need to get some more to finish printing out the draft manuscript. I’m spending a good deal of my time editing. In a couple of cases, it means taking the draft file and the published book to make sure that the two match, because editing happened between file and print.

Admittedly, a compilation is a lot easier than starting something from scratch. I’ve got about twenty years of material here to go with, and folks who are familiar with my work are looking forward to it. I’ve been asking around for cover blurbs and have got people working on front matter for me. Once something approaching layout is done, I’m also going to have to work on indexing the book, because nonfiction books without indexes are an affront to humanity.

Poems that I composed earlier this year for an anthology were accepted, so now I’m just waiting to hear about editing, printing, and publication dates. My friend Slippery Elm is editing the anthology and he’s back in Vancouver, BC from his cave in Spain. He says he’ll be returning to Spain after the end of autumn. He also sent me Spanish translations of a couple of my poems that he likes; they look lovely, even if I can’t read them very well. I’m enjoying the bits where Spanish and Italian have similarities.

Italian metal band Rhapsody of Fire in front of Teatro Verdi

Italian metal band Rhapsody of Fire in front of Teatro Verdi

Triestino pedestrian street at night

Triestino pedestrian street at night

My brother is here in Trieste, and we celebrated his birthday last week. We went out for Indian food to a place we hadn’t been before called Krishna, which was pretty good. It’s located just off Viale XX Settembre, across the street from an Indian grocery. I was very pleased that when I ordered chai, I got an entire pot before the meal arrived, as opposed to a small cup at the end of the meal. Of course, this also meant I didn’t sleep that night, but chai is worth it.

Most of Italy right now is shut down for Ferragosto (the Italian Wikipedia site is far more informative.) and the annual summer holidays. Ferragosto began in about the year 18 BCE as a festival introduced by the emperor Agustus, as a time of rest after hard agricultural labor. Today it’s apparently associated with the Assumption of the Virgin Mary by the Catholic Church. Lots of shops are closed outright, or have much reduced hours. Quite a few of my friends are or have been out of town. Ginger, the tea shop I like, has been closed down for the better part of a month now and will be re-opening on Wednesday, so I’ll have to drop by and say hello and see how the motorcycle trip went.

The heat here has been pretty intense for me, with my delicate Northwest climate sensibilities. We’ve had a lot of humidity and quite a few thunderstorms. I’m supposed to start Italian classes in early September. The Venice Film Festival is coming up, and I might go down for a day with some friends to see a movie or two. If I go, there will be pictures and review(s)!

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Ballerina performs in Piazza della Borsa

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More dance in the piazza

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4 thoughts on “Moments of Absence

  1. Europe seems to shut down for the month of August, I can remember if you didnt get your stuff from the dry cleaners you were SOL until september..

    • Having lived in “Europe” all of my life (Sweden 25 years, Scotland 2 years, France 3 years), I don’t even know what “Europe seems to shut down for the month of August” would even refer to…

  2. Great pictures! Trieste seems like such a lively place!

    Do Italians generally do anything for Ferragosto? France closes down on the 15th as well for l’Assomption de Marie, but they don’t seem to celebrate in any particular way. Some Breton churches dedicated to the Virgin Mary have their pardons (religious festival) at that time, but that’s about it. The cathedral in Josselin (right by where we lived before, where we stopped to take pictures of the castle when you visited) for example have their pardon of Our Lady of the Brambles on the 15th, during which they parade the Our Lady of the Brambles statue throughout the streets and sing the special Our Lady of the Brambles hymn.

    • Trieste does usually have a lot of stuff going on. I’d know more and go to more if I spoke more Italian. You sort of have to have the language to find out about things for the most part.

      Ferragosto seems to be beaches and food. Of course, most of Italy is food anyway, but I think this is one of those huge family and/or friend feast kind of holidays. In some places there are horse races and other kinds of competitive stuff, going back pretty much to Roman times. There are church things associated with the Assumption, but it’s a very old holiday here beyond that, at the end of the harvest season.

      Next year I’ll know more, and know more people, and have a better handle on this stuff.

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