Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Flight to Italy

The Flight to Italy

Many of you may, or may not, be suspicious as to how one finds the inspiration to write a fiction novel.  Is it hard, you might ask?  Were you crazy, one surely could suppose? …and where do you find the time?  Having no responsibilities whatsoever and a wild imagination could certainly help but the question still remains; where do you find the inspiration?

I will start from the beginning!

It all started yesterday, no joke, yesterday—okay, to be exact it started about a week ago on a Saturday, when I suddenly remembered that I had always wanted to spend time in Europe (as I did in college), crash the art scene there, maybe drink some wine and stuff before I had things like a purpose in life or a career and I've always had an obsession with the painter Caravaggio.  So I decided I would fly to Italy and look at every painting in Italy made by Caravaggio and write a novel precisely inspired by the life of Caravaggio.

So here I am in Rome!  Sitting at a public computer lab that costs a fee of one euro per 30 mins of internet time fulfilling my previously made promise to post a blog by January 10th and boy do I have a story to tell!
(As a note, I have decided that I will use exclamation points a lot because although I don't particularly like them I believe they will motivate readers familiar with Kurt Vonnegut to associate me with him.)

Anyways, I booked a one way flight from the Pittsburgh International Airport (that now goes to France) to Rome on Saturday, before I told anyone else I had gone crazy and was leaving to write a novel about Caravaggio and see all his paintings and this is where the first problem in my carefully and un-hastily devised plan arose….

I was on the No Fly Selectee List, can you believe it!?

According to the American Civil Liberties Union the No Fly Selectee List is a select list of persons that "constantly fluctuates and is also a secret."  These persons are basically subjected to the extra hassle of sometimes not being able to check into the airport on-line.

The way that I got on the "No Fly Selectee List" was from filming airplanes taking off (hopefully to France) for a student project at the Pittsburgh International Airport in 2007, nothing suspicious really!  So I'm on my way to Rome after the added extra hassle of not being able to check into the airport on-line.  The man sitting next to me on the plane doesn't stop talking for eight hours until finally falling asleep and waking up in a mysterious puddle and we're there!

And you will never guess what happened when I arrived at the apartment I had arranged to stay in just days before!

I am not going to tell you due to possible legal percussion and mainly a fear of my own life!  This is where I found my inspiration!  It was just before I found myself stranded in some random medieval village, in the Lazio region, miles away from the city of Rome itself, when my would be landlord (whom I was convinced intended to chop me up into little bits and eat me) said that I could be "the greatest writer there ever was and no one would even know it yet!"

He said something like that.
Then I ran for my life.

Lets be honest here, I could have never seen myself blogging as I am today, mainly because the word bloooog in my mind is such a drag and boring word but here I find myself adhering to such cliches as it is just the trendy, young thing—that trendy, young writers essentially, have to do!

Here's to hopes as the greatest novelist and blogger of the 20-whateverist century we are at these days.

So after following my very specific directions to take the road on the right of the Jesus and walk down a hill I found myself exactly at the same bar (a term really more or less applied to diners in Italy) where I had originally been directed to take one of the two roads (three of which existed) that goes directly to the right of a statue of our Savior Jesus Christ and was again talking to the beautiful young woman (and only English speaker in town) who had explained to me on a crudely drawn map, directions to the nearest bus stop that looked something like this;

I am sure that I will become a fluent Italian speaker by the end of my stay!

After several hours trudging around Nowhere-o, Italy with a heavy suitcase and lap top ($2,275), 600 Euros would-be first month's rent ($767) in my coat pocket (don't tell anyone, still have it), it was raining, I hadn't slept in two days and was convinced that the next Craigslist killer was out to get me.  I had to leave this village to return to the city of Rome, immediately!  That highly recommended hostel right across the street was not for me!

I had to get out!

She laughed when I asked if there were any taxis in the village.

This woman sang to me, sei bellissima, she warmed my soul with a glass of cappuccino, free of charge, and her beautiful voice, she ordered her husband to drive me to the bus stop at a speed Mario Andretti himself couldn't have matched in an S.U.V.  Once again I was standing at this bus stop, night was falling on the side of the highway miles from Rome, just where a potential psycho-killer had picked me up in his car that morning.

Mario wouldn't let me give him money, he didn't speak any English, none of the very friendly persons in the commune of Vicovaro, Italy, 45 km North of Rome did.

I will never see them again.

I arrived at Rome (open city, it was) near midnight with no place to stay and no place to go and immediately I was at home, four months spent here at the American University of Rome in 2007 and I remembered it well, Stazione Termini was my home.  A taxi took me to the nearest hostel where I immediately fell ill and laid in bed awaiting my death for the next two days.

The thing I find to be the most familiarly Roman is the air, I don't know how to describe it but consider it similar to Pittsburgh in early springtime.

So here I am at this computer lab, it's a frantic search for another apartment, this time in the city, with hopes that my stay in Italy isn't cut short in a matter of days.  Yesterday I moved to another hostel across town (mine was a dump), the English speaker at the front desk described me as being "imperial" when I arrived and compared me to Caesar, I translated this as a compliment.

Today I don't know where I will stay tomorrow.  Tomorrow, while on the run, I will commence writing Bar Fight.  It will have little to do with real life and be entirely inspired by it.

How is it possible that the novel Bar Fight is already complete when it says on your blog that you are currently writing it, you might ask?  Simple, I brought it back from the future in a time machine!  It is yet to happen that I will find the inspiration to create the entire thing in an instant epiphany but it will happen.

I have already found a great deal of time to explore and visit the sites in Rome, hit up some of my favorite spots to grab a pizza and drink up plenty of Luna Chianti (1.35 Euro per bottle).  I'm taking this in fast as I don't know how long my life as a runaway here will last (changing hostels again tomorrow due to booking issues).  Yesterday I saw three of my favorite Caravaggio paintings at the church of San Luigi dei Francesi, The Calling of St. Matthew, The Inspiration of St. Matthew, and the Martrydom of St. Matthew.  Then I ate a gelati.  Most importantly everything written in this blog is true.  It is based on an email sent on 1/17/2010.

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