Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Our continuing efforts to make a home in Italy – and write about it
We’re back in Montecarlo! In our own house this time. With lots of stuff to make it homey—we brought four checked suitcases each weighing the maximum 50 pounds and two carry-ons that probably weighed just as much, since we put the most dense items in them, knowing that they wouldn’t be weighed.
Why, you might ask, did we need to bring so much? Don’t they have stores in Italy? I’ve pondered this issue as well, but only once, because Lucy didn’t appreciate having her expertise called into question. And then I kept quiet, because two points are absolutely clear. First, Lucy knows far better than I how to make a house a home. And second, a happy wife is a happy life.
I figured that if I’m going to drag my wife to Italy for three months every year, I should gladly make some concessions to her desires as well. Making a home, being a wife, mother and grandmother—these are all things that give her pleasure and that she does extremely well. So I kept any doubts to myself, and now we’re both happy and looking forward to new adventures.
And what will we be doing for the next three months? Good question. In the five previous trips, I have done enough genealogy to satisfy most of my curiosity, though I will continue my gradual efforts to find more dead and living relatives and expand my knowledge of the family tree, just for the heck of it. Hopefully, we’ll get a little more proficient with our language skills. Now that we live in Montecarlo proper instead of the three miles outside the city, we will be able to integrate a little better into the Italian lifestyle. We’ll stroll around the city, meet shop owners and neighbors, eat gelato, drink espresso and cioccolata calda, and find new ways to appreciate Italian culture.
I also have another goal that I have told a few friends but never mentioned in my blog: I want to publish a book about our adventures in Italy. Over the past three years, I have written a 141,000-word manuscript and had some friends read it and help with the copy editing. Last spring I made some efforts to find a literary agent but came up empty. During the summer and fall, I made zero progress on refining the manuscript or searching for a publisher because of the demands of my work schedule. That and the fact that I want to live a normal life and see my family in the fall and early winter has given me little time to think about my book project.
But now here I am, with little possibility of working on my business, my yard or seeing my American family and friends. I need to figure out how to get my book into print, or at the very least, on Kindle, and now I have time to develop a strategy and work on it. It’s not an easy project, and I think I haven’t mentioned it in my blog previously because there is always the chance that I won’t succeed. I could fail quietly, with few people knowing I even tried. By making my plans public, I risk some embarrassment if I don’t succeed.
But it would be cowardly to keep quiet, and I think the story of my quest might be informative and entertaining, so from now on I will include some details of my book publishing efforts. For those of you who follow my blog, I am open to suggestions, encouragement and any other help you can offer. More details about my plans will be set forth in the next few months.