Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Speaking of Dreaming: My House in Tuscany
This weekend, I re-watched Under the Tuscan Sun and it reminded me of a week about a year ago where I had my own private “Women Writers” movie festival. In addition to Tuscan, I watched My House In Umbria and Swimming Pool . By the time the “festival” was over, I was convinced that all my writing-related woes (and quite a few of my other problems) could be solved by living in a villa in Tuscany or the south of France. I got pretty specific.
In my dream, I live in a centuries-old house, with deep stone walls, high ceilings and a view of the uncluttered countryside. It is just a 20-minute stroll to the village and I walk there to shop at the market a couple of times a week. (ed.: as old houses and the terrain in southern Europe are not exactly wheelchair friendly, I’ve convenient changed my walking ability status – I’ve already placed myself in Tuscany or Nice, so what’s a bit more messing with reality?)
I have an almost-overgrown garden, with a nice stretch of lawn, large shade trees and a crumbling stone wall lined with lemon trees. In the nooks and corners of the garden are beds of vegetables and herbs, only slightly chewed up by small delicate snails. I cook delicious meals with sun-warmed tomatoes and olive oil pressed in the area. My friends and I have dinner around a large roughly hewn table in the kitchen and we talk long into the night over bottles of hearty red wine.
A little ways down the road from my house is a small dairy farm, run by an older man with a face as wizened as a winter apple and his large, silent son. I buy their cheese or barter it with writing services for his family history. (ed.: I suddenly speak fluent French/Italian) In the morning, I sit in my garden and eat the cheese with large chunks of heavy bread while the cats chase the birds. (ed.: I am no longer lactose intolerant) After breakfast, I tilt my head up against the early morning sun and drink my coffee while listening to the world wake up. (ed.: in real life, I don’t drink coffee and getting up early is against my religion) When my coffee is finished, I grab an apple off the tree behind me and go to my office, where, in between gazing out the window, I write a brilliant novel.
In my dream, it is always late summer. The sun is still warm, but hangs lower in the sky, casting a deeper golden glow over everything. The nights are getting just getting a little cooler, but in the daytime, summer clouds float across the sky, casting their shadows on the ripe fields below.
Who couldn’t write in setting like that?
Sadly, the closest I’m going to get to this bucolic scene in the foreseeable future is my new box of tissues, which sports someone’s idea of mass-produced Tuscany. Who knows… it might be inspiring.