Pisa, Italy, Way Back When

Looking through those old photos at the United States Library of Congress, I came across this one from Pisa, Italy. At first, I thought it was of a scale model. On closer inspection, I realized it was the real thing. Look closely at the buildings and people in the frame.

This is one of those large format, panoramic photos that are a joy to look at. It would most likely be impossible to make this image today. The crowds and the new buildings would all be in the way.

I haven’t been to Italy in many years, and the last time I was there, did not get south of Bologna. I’d like to see Pisa as well as the rest of the country. Of course, Italy is one of those places like Spain; you could spend a lifetime and still not absorb it all. Fortunately we have archives like the Library of Congress where you can see such sights without even leaving your desk. This is not a substitute for the real thing. However, it does satisfy a certain need to see what’s there.

I have a bad habit of writing two or three stories at one time. I bounce between them when the mood strikes. After looking at photos like this, I’m inspired to write episodes for my historical novels (such as MacMillan Judge, Privateer). It’s fun to play in the past where you know how things turned out. The future is a bit more difficult. It leaves you worried that when the future becomes the present, your interpretations will be judged. Maybe that’s the fun of it: putting yourself out there, asking other people to give their opinion on your work. You can’t please all of the people all of the time. I’d venture to say you can only please a few people once in a while. So long as you’re happy with what you’ve done, well, you’re on the right track.

Published in: on September 3, 2008 at 2:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Ruins, Part 2

I’m working on a scene for my next novel, Under A Blue Flag, that takes place in this ruined house.

Ruins are great places for dramatic scenes. They’re abandoned, forgotten places where a character can meet his destiny or decide what it will be. If you remember some of those other posts I put up about atmosphere, you’ll know that ruins are also great for that purpose. They’re moody, full of history, reminiscent of the past, and sometimes pessimistic about the future.

The abandoned cunucu house shown in the photo above is actually in an area on the island of Aruba known as Paradera. My characters end up here after a series of wrong turns. I don’t want to say too much more out of fear of revealing too much. Under A Blue Flag ties in directly to its predecessor, An Island Away. Nonetheless, I’m writing the sequel to be a stand alone volume so that it is not necessary (but it would be a good idea) to read the first book.

Published in: on September 3, 2008 at 6:58 am  Comments (1)  
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