leggiamo e leggiamo (we read and read)

Ciao Lettori! Check it out – I am actually updating semi-frequently! Hope you’re all enjoying this sunshine & bel tempo as much I am.

We discussed travel writing in class on Monday with 2 teachers from the English dept. and the discussion/readings were really great. I think the biggest fear I have is that I won’t be able to appreciate everything we see because I’ll have my head in my notebook. They advised me to learn to “jot” and then compile my thoughts at the end of the day. Good thing I’m bringing my computer because I’ll be writing a lot. They also reminded us to insert ourselves and others into our writing – without reference points (or people), our accounts would lack life (literally!).
I’m also really conflicted because one of the professors advised us not to take any pictures; knowing we won’t have those concrete memories will benefit our writing. Yet I can’t do that. I’m all about the photos. Even if no one ever sees them (which is unlikely), I like to have them because some days my memory does fail me. I’m not THAT worried about completely forgetting everything, but because we are flying through the city by the seat of our pants, I don’t want to forget the small details – the architecture, the fruit stands, the store awnings, etc.

For Wednesday, we’re reading a short story by Edith Wharton called “Roman Fever” which was actually really good. It started out a little dry and in my head I was complaining endlessly, but I promise you it gets interesting halfway through and continues to hold the reader’s attention until the end, which is the best part. And I don’t say that in a mean way – the way Wharton maneuvers the dialogue, the ending is unexpected. If any of you out there have some free time, I highly suggest reading it:
The story is also a great example of travel writing, as I’m sure we’ll discuss in class tomorrow. Wharton intermingles the personal and the factual/visual, while also weaving a great storyline. Her characters describe the Roman Forum as they overlook it and recall the memories from past visits – I almost felt connected because that is just what I will be doing in May. I already know that I’m going to be much more involved in my visit this summer than when I went in high school. All I remember from that past trip is walking around the forum, complaining it was hot and looking for places to sit that weren’t ruins. The lack of interest I had sends me reeling now that I’ve been studying Ancient Rome so intensely.

Nota a margine! (side note): My “adopt-a-site” group has chosen the Basilica of Constantine and Maxentius, one of the largest standing ruins of Ancient Rome. This is one of the monuments I remember from my previous trip. I also remember that I didn’t know what it was nor did I care so I’m excited to get a second chance at honoring its history, because it is (rather, was) a spectacular building.

Ci vediamo!


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