Sunday, October 4, 2015


Rome is full of spots like the above that make you think, Hey, let's fix this place up and I can live there!

Other differences from home: I went to make scrambled eggs the other morning and a cunning chicken feather was attached to the shell! Check out as well the delicious hunk of olive bread.

I totally, totally lucked out vis-a-vis the place where I actually am staying: The Pettinari Home in Campo de' Fiori. You can find it on airbnb.

It's on the third floor, on the courtyard side of a building that dates from the 1600's except with wifi, an espresso machine, a hot shower, and even a tiny washing machine that is just right for traveling.

Last night I was in bed or so I thought for the night when I was overcome by a sudden urge for ice cream. People, I threw on a pair of jeans and a wrap, dashed down to the street, walked a few yards to the local gelato joint, purchased a pineapple sorbet (3 euros), and strolled across the Ponte Sisto to the next bridge north and back around watching the moonlight on the Tiber!

a partial view from my window

window frame and curtain

there's a market steps from my door with cheese, meats, juice, cream, dried pasta, produce and
fresh bred

here is where I have spent an inordinate number of happy, HAPPY, hours

this used to be the oven

I arrived in Rome so bone-tired that I could have been hospitalized. Not just from the flight (LA to Dulles to FCO), which wasn't nearly as bad as I'd anticipated, but from the whole year of being displaced, of traveling, of speaking, of writing a weekly column, of what seemed like incessant, unremitting noise: leafblowers, boorish neighbors, dogs with loutish, coarse-mannered owners who, in the middle of a crowded city, don't know enough or care enough to train them.

Also, I'm a major introvert.

So part of what has been wonderful is that I haven't had to talk to anyone. What an unbelievable treat not to understand what anyone is saying, which I find goes a long, LONG, way toward cultivating goodwill.

What an incredible treat not to have to hear myself.

What an incredible treat to have the time and solitude to read.

Remember reading?

Some of my most treasured memories are of just such serendipitous interludes, often a single day, when "real" life was suspended. One was in Bangkok, probably twenty years ago now, where I'd gone to visit my brother Tim: the book was James Kelman's How Late It Was, How Late. A second was in Woodside, California, at a writer's residency. I'd been writing eight hours a day for weeks and one day I finally collapsed: that time it was Walker Percy's The Moviegoer. In Taos at another writer's residency, we were snowed in and for one whole luxuriously glorious day I lay in bed in my pajamas with Sense and Sensibility.

In Rome what I'll remember is lying in bed with a breeze coming through the window, and the gentle squawk of the seagulls, and Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye :

He swung around and gave me a vicious look. “You like it in jail?”
“It’s not too bad. You don’t meet the best people, but who the hell wants to?


  1. Heather, from your description I feel like I'm there with you. A bit of heaven with my cereal this morning. Now, may I see a picture of that tiny washing machine?

    1. I'ts an Aquamatic 3.5 kg, pix online and I'll try to remember to take a photo of this one.
      Thx, Suzanne!

  2. This is exactly what I needed to read, Heather! In desperate need of solitude - of silence! - but finding boredom within the walls of my apartment I wonder where I might find this rejuvenating solitude. I've tried hiding behind baggy clothing, going to coffee shops I haven't a history of frequenting, and visiting my library, but everywhere I turn are the friendly faces of MidWesterners, quick to engage in conversation! I say reading this is just what I needed because you, here, provided me with a solution to my needs! I'll mosey my way to Canada where I will be surrounded by French-speaking, Michigander-haters, where there will be no expectation for me to engage in conversation or anyone friendly enough to approach me! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Chi miigwetch!


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