21 January 2006

Why Tuscany?

How many times have you read some comment that regards Tuscany as THE writer's paradise? What makes Tuscany so appealing? Is it the connection to the Italian Renaissance? Is it the magnificent vistas? Or is it the buon cuisine?

Am I the only one who doesn't share this fascination with the famous Italian villa visited and written about by such notables as Elizabeth Barrett Browning, D.H. Lawrence, E.M. Foster, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Frances Mayes, Laura Fraser, Erica Jong and Lawrence Ferlinghetti?

Much of the literature I've seen in association with Tuscany as the ideal writer's retreat tauts the villa as the perfect place for inspiration. But, doesn't inspiration come from within? Surely, it can be prompted by grand architecture or decidedly different cultures, but why Tuscany? What affords this place with such license on creativity? And, how many writers feel let down once they arrive in Tuscany, let down from all the hype that fell flat?

Personally, my ideal place of inspiration is a cabin in a mist-locked forest dripping with mosses and vague shapes in the distance, a place where I can take late morning strolls along deer trails and picnic with squirrels. Simple fare would feed me well enough to keep my mind in motion, some oatmeal mornings and soup suppers laced with warm beverages. Ahhh, my Tuscany: devoid of people, full of life, and packed with natural architecture.

What is your idea of a dream writer's retreat?


Anonymous said...

I think the idea of a writer's retreat is entirely individual, as you proved with your version in comparison to Tuscany. I can see the appeal of tuscany---but personally, I prefer the rocky mountains (rain or shine), a cozy restaurant/cafe, or even more concievable finding inspiration where I am right now. At this very moment. Ashland has provided me with plenty of material, but I have learned it is not generally until I move to the next place that I am capable of capturing my feelings for where I am at. I have written more and understood my relationship with Wyoming more now, than I ever have before.

Anonymous said...

I think the ideal retreat is my home. If I had more time to be here (less work, less school) I think I'd be a much more productive writer. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

I'd like Kyle's mossy-roofed cabin a million times more than some chalet in Tuscany, but if you stick me in the woods somewhere I'll be out playing in said woods all day.

I once read that Dumas had his servants lock him in a room of his house to force him to write. He was completely naked. There was nothing in the room but a desk, a chair, and pen and paper. That sounds like it might work for me, too.


theresa said...

I like the idea that we all have our idea of retreat. I think I could probably make something happen in your cabin in the woods just as easily as a villa in Tuscany .... or maybe tuck me into a corner of a busy NYC coffee shop, or a hotel room off the interstate in the middle of nowhere.

Rell said...

just checking in kyle, seeing how things were -- haven't heard from you in a while.

K High said...

I think I'll post an appropriate response after I've actually visited the place for myself in September...

Until then, wherever you write should be the environment you desire. Many people need quiet, and maybe Tuscany provides that - not sure, but I won't knock it til I try it!

Thawtz said...

in regards to what k high said...quiet works best for me, in a sense. my writer's paradise has always been the dark, accompanied by the backdrop of music in my headphones. i seem to write more freely when i do this. now, if i can only get back to it... i'll be able to finish a current project.

Kyle Stich said...

Thanks all for your take on writer's retreats, and I think all are correct; it all depends on the person.

K High-look forward to hearing your take on Tuscany. I hear the food's superb and the wine's not that bad either.

Theresa-you know, I've read of several writers who taut the magic of a locked hotel room.

Robert-I think I might fall into the same trap of traipsing through the woods, too.

Rell-I have been meaning to post on RELLevance, a great piece about the unhealthy nature of worry. I'll get it for you soon.