When one runs away from home (the drudgery of daily existence) to seek adventure or at least a place to write uninterrupted by (the drudgery of daily existence) one learns many things. Or to be more precise confirm what you already knew. Things that define the drudgery of daily existence get amplified to the level of longing.

Nostalgia, longing for something actually rooted in the desire for an imagined place, object or person or objectified place or person. If we are as quantum theory suggests strings or coordinates of space and time or as biology suggests cells or as digital algorithms would prefer us to be—maybe not having an imagination is sublime if that imagination causes dislocation.

If I could at this moment return home with three clicks of the heels of my ruby slippers would I do it? And once there how much happier would I be, for how long would I not be nostalgic for this place and this time? I know without a doubt having my cats about would thrill me, feeding them, washing their bowls and cleaning their litter would not. I know for certain I would not able to write for hours distraction free. I also know having to think what to make for dinner and the before and after bits of preparation (ordering on Seamless.com) plating and cleaning up are not what I miss. So, what do I miss? I miss my often annoying partner. What would I miss? I would be nostalgic for the large terrace, the sound of the sea. The clumps of ancient buildings sort tossed together like building blocks, the vegetation that at the moment is attacking my over-saturated histamines. I never even considered the pollen I ran from would follow me here in spades (something to say about fate).

I have adopted my husbandish’s (domestic partner of 26 years) picadillo. We met around the time he became a Baal teshuvah—a secular Jew who returns to traditional observance (sort of). He will not eat shellfish, treif. Over the years due in part to his influence I have cut out most shellfish or bottom dwellers like octopus that to my surprise are very popular in Sperlonga along with calamari, tiny clams and mussels. What comes first the traditional local foods or the tourist influence? Wine is another shocking oddity. Here in Italy of all places, wine is served by the glass or the bottle, no carafes or quartino served in New York or the brilliant two size millimeter glasses served in London or Berlin.

In soma—in short as the Italians say and tonight I am making this quick since I find another thing I always knew to be fact at least for me. I can either write or blog. I am not capable of doing both daily. I have been writing or more to the point revising my manuscript as planned. Nothing can beat that. Before I arrived, I added a repeating event to my iCal. REMEMBER YOU ARE HERE TO COMPLETE WOMAN MAKING MANUSCRIPT!!! Yesterday after reading an article on The Beat Generation in the New Yorker, I added a quote to my daily reminder from an essay by Louis Menand on Jack Kerouac. “Kerouac did not create the published book in a single burst of inspiration. It was the deliberate and arduous labor of years.” I’ll let that sit for now.




Slowly I lose my enchantment with Sperlonga. Perhaps I may not visit again never mind buy something here. Aside from my usual fickle seesaw between of rising and dropping discontent/contentment my aversion for crowds may be the reason for this recent swing. Sunday although less than the day of the Festa della Repubblica there were certainly a lot more people than today Monday when I finally catch up with me journal entries.

Families packed in the beach with many lovey children, toddlers and new fetuses in utero that I find it impossible to believe the supposed population crisis reported in United States and here in Italy unless the only babies counted are white and they seem plentiful. The manufacture of strollers and car seats must be a booming business unless the products are reused since the space between each new child does not exceed two years. Gestation appears to be less than nine months among many siblings even counting multiple births.

I am no doubt lonely with this overdose of solitude. I thought digital – cellular always in touch would abolish at least change the sense of loneliness I experienced when I lived in Rome when the digital age was not a glimmer in any eye except perhaps sci-fi writers. Neal Stephenson presented the concept of tablets – 3-D printers – manmade islands and video billboards in The Diamond Age published in 1995. He had the glimmer of the near future in his vision set in China or some far Eastern land. In my analog world even, my iPhone did little to relieve my loneliness on a solo visit to Rome in 2009. All that I thought would fill the emptiness of separation from my cats and hubandish fails to fill the early morning, late afternoon and bedtime gaps. The solitude of writing cannot be escaped.

I started the new book “Album” of Roland Barthes previously unpublished correspondence and essays. His circle included the French Intellectuals of Literary and Feminist Theory almost forgotten into today’s anti-intellectual political environment. He knew everyone from Foucault his close friend to Kristeva and Lacan—most impressive (for me) was his friendship with Michelangelo Antonioni. Intellectual in the present global Nationalist/Populist political climate ranks among the top of the state enemy list for propaganda to infatuate the masses with the concept of Exceptionalism.

No one seems to want to be reminded of critical thought. Consumerism—the brain as a depository for reproduction rather than creativity but this is just one link in the recycled human condition littering the vortex. One of hotel’s two lifeguards nailed it when we spoke. He said New York City lost its soul. He said the same about Rome. The word for soul in Italian is anima derived from Latin to mean breath, vital force, spirit and of course, soul sold for connectivity—worth trillions on the Nasdaq to social to Facebook selling our likes, Google our searches limited by their SEO ranking pimped to algorithms. We are AI even the digital immigrants cannot escape the vast web.

Mad Max may be the only possible scenario to rescue humanity in a post-apocalyptic reboot where god reigns his wrath down on the men who created him in their image then lost the thread of centuries of striving albeit limited then as now to a privileged few in all since Classical Greece—the Roman Empire—Middle Ages—Renaissance—Romanticism—Enlightenment—Modernism and Post-Modernism.

Besides I am nauseated from breakfast. I need to eat an amazing salad for lunch. My self-imposed solitude wears on me today. I woke yesterday morning from a nightmare I cannot remember except for the confused deaths. I should have written it down, but I was too dazed.





I am here – in Sperlonga, Italy on retreat – sola. The intent is to write. The subject is the manuscript, A Book of Repeated Beginnings: Woman Making. A book-length lyric essay that juxtaposes, history and memoir with literature to explore recurring cultural patterns. Historical zombi pennies that always show tails up.

This is fucking crazy, how did I come up with this plan driven by discontent (my default mode). Desire pushed by curiosity irritated by anger and resentment wanting to escape – to flee – what I find too sad to leave behind. The stronger pull is to write in solitude away from the distractions of daily drudge. Did I need to travel so far away as Sperlonga, at such great expense?




I had to prove I can still seek out adventure although the manufactured risk is minor created in narrow confines amplified by comfort prodded by the anxiety of baggage real and created by my obsession with the logistics of transporting my baggage. The fear that after an overnight flight as I dozed into deep sleep from the swaying of the train some-thing might go missing.

Emotion held back, dammed up by the busy beaver’s constant endeavor, threatened to break to swamp me in the deluge. The past months since February, on the last night, already feeble, mother sank to the floor in her rosy box of an apartment. She fractured her hip. The anesthesia sent her down the rabbit hole tattering the remnants of tentative normalcy. Her declining engagement with life until three months edging on four turned her into a statistic. Only her innate body anchors her ghost dancing on the liminal rim. When I speak about her it is in past tense. Everything she was did not survive the fall. She cannot walk. She needs total assist in daily life activities, reduced to sleep arms bent at the elbow. Her body mass shrunk from not eating except puréed mush in shades of gray and orange accents spooned into her toothless mouth. Her dentures too large.

We were never the ideal representation of the mother and daughter relationship, except at the end of the spectrum. My entire life I never heard her poetry. She possessed not rhyme nor reason, only the insatiable need to find her lost father in disappointing men. My father the direct opposite of her the Mafia Don worked long hard hours as a laborer. Then he went – pushed out. She must have fallen for his good looks. He is still handsome at ninety-three. His great smile and personality. Head-over-heels she tumbled into bed where fate sealed our family’s lot.

____** ____

This is how love poems are written…

                       At a distance from the beloved

you are

                                                 Only in separation can I possibly discover our

                                                                       Inseparable bond

____** ____

And here I am sitting in the plaza next to the Hotel Aurora, on the first night in Sperlonga at a restaurant waiting for dinner. I hit a rough patch this afternoon.

Difficulty in the beginning

Great success.

It was that liminal time of the afternoon between things. My head woozy from cross-Atlantic travel about ready to split, ready to buzz, to spin out of control. I dozed lightly half asleep I pushed out of bed to take a quick walk on the beach. The tide in the narrow strip of sand crowded. In and out under the moon’s influence, adjusted daily for to the curve of the earth rotating on its axis in space and time makes experience.

This day, two rolled into one began yesterday. Part one began in New York flowed seamlessly into the early morning arrival at Fiumicino Airport. The possibility of seeming ridiculous struggling with oversized luggage. The only bumpy patch resolved on the way to the airport last minute on the drive to JFK  in the rain overwhelmed with the idea of finding myself pinned face down under the weight avarice I reserved a taxi online adding prodigality to my transgressions.

I cannot indulge in this favola again. The cost of these two weeks can only be resolved with a completed manuscript.