Absence does make the heart grow fonder

In the same way distance gives a writer perspective. When I leave Piemonte for Lake Garda my writing feels liberated, it’s offers a fresh voice as I glance over my shoulder, in the same way I could write about America after moving to Europe. The mind opens up and flows, I feel less stifled, less prohibited in my perceptions.

We do need to get away because it helps feed the imagination, if only to miss it. In the same way we miss a lover from afar. And yet many of the people I know in Piemonte are firmly and forever rooted in their homes, their land, attached, quite literally. Not only due to logistical reasons, as many are farmers and many own their businesses, but there is something else. They hold onto to their real estate with a firm, almost fierce grip. One could argue many Italians do, but Piemonte is such a large region. There aren’t as many trains, with fewer cities to dictate and inspire travel.

This morning I spoke with a friend who lives in Rome. He teaches philosophy at John Hopkins university in the eternal city and he’s lived in this country for decades. He thinks Italians have an inate fear of moving, although one could argue so many move away, permanently, only to travel back regularly and more like a tourist. But this conversation made me meditate on their own state of fear. We all experience it, but their brand may be more intensely attached to their fear of government. Things just don’t work as smoothly as they often do in other countries because of the brutal bureaucracy.

And I think this lends well to my current project which is my next book called ‘Piemonte; the story that needs to be told’. I’m in the process of interviewing 12 Piemontese with only a few more to go. They are providing me with a story within each interview, a slice of their life, a piece of their perspective, so to speak.

When I began the project I was curious whether or not they would open up, and they do because once you put them on a platform, a stage, an Italian naturally becomes an actor. Some tribes have been talking for a very long time, like the French, and the English, etc…

though not quite like the Italians…

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