writing in rome

on the way to the museum to see caravaggio’s Judith chopping of the head of Holofernes, I gave myself 4 tasks that I thought would help me work on my novel by being in the museum.  1.  look for a depiction of a contorted face and use it to help a description of a character who is feeling really freaked out 2.  look at portraits and then at depictions of stories I don’t know to make up tiny pithy anecdotes to semi-ironically characterize a bunch of minor characters we might never see again 3.  look for back-from-the-dead pictures  4.  think about this character I’m maybe going to have go to rome for less than 24 hours and what that would be like (the idea is she’ll think she’s going for a long time and get there and find out she has to leave immediately).  I didn’t do any of those things– I got interested in a dozen other things– but I did think about my mother, who had so many books of italian painting around the house for me to grow up with and I think has told me it was the only place she ever really wanted to go.  I thought about these two little xmas ornaments of little italian angels she had, one for me and one for my sister, and how sad she was when they were lost.

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