As the bells struck twelve on the 16th of September, I pressed ‘send’ and my manuscript went off into the ether. I gazed out of the window at the rooftops of Venice. An orange blouse fluttered next to some blue underpants. Striped duvets joined them on the railing and a raven haired mother shouted at the school boy below. He picked up the tennis ball and whistled at Flavio.
The smell of roast lamb drifted through the open door of our elegant apartment. Almost time for lunch with all the writers. I dished up thinly sliced roast and crispy potatoes and then guiltily filled up my plate with salad leaves. A wreath of full-blown roses flanked by porcelain angels, left enough space for the silver cutlery and warmed Arzberg plates. The first mouthful awakened my taste buds and memories of Sunday lunches were interwoven with images of masked guests arriving for a banquet at the palazzo. I allowed my velvet cloak to sink into waiting arms and held my mask up to my eyes just as…
Whoops. I’d almost forgotten. It was my turn for a walk and talk with Jo-Anne Richards. I listened intently to her advice on characterization. We wound our way along the narrow alleys and crossed over bridges. Leather shoes, intricate masks, Murani glass jewellery, silk and cashmere yarns and hand bound books, drifted past on the path to a newly discovered gelati shop.
Later, an afternoon of writing would be celebrated over Bellinis at Harry’s Bar. Perhaps the silver-haired gentleman who’d join our table, would turn out to be a famous writer. Memoirs, mysteries, passion and intrigue… The seeds of new stories all being sown in the city of masks.
Thank you Jo-Anne, Richard and Trish for creating the space at Riccardo’s magnificent Palazzo Albrizzi. Your organisational skills, as well as all your excellent creative sessions, feedback, encouragement, insight, caring… simply astonishing.
Magic is happening here and your writers look to you, hoping that this is the start of an annual tradition!