Hand Made Souvenir!

Florentine Scribblings

Well, I’m departing the grand old US of A tomorrow for the last spring break of my undergrad career. I’m going back to Florence (!), this time to visit my sister, who’s studying there (though at a different school than I did).

I recently finished up one of my sketchbooks, but was faced with a dilemma. The one I bought latest is…well…massive. It doesn’t fit in my carry-on, and like hell am I going to lug it across the city (even though I would if I had an art class there…). Anyways, I had a few lineless moleskine notebooks lying around, so I decided to use one to make a trip journal/sketchbook.

I love to write and draw, but rarely do I have a small notebook with me. I’ll be carrying this one so I can sketch and record silly comments whenever I want. I’m also going to tape in all of my train tickets and museum entry passes, restaurant cards, store names, etc.

I am so looking forward to this trip. I cannot wait to return to my home-away-from home.

In which Beth goes to Hell (merrily)

Florentine Scribblings

I have the greatest term paper topic ever. I’m taking a class on Dante, Petrarca and Boccaccio this semester, and for my term paper, I get to pull together my own version of Hell.


So what does this entail? Well, May’s short story will be written by Thursday (nothing like a little pressure). And I get to explore Hell, complete with my own guide, decide which sins end up where, the punishment, and so forth. It’s going to be great.

At this point, I’m part of the way through Hell. I’ve been through the antechamber, down through the first two levels. By this afternoon, I’ll have made it through all six. Why six? From what I remember from my Biblical literature courses, six is an imperfect number. There will be seven sections to my Hell, and an eighth section occurring outside of Hell (creating the seven days of one’s life and the eighth day of the Resurrection…what I’ve learned here in Florence).

Well, I’m off to Hell. I’ll be back soon.

Hurray for Art!

Florentine Scribblings

My muse has been a bit confused lately. To draw or to write?

This week, my energies are transferred to the first medium. One of the wonderful aspects about living in Florence is the numerous art museums, each begging to be explored. I find myself returning to the Palazzo Pitti at every chance I get. Why? It’s never as crowded as the Uffizi and there’s a rather large collection of Andrea del Sarto’s paintings, including one of my personal favorites, San Giovanni Battista.

San Giovanni Battista


Anyways, wandering through art museums always piques my creativity. Whether through drawing, or being drawn completely into the moment captured in marble or oils. There’s something contemplative about del Sarto’s works that makes me stop, stare and wonder.

I’m entering an art show in Florence. My submission is a ‘reinterpretation’ of this piece, a bust portrait in conte crayon. Plus, my paper is larger–100x70cm. My room has turned into a studio, with sketches and reproductions strewn across the floor.

I’ll post pictures after the show–I’m not sure what the rules are regarding photos of the work prior to the event.

Nothing like a beautiful day…

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

Spent the afternoon outside today, reveling in the glory that is la primavera. Italy has finally decided that it is spring, and the weather is warm, the sun shining, and the sky sans clouds.

Days like today make me glad, happy, content to be alive. That, and it fires up the creative juices. I’d like nothing more than to sit and draw or write. So, I drew some this afternoon, after returning home from a long (painful) walk. New shoes kill the feet.

Having to draw for art is getting my mind thinking about my WIP. My MC, John, is an artist (no doubt because of ALL the art I’ve seen and drawn). He looks at things and wonders how he’ll capture their essence. He’s different from my other characters (and such a sheep…). I think I’ve determined that I like him, but wish that he would be a bit stronger. I guess that may be what this story is about, in the end–John discovering his strength and learning to question things.

I think I like this story. I just hope that it finishes itself up this month. I’m getting too many introduction scenes–I think I’ve had John introduce himself three separate times. Not having an end in sight is a touch disheartening, but I suppose I just need to enjoy the ride.

On getting lost (or, exploring)

Florentine Scribblings

Yesterday, two of my flatmates and I decided to go on a quest. Our Grail was the Coop, a large supermarket outside of the Florence Center. We took a wrongish turn and completely missed the supermarket.

What we found was something better.

In our wandering, we stumbled into the outskirts of Florence. Gone was the hustle and bustle of the tourist district. Instead, there was a magnificent calm. Sure, cars and scooters rushed by with the same sense of urgency, but the street vendors of San Lorenzo were no where to be seen. No catcalls, whistles or hawking of wares here.

It’s the Florence known to the locals. We found schools, not only universities but elementary schools. We listened to kids at recess, found another train station, and just were overwhelmed by the peace. We could see the mountains from there, the buildings, the smaller towns. The buildings are shorter, less crowded together.

I might just move here one day.

First Impressions of Florence

Florentine Scribblings

With a decaying elegance, the buildings sprout from mountainsides. The new exists beside the dead, mere ghosts of their former glory. The houses move and progress, pieces forgotten and discarded like exoskeletons.

There is a dusty, beat up loveliness to Florence’s walls. Exquisite grace exists as one with colorful, stringy graffiti. This is a place well loved and well lived in. From the earthly marring, the buildings rise tall, stately and solid.

There had been doubts. Concern that this wasn’t where I belonged, that I should have been going elsewhere. But as I made my way from Pisa to Florence, a calm fell upon me as a blanket. This is where I ought to be.