by Melinda Gallo

Scrittura creativa

Yesteray I went to the McRae bookstore and saw a flyer for a workshop for scrittura creativa (creative writing). I had been looking for something like that to get me back into a group of writers. I had found one course that will be held for a week in Florence, but it was quite expensive. For about 20 hours, it was $1300. I'm sure it's worth it, but since I've never heard of the instructors, it was a risky investment. I was going to look some more in Firenze Spettacolo, but when I saw the flyer at the bookstore, I knew it was fate.

I called the instructor, Elizabeth Monroy, as soon as I got home. She said that I could come to the workshop and try it out to see if I like it. I could tell she was a creative and energetic person just by our brief conversation on the phone; I couldn't wait to attend the workshop. She talked to me about two books that I truly love, "The Artist's Way" and "The Writer's Journey", and I knew that we were already sulla stessa lunghezza d'onda (on the same wavelength).

Today I walked up the staircase in the McRae bookstore to the small room for my first session; they met last week for the first time. When I arrived, Elizabeth jumped out of her seat and said, "You must be Melinda!" She introduced me to one of the other students, Irene.

Elizabeth said that while we're waiting for Angelo, she'd speak English. She asked me how my Italian was and when I told her that I'm fluent, she said that she'll be teaching the course in Italian then. She wanted to teach it in English and since Irene can understand English, she thought that she'd be able to. But, Angelo supposedly doesn't speak or understand much English, so the fate of the class was decided with or without me.

Elizabeth introduced herself to me and said that she had lived in Florence before and had gone to the University here. She has lived all over the world and decided to move back to Florence with her husband last October.

I talked to Irene while Elizabeth prepared a few things before beginning the workshop. Irene told me that she was a web designer and photographer as well as a screenwriter/writer. She has the kind of face you can't help but stare at because it just seems flawless: beautifully shaped, perfect skin, and well-proportioned. Irene quickly gave me her bigliettino (business card) and I gave her mine because we might be able to work together in the future since we are both freelancers.

When Angelo arrived, we each told the group what we completed in the past and what we want to get out of the course. All three of us have the exact same desire to keep the creative flow open instead of being a slave to it when it decides to show up unannounced.

I learned that Irene has written a few short films and Angelo has written some poetry, but would like to write screenplays. I talked to them in Italian about my few short stories that I've completed, but still haven't sent out yet, and that I'm working on a novel and a screenplay. It felt odd to tell other people about it since writing for me has always been so private, only a few friends and family really know that I write. Of course, I have my blog, but it's different.

After we learned more about each other, we did a meditation, and a small writing exercise. I love the Italian language, but I don't enjoy writing in it as much. I used to love to write in French because I think French and English lend themselves well to poetry and prose. Because I wrote my exercise in English, I just read it out to the teacher in English. The other two understood, but I felt that maybe I should've translated it into Italian on-the-fly for them to be a part of it. I'm sure I'll try that next time.

I'm so happy that I found this little group and I already feel quite close to both Irene and Angelo. People love to say how chiusi (closed) the fiorentini (Florentines) are, but I love it when I'm put in a small group of fiorentini and the exact opposite feeling comes across. Irene and Angelo are both open, creative, kind, and warm-hearted. I look forward to continuing this workshop with them for as long as Elizabeth will be holding it.

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