On Italian time, the work of the imagination feels slower and more contemplative. My mind became chameleon-like in the best possible way at Civitella. Writing is a solitary act, but over six weeks, it felt like I was continually in conversation with everything around me, from the landscape to the people, while at my desk. That kind of collaboration is impossible, but it exists. What got unlatched was a feverish but clear-minded flow of ideas that marched onto the page whether I expected them to be there or not. I allowed myself to break out of habits and move sideways into surprising ways of thinking. Unlike ideas arrived together and found a link. I hadn’t known I could be so prolific in so concentrated a time, but there’s something about the castle that set free my sense of what was possible in myself. Perhaps I felt unusually cared for and a little in love with the experience, and so allowed myself to embrace the good and the strange and the unlikely in my mind. Eventually I decided that the castle was a kind of lurking spirit, and wanted to insert itself into every page, so I let it.
Crossing the Tiber
09/04/2023: Diane Mehta’s “Tiny Extravaganzas”
05/20/2022: Poem by Diane Mehta in the New Yorker
07/13/2021: Poems by Diane Mehta in Art/Light Magazine
07/09/2021: Diane Mehta in the New Yorker
06/24/2021: Diane Mehta’s “On Chanting and Consciousness”