Friday, 26 June 2009

Italian Dreams

My Italian teacher made the point today that when learning another language you have to exchange one set of metaphors for another because different cultures use different word pictures to describe the world. This is probably a truism in language learning circles but it struck me forcibly

It is eight and a half weeks until I go to Italy and I am counting the days. I find the Renaissance art that one stumbles upon almost everywhere one goes in Umbria and Tuscany incredibly affecting. It has impacted on my writing enormously.

That may sound absurdly pretentious considering that I am a writer of fantasy for teenagers and pre-teens; but it’s true nonetheless. The sight of a bejewelled reliquary in a museum in Cortona was the inspiration for my most recent book which will be published next year. A picture of the Annunciation that I saw in a gallery in Florence was the inspiration for an episode in my fantasy The Mendini Canticle or, as it appears in the US, The Resurrection Fields.

It is remarkable that hundreds of years after they were created these images still have the power to cause creative explosions in the mind of someone utterly removed from the world that gave them birth.

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