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Updates from Rome writer, Linda Lappin

Dear Reader and Writer Friends,
It has been a while since I sent out a newsletter. I hope you and your loved ones have been well in this difficult period and that you have found the time for reading & writing projects, and for nurturing your creativity. We spent the months of hard lockdown in Rome, watching the coming of spring from the balcony, looking down upon a mostly empty street, where occasionally an ambulance pulled up with the siren off, and a man in a hazmat suit hustled into a building. We were lucky in Rome as cases were few. We were only allowed to go out for essential shopping, dog-walking, a short jog around the block. Even the parks were closed, so we found ourselves longing for green, trees, and the sea. At the end of May, restrictions relaxed and we couldn't wait to escape from the city, but our first attempt was daunting: the car battery was dead, the snow tires had to come off, and our car insurance had expired –but when we finally made it up to our getaway place in Tuscia, it was an enormous relief. Walking round Lake Bolsena, gazing at the trembling leaves of lindens and poplars, I felt as though I had never seen trees before.It will be some time, I believe, for me anyway, before travel, workshops, and retreats will resume. In the meantime, here's the news on my writing projects and some recommendations and suggestions for your own.


My new novel, LOVING MODIGLIANI: The Afterlife of Jeanne Hébuterne will be out from Serving House Books on December 15, 2020, in paperback and ebook formats.  The book is already available for Pre-Order on Kindle.  Jeanne Hébuterne has intrigued me ever since I saw a show in Venice where her work was being exhibited for the first time since her death in 1920. This novel springs from the research I did on her life, which led to my essay: MISSING PERSON IN MONTPARNASSE, nominated for a Pushcart prize. In its early stages the book was structured as a work of historical fiction set in Jeanne's era.  But then, it took an unusual turn, and added a fantasy element, with Jeanne's ghost narrating part of the story. I became increasingly interested not only in ferreting out the facts of her life, but also investigating the myths and confabulations that have sprung up about her, and the afterlife she has had in memoirs, exhibitions, films, art auctions, over the past century. So from a historical novel, it became a genre-bender. The first section owes a lot to the fairy-tale/ myth of Amor & Psyche, a story which has fascinated me since childhood.


I was deeply immersed in editing my new novel during the lockdown phase. Opening the PC and slipping into the world I was building helped keep me sane and I referred to several creativity mentors while working on my projects. Here are some reading suggestions if you're looking for fresh inspiration.

If you don't know the work of Susan Tiberghien, you are in for a treat.  This writer has dedicated her life to exploring the wellspring of imagery and stories residing in the unconscious mind. Influenced by Jungian psychology, she has mapped out a method to lead writers to their creative source through  exercises drawn from myths, fairy-tales, mandalas, alchemy, and dreams. Her approach is akin to my own in THE SOUL OF PLACE. I had the great pleasure of taking her workshops at the Geneva Writers Conference.  I highly recommend her books Writing Toward Wholeness, One Year to a Writing Life, and Looking for Gold.

Perhaps the reduced pace of life during lockdown has given you more time to observe, reflect, or just seek that inner space where words resound with greater reverberation. Like me, you may have found yourself writing or reading more poetry.  If you have never written poetry before, but would like to delve into that inner stillness from which it flows, you might try the approach outlined by Robert McDowell in Poetry as a Spiritual Practice: Reading, Writing, and Using Poetry in Your Daily Rituals, Aspirations, and Intentions. Beginners and published poets can benefit from  Robert's  ideas on how to wake up through poetry.  Or perhaps you have used this time to keep track of these very different days, which have become our new normal, by journaling.  Writer and life coach Jennifer Troester, former participant of one of our workshops, offers an insightful itinerary of "rewriting your story" through healing and self-discovery on her blog.



I have been pleased to hear from writers and bloggers who have found inspiration in the exercises in The Soul of Place. Urban Naturalist Van Waffle who blogs at Speed River Journal writes: "The Soul of Place by Linda Lappin has transformed the way I experience and write about nature." Van's blog is accompanied by stunning nature photography.


From far off Australia, Coleen, freelance travel writer and photographer, writes "Linda Lappin's excellent creative workbook helped me find the soul of place... I believe you can find the power and magic in a place if you take the time to attune to your environment. According to Linda, finding the spirit of place includes using all your senses:  seeing the patterns, feeling the textures, the smells, the light, feeling the air moving around you, the ground beneath your feet, hearing all the sounds — in your natural environment. It's also about being conscious of the history of the landscape and reflecting on how you fit into this space, this location, this community. Connecting identity and place. What better way to discover all of this, than to create a garden? " Her perceptive blog, "A passionate life," reminds us that poetry is hiding everywhere.




Netgalley users may access a free digital Advance Review Copy of  Loving Modigliani with this open widget which will be available until March 2021. You'll need to make a free account if you aren't yet a member of Netgalley. Be sure to vote for the cover.