I got feedback tonight from my Creative Nonfiction Workshop friends on my travel piece Shaken and Stirred in Siena. Of course it’s not perfect; in fact it suffers mostly from being two stories trying to fit into one, but the feedback was very, very positive. Most importantly, people told me that I have a gift for describing place, which is my goal – that’s what I want to be good at!
Inside the hotel, the man at the desk is formal and erect and could pass for an English butler if not for his accent and indifference. I announce myself and he offers the room key–a large steel skeleton key attached to a heavy pendulum–so I can inspect the room. He shows me to the elevator, not much bigger than a phone booth, but encircled with a helix of stairs, like something out of an old French movie. I go up to the fifth floor and find my room a few doors down the hall. It’s adjacent to the shared bath and toilet, which is damp and stony but seems to be clean and smells reasonably fresh. My room is small, with a single iron bed pushed into a corner and bolted to the floor. There’s an armoire, a sink, a bidet, a television with a screen so small I can cover it with one hand, and a window that I have to climb two marble stairs to see out of. I adore it.