Tag Archives: Fivizzano

I’m teaching fiction, but Fivizzano really exists


Buongiorno from Italy. The writing workshop I’m teaching is run here, at the Watermill at Posara. I’m tutoring students on story structure, plot twists, character development, suspense, dialogue, and, generally, how to create worlds out of whole cloth. When I told a friend I was offering this course in an Italian town called Fivizzano, she said, “You’re making that up.”

Nope. Here’s proof. Above: the town, with the Apennines rising behind it. Below: Posara, the little neighborhood where the Watermill perches above the river.


Yesterday before dinner I hiked up a winding mountain road to get these photos. Coming around a switchback, I spotted something unexpected: a wrecked blue Ford station wagon halfway down the ravine.


It looked empty, and nobody was moaning from the nearby trees. I quickly returned to the Watermill and asked if anybody had heard screeching brakes, or a crash, or sirens. Nobody had, anytime in the past few days. At the local pizzeria the night before, the fire brigade had been jovially enjoying dinner — they didn’t look like they’d been on any tough rescues. One of my students said she’d gone running up the ravine earlier in the week, and the car was there then. So I don’t know any more about the crash, or how long the car has been there.

It’s a mystery. Maybe I’ll try to integrate it into my writing course.

It’s a tough job


But you know what they say.

Austin-Houston-Munich-Pisa sounds like a relay team. It’s the route I took to get to the Watermill at Posara, near Fivizzano, Italy. And when the last leg of the journey takes you over the Alps, you don’t complain.


Now I’m getting ready to spend the week teaching a writing workshop, and helping the students rassle all their words into shape. Here’s the 17th century Italian setting where we’re going to work. Pity us.

Someone’s gotta do it


This week I’m teaching a writing course. Just down the hill from this charming village. In Italy. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.

More news, and more answers to your writing questions, once I’ve given the students more devilish writing assignments. Or eaten some more gelato. Something like that.