My first adventures as a writer came during a week-long writing retreat in Italy. We journeyed to a farm just outside of Dumenza, Italy for a picnic in the Alps. Our bus weaved through narrow streets, climbing mountain roads where the edges disappeared from view. We twisted our way to a point where the bus could no longer go and hiked the last miles along a narrow dirt road.
This trek up the mountain path represents the validation of my dream to be a writer. I was a year into the creation of my novel and had a firm image about the setting:
“The village below resembled a painting, set against sweeping mountain ranges. The buildings huddled together, as if clinging to the mountain side for protection against the harsh winters. Even the castle appeared tiny against the spectacular backdrop of spiraling peaks.”
As I emerged from the heavily wooded road into the open, one of the truly extraordinary moments of my life occurred. In the distance, situated between the mountains, lay the village from my book. I stood, lost in a combination of awe from its beauty and puzzlement that the image so clear in my head already existed in the Northern Alps of Italy.