With its lagoons and waterways that shimmer under a brilliant Adriatic light, with its buildings and sometimes stinking water (that always makes me think of the pestilence in Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice), the city is a landscape transformed like no other.
Why clichés about creativity are hard to dislodge.
My Hopes and Aspirations Are Full of Clichés
Here is one about writers and artists: I picture someone who yearns for liberation, who bravely leaves behind their hometown, who boards a train or a steam-ship (my imagination always travels back to the 1920s) and departs for a remote island, or travels down-river, to a place where thinking can happen freely. The journey is not hurried; the hours are filled with watching the landscape slip by and with studying fellow passengers. Every vista or over-heard conversation is useful material for the work, which arrives only when it is ready: brilliant, organic, almost involuntarily. The work is universal yet wholly idiosyncratic.