A few years ago, I received an email from JoAnn Locktov inviting me to contribute to a book project about Venice that she and esteemed photographer, Charles Christopher were putting together. Honored to be asked, I accepted and was then sent a series of photographs taken by Charles. I was to choose one as inspiration and then compose a short piece.
I remember opening that email and marveling at the photographs. Each was stunning, mesmerizing. Charles had captured the ethereal essence of Venice in ways I had not yet seen.
Stirring my memory, they transported me back to the first time I visited. Venice is not just a city, it is an experience. An evocative watery labyrinth where one can wander for hours, days, even weeks at a time. It holds a mystery that is difficult to express in words.
I explored it for the first time in winter. A friend had urged me to wait until Spring, to wait for balmy breezes and geraniums in bursts of crimson along the canals. But I didn’t listen to her, I imagined that a city of such grandeur would bear gifts regardless of the season. I decided it fitting to ring in the New Year on Piazza San Marco, a countdown to midnight I will never forget.
However, the Venice I had preconceived, the one I knew from TV programs and guidebooks did not match the Venice that greeted me. Indeed, there were magnificent buildings and bridges and gondolas waiting with striped shirted gondoliers, but I sensed something deeper about this floating city that I could not name. Photos meant for tourism did not capture its complexity, its moodiness and mystery.
I spent those few days studying the interplay of contrasts. Life and decay, sun and mist, busy campi and empty ally ways, ever shifting shadows and illusions. I simultaneously loved it and felt wary of it. I knew it would be a place that would haunt me, call me back to reveal its depth in small, magical doses.
I am happy to announce that Dream of Venice, with a forward by Frances Mayes, is now available and has already garnered esteemed reviews. (See J. Michael Welton’s review in The Huffington Post!) I am honored to be included among a notable list of contemporary Venetophiles including Peggy Guggenheim, Patricia Highsmith, Erica Jong, Julie Christie and Woody Allen.
A percentage of all the book sales will be donated to Save Venice Inc. to support vital art and architecture restorations in Venice. Since its founding in 1966, Save Venice has funded the restoration and conservation of more than 450 works of art.
If you love Venice or know someone who does, don’t miss this treasure!
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