Faces, names, numbers

Whoever has been to Palermo will probably remember its hot, dry air, its bright sky and its light-coloured stones, as well as the animated street vendors and the aging monuments. But would you remember the price of mussels in the Vuccirìa market? Of course not, unless you made a note of it. How many columns does the cloister of the Domus Carmelitana near the Ballarò market have? And what about that seafood restaurant you stopped at? How many chairs were there? Ten or twenty-two or fifty-five? And what type of hairstyle did that lovely waitress have? And what was the name of the street?

This is not a question of obsessing over details but rather of developing good writing habits. Whoever wants to write about travelling must know how to take notes on details: such as the number of chairs, the colour of someone’s hair, the name of a square or the price of a train ticket. All of these details will be helpful when you actually start writing. Then, you will have all the elements you need to write and can choose what to keep and what to omit.

Claudio Visentin and Guido Bosticco

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