Il rinoceronte, Pietro Longhi (detail)
Rewriting Venice today, at what should be (roughly) the halfway point of the novel, the scene where I indulge in my uneasy fascination with the moreta. It’s the black mask above, which hides the woman’s face completely, and keeps her from speaking—it’s held in place by a bit or a button clasped between the teeth, so speaking means revealing your identity. There’s been hints in the research about the kinds of situations such a thing creates, especially during a period like Carnivale when much of propriety and social niceties go out the window. See too its earlier cousin, the visard.
How many times can you fall in and out of love with a manuscript? With Talassio and its sequels the process seems never-ending. But we are getting there, now. Part 1, England, is done save for a few hints of foreshadowing and a dash of fact-checking. Venice is shaping up the same way. Then there’s three last scenes to rewrite . . . and then I can start letting go of the whole thing. I need this book done, otherwise I’ll never get to the second, which means I’ll never sleep properly again ever because of all the half-formed scenes for books 2 and 3 crammed into my head.