Part 1 of 3.
It's been a week since I posted and in that time I went from a high to a slump. Part of it, I think, was the blur of disassociation that often takes hold of me after three weeks on the road, when the transitions stretch my imagination thin and the layers of my surroundings pile up into an almost threatening montage.
Part of it may be the fever I came down with in Florence, a stupid fault of my own due to inadequate clothing and excessive enthusiasm on a particularly chilly night. The cold leeches out of the ancient stones at night here.
I fought it off over one long delirious night, my burning brain conjuring visions of Caravaggio dying of fever en route to Rome in 1610. I suspect it wore down my immune system though, because I've been a shade sluggish ever since.
I made the move back to Rome a few days ago, arriving just in time for an archetypal sunset over the forum. I've been mostly working on photo shoots for a book project since then. I tried to write, but everything came out garbled and disconnected, so I discarded it all. My head is also stuck in the Renaissance and the projects here are completely unrelated to the ones I worked on in Florence.
So, this was transition again, an existential state I've been experiencing - and writing a lot about - these past few years.
I'm also a long way from home, by more measures than just the miles.
The usual cure for fracture like this is a walk around all the usual places, only those walks the past few days have resulted in me noticing how much has changed. (It's like the frustrating-for-everyone habit I have of walking into my study at home, and instantly noticing if a book is missing or a chair moved.) I'm staying, as always, in Subura. This used to be a scruffy little district in the valley between the Esquiline and Viminal hills, a redlight area when Julius Caesar grew up here and later where Nero went whoring. Only now it's gentrifying, and there's vintage stores and tattoo parlors and record stores. The future flattening is creeping in.
I used to think Rome would never change - couldn't - so this must just be my state of mind, right? (Cont'd...)