ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Christmas Greetings from Paris. My Write...Edit...Publish entry - Feast of the 7 Fishes (Italy)

Hello everyone!

I am in Paris, enjoying my second Paris pre-Christmas season. Now the Christmas tradition in our family back home is to all gather together and celebrate this wonderful time of the year at the beach. In Australia it's always hot and humid in December, so most, but not all, have given up on the hot roast, preferring BBQ, prawns and cheesecake over the traditional fare enjoyed by those in the Northern Hemisphere.

So seeing as my holiday is mainly in Europe, I'm going to share an extract from a book I finished just before I flew out - The Garden of Evil by David Hewson, a favourite author. Hewson has been described as an author '...for those who like a sprinkling of culture with their crime thriller.' That would be me. I'd never come across this tradition before, so my Christmas Tradition tale is from glorious Italy, a very Catholic country!

The extract is from the protagonist Detective Nic Costa's, point of view. I have rearranged words so it makes more sense for the post. And in case you think I'm crazy posting while in Paris, this has been pre-scheduled before I flew out...


La Vigilia

The feast of the 7 fishes on Christmas Eve.

La Vigilia was already stealing over Rome; Christmas Eve, a pause from the rush and chaos of everyday life. 

The food: seven fishes. No real Roman ate meat at La Vigilia. It was always fish, by tradition seven types, one for every Catholic sacrament. 

On opening the door, a succession of aromas and fragrances wafted out from the kitchen, sending a strong sense of urgent hunger rumbling through Nic's stomach.

"What is this?" a guest asked.

"It's La Vigilia, Christmas Eve."

His invited guests sat around the long table in the dining room. Nic sat at the head, guiding them through the spread of food which his housekeeper had prepared. It seemed to grow with every passing minute; cold seafood salad, salt cod, mussels, clams, shrimps, a small lobster, then finally capitone, a large female eel, split into pieces and roasted in the oven wreathed in bay leaves. 

"This is obsene," someone cried.

He went to the kitchen and came back with a plate of sweet cakes and a bowl full of small presents wrapped in gold paper.

"Choose from the bowl," he said. "Then we take a little wine and go to Midnight Mass."

The cannon fired from the Castel Sant'Angelo.

He refilled their glasses with prosecco. "The cannon means that Midnight Mass is not far away. Another year navigated. Another year to come."

An extract from The Garden of Evil, David Hewson, Part 14, THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS.

WORD COUNT: extract - 225



I hope you liked my entry for the WEP December TRADITIONS blogfest. To read more entries, click on the names in my right-hand sidebar.

Seeing as I'm in Paris, I will leave you with a classy photo of that gorgeous city.


Next stop...Spain.






47 comments:

  1. Hi Denise .. it's great you're enjoying yourselves while educating us at the same time. The thought of La Vigilia sounds absolutely delicious ... and I loved the extract ..

    Enjoy Spain .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks Hilary. It sounds like a lovely tradition to me! I will enjoy Spain. Thank you.

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  2. Hope you're having plenty of fun in Paris! Thanks for sharing that excerpt... clams and mussels aren't my thing, but baby octopus are lovely!

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  3. Wow1 What a fantastic trip. And loved hearing what you do to celebrate the holidays at home. Can't imagine doing it on the beach this time of year. Happy Holidays!

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    1. The beach seems far away at the moment...

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  4. Paris? So jealous right now! We had temperatures of -30 yesterday! Not so cold today though. Hope you enjoy your time and create some amazing memories!

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    1. Today in Paris was magical...quite hot at about 8 deg. C. Wonderful to see the sun.

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  5. Hope you're having a wonderful time!! And yes Christmas when it's hot just isn't the same is it??

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    1. No I'd rather be cold. But being in the pool or beach helps the prawns go down.

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  6. I enjoy reading about traditions in general, but those involving food are my favorite! Enjoy the rest of your European holiday.

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    1. Thanks Botanist. I'm with you and the food.

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  7. Loved the excerpt. I've never heard of this author, I'm going to have to check out his books.
    Hope you're continuing to enjoy Paris and then have a fantastic time in Spain. What an amazing way to spend the holiday. :)

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    1. His writing is wonderful. His novel set in Venice is my favorite.

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  8. The prime numbers seem to occur in religious contexts in all cultures, 3,5,7 especially. Wonder why that is? Loved getting to know about this tradition. The food looks and sounds delicious, too

    Enjoy Spain!

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    1. 7 is the perfect number according to numerology...this feast sounds rather perfect. D

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  9. Sounds like you are having a great time traveling!
    That spread doesn't sound obscene to me.

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  10. Paris is one of my favorite cities in the world. I fell in love with it the first time I went 14 years ago. Only been back once since then. Enjoy, Denise.

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    1. Glad you're a fan Karen ! It's looking very fetching in the sun.

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  11. Oh, I'm so jealous! (of both your European trip AND your Australian Christmases on the beach. :))

    Anyway, I hope you enjoy Spain as much as you're enjoying France. BTW I love that Paris postcard.

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  12. I hope you're enjoying Paris, Denise. I'd love to go again. Maybe I should just jump on the train and do it. There's a direct line from Rotterdam! Nice entry! It sounds like an interesting book!

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    1. Paris is beautiful at the moment Val. Sun's out...sky's blue...all's well...you should pop down. We're off to Spain in a couple of days...

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  13. Have a wonderful Xmas in Paris. We are also leaving Australian shores for somewhere cooler. It's unbearably hot here.

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    1. It was sweltering for weeks before I left. Glad to be cold for awhile.

      Merry Christmas !

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  14. Great extract - I'm glad the weather has warmed up a tad for you on your European travels.

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    1. Yes Sally...11 degrees C tomorrow...a heatwave ! Lovely.

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  15. Beautiful photo of Paris! And while I am not a fan of ALL seafood (anything that still has its feelers and eyeballs I will avoid), I would definitely be partaking of some of that decadent spread!

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  16. Thanks Denise. Great excerpt (except the eel). Haven't been to Paris since my honeymoon in 1989 which is a bit scary. Hope Spain is awesome and have a Merry Christmas.

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    1. I'm not a great fan of eel either but some people love it !

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  17. Yum. Love reading about food. Great excerpt choice!

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  18. Hi Denise,

    The La Vigilia extract is most interesting. Makes me think of prawn on the internet.

    You make me long to go to Paris. Not that far away for me. Un joyeux Noël à vous. Next stop, Spain :)

    Gary


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    1. You should pop over Gary. No 21 hour flight for you !

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  19. Oh my goodness. Paris then Spain... I want pictures!

    This book sounds so interesting! Is this really how it is? I guess I need to read the book, LOL!

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  20. Freezing my butt off here ya know! And not having any fun. Well, its cool learning a new job, and snuggling deep under the covers. Ok, life is pretty good, lol.

    Enjoy your trips :)

    .......dhole

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    1. My mission is to keep warm. I hope you are successful !

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  21. LOL. Sneaky, sneaky--prewriting your post. I'm a little (lottle) jealous, but I hope you're having a fabulous time. Being in sunny Florida, I think the beach tradition might be an excellent one to take up--BBQ it is!

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    1. Florida would be much like Queensland. BBQ is definitely the way to go.

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  22. Loved your post, probably because I have never left the borders of the US, so reading that you are in Paris is intriguing. I haven't heard of the author, but your excerpt makes me want to seek out his book. Wishing you and your family a Very Merry Christmas and Safe and Happy New Year and safety on your trip.

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    1. Thanks so much for the good wishes. He is a great author.

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  23. Wishing you all the best! Love your pictures and the excertp! Enjoy Paris and post more pictures soon!

    Merry Christmas!

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  24. I loved the description of the La Vigilia and the 7 Fishes! I believe from your FB posts, you're already in Spain. But wherever you are, I wish you a peaceful and delightful Christmas! :-)

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    1. Thanks Lexa. i've now left Paris for Spain. I thought the 7 Fishes was interesting.

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