It was 9 in the morning. We were a group of friends from seismically solid England spending a week in a Palladian villa in Vicenza. Our expectations for the day were nothing more challenging than agreeing which old towns to explore or where to have lunch. But now we were dashing out of our bedrooms and bathrooms, all calling out the same - obvious - question. Was that what I thought it was? Is everyone all right?
Gradually we got on with our day. In cafes we glimpsed news footage of tumbled buildings, traumatised faces. While we were merely shaken and stirred, a town just 50 miles away was smashed to pieces. The tremors carried all the way to Austria.
And they didn't stop. If you padded to the kitchen in the small hours, you'd catch the lamps all rocking again.
A theme much visited on this blog is what turns you into a writer. I'm not sure there is anything so sudden or obvious as a transformation. I think it's a default, a response in your essential nature like running in panic or deciding everything will be fine. What was the first thing I did when the earthquake struck? I ran my internal thesaurus for the right words. What am I doing now? I’m telling a little story to grapple, as we did every night, with the fact we escaped something far worse.
Thanks for the lamp pic (above right) she_who_must
Roz Morris is a bestselling ghostwriter and book doctor. She blogs at Nail YourNovel and has a double life on Twitter; for writing advice follow her as @dirtywhitecandy, for more normal chit-chat try her on @ByRozMorris. Her books are Nail Your Novel: Why Writers Abandon Books And How You CanDraft, Fix and Finish With Confidence, available in print and on Kindle She also has a novel, My Memories of a Future Life available on Kindle (US and UK) and also in print. You can also listen to or download a free audio of the first 4 chapters right here.