Dani Shapiro
March 21, 2010


Each year, for the past four years, I have traveled with my family to Positano, a small village on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, where Michael and I run a writers’ conference.  We fly to Naples, then drive an hour south, along narrow, winding roads, hairpin turns, one way streets until finally we arrive at our friends’ hotel.  We’re shown to our room, and are drawn immediately to the windows.  We open the shuttered doors to our terrace, and are greeted with this:

And instantly, I start fighting the feeling–you know that feeling–of the ticking clock.  We are only here ten days, a small voice whispers.  Ten days!  A long time, but already the minutes are slipping away.  As I wrote in Devotion, I am longing for the moment I’m in, even as I’m in it.  I see this quality in Jacob as well.  He is aware of time passing, moving into the future, and too often missing the present.  Each day, since arriving here, I have unrolled my yoga mat and moved through an hour’s practice.  Be here, I remind myself.  I sit cross-legged on the floor and breathe in.  I am breathing in.  Breathe out.  I am breathing out.  Right now, the sound of a guitar amplified in the distance.  The water is still.  A dog barks.  The students–thirty of them, from all over the States–are arriving to this same view, this gathering of writers.  Some of my favorite people are here, and some new friends as well.  The time will pass, but the moment is here–and there really is only one way to live it: right now.