East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Crossing the Desert of August

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August is crawling nearer – and with August, the dead calm that signals that the whole country has stopped, and it will be in a state of half-life up to the first decade of September.
A relic of another time, when the whole nation stopped for the vacations at the same time, the Italian August sargasso is to me, this year, a true nightmare.
Work on translations and such has dried up in the last few days… useless to start a job in July, when then in August everything will be frozen in the leaden ennui of a dead country.
Better to postpone all contracts and discussions.
We’ll talk about it in September.


It’s always been like this.
Offices work half-time or close altogether, the already erratic public administration becomes absolutely unreliable, the country is caught into the forced cheerfulness of crowded beaches and mountain lawns. Everybody has to show a merriment that is there, one thinks, to mask a dull cover of boredom that fades into desperation.

For a lone freelancer, living in a mortgaged house and without any more margin in the bank, this is the edge of nothingness.
One full month, more like forty days without work, while the bills pile up.
There is no use complaining, no use looking for a way out.
Nobody is there to listen.
They are all on vacation.

All one can do is keep working on the ongoing projects, eat once a day to save money, and hope for the best.


I already compared the Italian summer to a desert to be crossed keeping a strict control over one’s resources. Right in this moment, the next well looks so far I have no idea how I’ll reach it.
But I’ll make it, of course – one way or another. There is no other choice.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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