I've just spent some time in beautiful Verona. The home of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and his Two Gentlemen of Verona, it would be a poor writer who didn't find some inspiration in this city. So why, you might wonder, didn't I post a stream of Facebook bulletins and tweets while I was out there?
    The problem with being a writer is that you can't even leave a note for the milkman without wanting it to be well written. 'No milk today' might suffice for some, but what about the back story? Why don't you want milk? Will you be away? Has your relationship with the milkman broken down? If you don't give a reason–in effect, write a short story instead of a note–will people jump to conclusions? Of course, that's an extreme example and would never happen, but I'm not alone in wanting whatever I write to be interesting either in content or form, and preferably both. Read William Carlos Williams' poem 'This is Just to Say' if you don't believe me. The result is that I prefer to think before I post, and often the moment is lost.
    That is not to say that there won't be a series of Verona-themed tweets in future, but while I'm away, I far prefer sending postcards to selfies. Postcards are directed at individuals, the images are far better than anything I could produce, and hopefully, the recipients will look at them more than once instead of scrolling past one post among hundreds of others.
    Anyway, isn't part of the purpose of holidays to take a break from home and the everyday, including social media? If you're glued to your phone or tablet, how can you absorb the atmosphere or notice anything about the places around you, or learn anything about the people? Visiting a place hitherto unknown to you allows you to get a better perspective on the place you have come from, literally and metaphorically, and discover things about yourself. Why else does Shakespeare have so many of his characters lose themselves in the forest, or become shipwrecked on strange shores?
    And with that reference to Shakespeare, I find I've come full circle. I'm now back at home and to reality. In what direction will my stay in Verona send me? We shall see.

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