Why writing is like the Palio
Gaudenzia, Pride of the Palio, by Marguerite Henry is a middle grade book. My daughter has been holed up in her bedroom reading it
every night. When I saw the title, I asked if I could read it when she was finished because the setting is in Italy and I love Italy.
The book was an absolute delight and I found myself thoroughly engrossed the whole way through.
What is the Palio? It is a horse race that takes place two times a year in Sienna, Italy. Once in July and again in August.
In the Palio, horses must handle a tough course. The horse and jockey train and practice and work hard to get ready for the Palio. To win,
they must have speed and determination. If a rider falls off during the race, a horse can still win.
In my daughter's book, the main character, Giorgio Terni, grows up with the dream to ride in the Palio. He works hard for his father on the
family farm and later trains horses for the Palio. One day he is asked to be a fantino (jockey) and he doesn't win at first. But he tries again
and again. He wants to become one of the best, a Vittorino (Victor) and one day he succeeds and wins. And then wins again.
How does he achieve his goal?
By three things: Determination, perseverance, and the belief that he can do it.
Writing is similar. You work hard at your craft and persevere at getting better.
If you are determined and believe in yourself, you too will become a Vittorino.