Everyone has a book they love. At least one book has touched you in a way that other books have not. Over the course of my lifetime there have been many but most recently the book I fell in love with was Brunelleschi’s Dome: The building of the Cupola in Florence, by Ross King.
How much do I love this book? Well, it contributed to a major change in my life, inspired and awakened new things in me and has taken me on teh path I find myself on today, writing a film based on Ross‘s book. He is a master storyteller and I have since read many of his other books as well.
Ross’s book was originally handed to me by Toronto structural engineer Morden Yolles, a man who has constructed many great buildings and worked with some of the greatest architects of our time. His wife Edie, was a filmmaker and Morden often spoke about how hard a time Edie had in the film business. One day after many conversations about architecture, Italy, the masters and film, Moden handed me Edie’s copy of Ross’s book.
“You know,” he said, “edie always thought this book would make a great film, Why don’t you make a film about it.” That is where this journey begins. A widow in his eighties hands me a book, and I swear he was on the edge of tears. It’s a moment that struck me, one that still brings emotions when writing or thinking about it today.
So, about nine months after that and after having read that book a few times, I packed that book into my suitcase and travelled to Florence to seek adventure and enhance my knowledge.
About five months after I moved to Florence I had a wonderful experience. Ross King and I had been in touch over Skype and e-mail and he was coming to Florence to do a private tour with some visitors to Florence. I invited him to dinner and he accepted.
I cooked a meal and we sat across a table exchanging ideas about Filippo and his life, I asked a few burning questions and we had a great time. I’ve been to visit Oxford where he know lives since then and we still trade e-mail. Maybe it’s the Canadian in both of us. I grew up in the damp, cold, snow covered, Canadian capital of Ottawa and he is a Prairie boy from the vast open skied province of Saskatchewan.
Toward the end of the night I shared the story about Morden and at that moment it dawned on me. I looked at my bookshelf and my trusty copy of Ross’s book was right there and I pulled it out to illustrate my story.
“it would be a great thing if you signed this book to Mordy and I could ship it back to him.” Ross, of course obliged and wrote an inscription on the inside cover for Mordy. It was wonderful of him to do it and in the ensuing week, I popped the book in the mail and shipped it back to Mordy in Toronto.
I like when stories are like this. As I remember it now, it only makes me feel lucky and blessed. I like it when things come full circle and I think other people do as well. There is a sense of calm and completeness to that story, while I hope that the one I am writing can have the same sense in the not to distant future.