Over at The Believer, a bunch of real writers have answered the two part query, "What are you working on? What's on your desk?"
Oddly enough, The Believer did not ask me, but I am going to tell you anyway.
On my desk: one mug, printed with the names of my entire high school graduating class, filled with pens; the January sheet from my Italian calendar; Donatello among the Blackshirts: History and Modernity in the Visual Culture of Fascist Italy (Cornell 2005), edited by Claudia Lazzaro and Roger J. Crum; Politica Fascista delle Arti by Giuseppe Bottai (Roma 1940); a folder titled "Upcoming Travel," in which I am trying to keep from losing my mind; my little clipped-together pad of scrap paper; yet another box of tissues (almost empty); another cup, this one bearing a photo of many of my college friends, holding bookmarks; stamps; a Birra Moretti coaster; my cellphone, whose voice mail I have recently set up and learned to access; a reminder to set up an appointment with my dermatologist; the remote for my CD player; the floppy-disk drive for my laptop; and last but not least, my laptop (and my elbows).
All of which to try to answer, what am I working on? Well, in addition to trying to get rid of my sinus congestion, I am trying to get this darned book written, about Ezra Pound and his investment in Italian fascism. That's right, folks: rejection letter #1 arrived on Friday (happy weekend), but I persisted unabashed and wrote eleven new pages on my chapter in progress, about the revival of Vivaldi's music during the inter-war years. Take that, Yale University Press!
And you? What's on your desk? And what are you working on?