I began writing Name Me by Your Identify as a diversion. I had completely no thought it was going to be a narrative, a lot much less a novel. One April morning I used to be dreaming about being in an imaginary Italian villa overlooking the ocean. It was a real-estate fantasy: a swimming pool, a tennis court docket, fantastic household and pals, plus the attendant personnel: a prepare dinner, a gardener and a driver. I had even picked the home from a portray by Claude Monet.
All I used to be doing that morning was scribbling away in my journal earlier than selecting up the place I’d left off engaged on an bold and difficult novel that I had promised my writer I’d ship by 31 December of that yr. It was only a distraction. It didn’t “depend”. I actually wasn’t going to provide it a second thought previous breakfast.
All of it has to do with my persona: I lack the self-confidence that permits so many artists to take themselves and their work critically. As an alternative, I’m by temperament irresolute. I enable my thoughts to skid away from demanding initiatives looking for pleasure, any pleasure, partly as a result of I can’t consider I’m truly engaged on something that significant. No surprise then that, whereas pursuing an bold novel, I ought to dabble with just a few sentences a few home in Italy overlooking the ocean. Only a few sentences, perhaps a few paragraphs, perhaps even a contact of romance, however actually no more.
And but I discovered myself writing not a paragraph or two, however 4 pages that morning. This was enjoyable. Often, I fuss over each sentence, each clause, each jolting cadence. However right here I didn’t should reply to anybody. All I needed to do, which I at all times beloved doing once we rented a home in Tuscany, was think about mendacity on the very fringe of a swimming pool, one foot dangling within the water, listening to classical music on my earbuds, and quietly enable myself to float means. Only a few paragraphs, nothing extra – I promise.
However as I stored writing about Italy I used to be not unaware that I used to be principally turning again the clock by greater than three many years to my very own childhood rising up in Egypt. With out an Egypt transposed on to the Italian shore, none of Name Me by Your Identify would have been doable. The pages I used to be writing have been letting me take my household’s seaside house in Egypt, and everybody in it, to Italy. My troublesome dad and mom, barely altered now, have been shipped to Italy as nicely. My late adolescence, which bristled with so many unfulfilled wishes, additionally landed on the Italian shore.
Sooner or later that morning I knew I used to be on to one thing. True, I used to be on a deadline for one more novel, however this was irresistible as a result of it was precisely like love. I fell in love with Elio, I fell in love with Oliver, fell in love with their love and with this complete new world I used to be cobbling collectively minute by minute. That morning, after showering and getting dressed, I emailed the pages I’d written to my pc at work. I couldn’t consider the rest. I’d give this three, perhaps 4 months, not a day extra.
• Discover Me by André Aciman is printed by Faber (£8.99). To order a duplicate go to guardianbookshop.com. Supply costs might apply.