Seeking Sara Summers and St. Francis of Assisi

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seeking sara summers

As the author of Seeking Sara Summers, I would only change one thing about this quotation and make it inclusive. So not only He but  SHE who works with her hands and her head and her heart is an artist! My character Julia would be glad I made that distinction. seeking sara summersWhen I saw this reference it brought back lots of memories. When I was working on my novel, Seeking Sara Summers, (published in 2008) I was fortunate enough to go to Italy to do research, where the novel is partly set. I went to Florence and Siena and the tiny town of Assisi, where St. Francis lived and died. It was an amazing trip and one I’ll never forget because it was like I was accompanying the main characters of Sara Summers and Julia David on their journey. Below are a couple of photos I took while I was there. I could imagine Sara and Julia walking these same streets and alleys. More photos can be found on my website. Assisi

Assisi 2

Thoughts about Seeking Sara Summers? Questions? Please post your comments below and I’ll reply personally. 


  1. Love the quote and I haven’t read it before. Can’t wait to go to Assisi. On my short list!

  2. Hi Barbara. Assisi is a gem. Much smaller than I expected, but very rich with history. You can picture him walking the streets there. May your “short list” get even shorter!

  3. From one of our lovely email subscribers: “Hi Susan–Ah, St. Francis of Assisi! He has such a warm place in my heart. At
    one time in my life I joined the Franciscan Order of nuns. I was very young and
    did not stay long, but these were some of the happiest and blessed days of my
    life. I am praying our new Pope, Pope Francis, follows in the humble ways of
    Francis of Assisi. In doing so, he can not go wrong.
    Thank you for posting
    one of his poems.

  4. Great post, though I’d modify it to read She who works with her hands and her head and her heart while sitting on a lumpy sofa in a two-room efficiency is an artist, unless she has a trust fund. 😉 Hope while you were in Florence you ate at least once at Il Santo Bevitore on Via Santo Spirito. (It appears from your photos that you walked along Voa Tano Spirito.) Best Foie gras I’ve ever eaten. Ev-ver. Yum with three Ms, as Sookie Sapperstein would say.

  5. Another email subscriber: ”

    Hello Susan,

    These are wonderful photos of a truly beautiful country. You were so
    fortunate to be able to do your research there.

    The “she / he”dilemma has always bothered me also. Predominately, in
    the Latin based languages, everything is either masculine or feminine, and
    though English is a mixture of languages, it does have a neuter gender that just
    doesn’t get applied much when generally speaking of people, even though words
    like they, all, we, them, etc. could be used in place of she or he, without
    losing the meaning of the statement. In the quote, with which I happen to
    agree, I would replace “he” with “One” and ” One’s.”

    Unfortunately, we live in a male dominated world, so, most of the time,
    the masculine gets to take precedence. I believe that writers and other
    wordsmiths are able to, and should rectify this error. Continuing to love your


    Me: I love hearing from you. Thanks for commenting!

  6. Alas, I can’t remember the names of where we ate anymore. My strongest memory is of an older local woman watching from her apartment window while our train departed Cinque Terra to go to Milan. The look on her face was one of pure longing. I imagined that she so wanted to be on that train, too, going anywhere new and exciting.

  7. Cinque Terra has always been a blast, and it was there that I first learned to love anchovies. Freshly-caught anchovies are so different from the salty ones we’re used to. Fortunately, I’ve since come across a restaurant not far from where I live that desalts them so that they taste almost as good as Italy! Their anchovy pizza is one of my favorite dishes. It’s a hipster place that used to be a shoe repair shop, and the new owners didn’t have the money or the inclination to change the title or the outside façade, so it still goes by the title Boot & Shoe Service.

    Sadly, the Cinque Terra was almost totally wiped out in a mudslide last year. They are rebuilding, but many businesses were destroyed and people were killed.

  8. Oh no! I had no idea about Cinque Terra! I am so sorry to hear that. Such a beautiful place. I hope that dear, old woman I remember from there is okay. Or maybe she finally got out of town.

  9. > Unfortunately, we live in a male dominated world, so,
    > Unfortunately, we live in a male dominated world, so, most of the time,
    > the masculine gets to take precedence.

    Don’t forget that’s also true of the negative things, ie, “Who designed this interchange? He’s an idiot!” or, “That driver’s such a moron he’s going to cause a big accident someday!”


  1. A Free Trip to ItalySusan Gabriel - […] are huge compliments to a writer. If someone can breathe the Tuscan air with this character and drink the Tuscan …

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