What’s In A Name?

About a year ago I went on a two week long trip around Europe. The first week focused on the historical and gorgeous corners of Italy and the second week was split up between Switzerland, Paris and London. Italy had special meaning to me, I am Italian and my grandmother emigrated from Sicily with her family when she was young. I have always wanted to see her country and soak myself in my heritage and the experience was more wonderful than I imagined.

As crazy as this sounds, I felt a connection to Italy (Hi, my name is Rachel and I feel connections to countries). I sensed that I fit well there, like a puzzle piece finding its place. The people, the sun, the music, the pace, the foods, the wine and the lifestyle were all inherently me. Then throw in the history, the bricks, the architecture and the streets and it was my dream.

One place in particular in Italy, called Siena, was my favorite. I was only there for a few hours but that was all it took for me to fall in love.  Roger Allam wrote in Players of Shakespeare 2: Further Essays in Shakespearean Performance by Players with the Royal Shakespeare Company, “I took many trips to Siena, and was struck by its beauty, but also by the beauty of the Siennese themselves. They are dark, fierce, and aristocratic, very different to the much paler Venetians or Florentines. They have always looked like this, as the paintings of their ancestors testify. I observed the groups of young people, the lounging grace with which they wore their clothes, their sense of always being on show. I walked the streets, they paraded them. It did not matter that I do not speak a word of Italian; I made up stories about them, and took surreptitious photographs.” This quote captures the creativity that is ignited within you when you walk around this gorgeous town. Whether you like pictures, writing, reading, music or film, Siena  pulls the arts right out of your fingertips.

That is how Siena made me feel. It made me want to feel. It ignited creativity and passion; it draws you into one of its outdoor tables. It romances you with food and wine and encourages you to read and write. It sings you songs with the afternoon air and stirs up your soul. When I think of words, of beauty, of culture and stories, I think of being somewhere in Siena.



After a couple months of poking around on the internet, looking for a place to write, to work with other writers and to share my love of words, I felt defeated. I had joined a few sites that operate on a “pitch to me” or “write about one of these pitches” basis and I found it discouraging. It seems like anymore, if you’d like to write for a site with a lot of traffic you have to mold your style into another. If I wanted to write about feminism, I should probably pitch a listicle to get it picked up. “5 Feminist Thoughts I Have On the Daily” just doesn’t satisfy me like a personal essay would. On another site that pays per post (yay!) I am given prompts like “I secretly hate my kids” or “Cheating is fun.” I can’t write about these topics and even if I could I wouldn’t.

If I wanted to write about books, I can’t because it is a topic that’s overdone. If I want to write about love, I have to bare intimate details that would make readers gasp or else it’s too vanilla. Anymore, the content doesn’t seem to matter much. Every idea is turned into a list, narratives are passed over and thought provoking essays’ aren’t accepted unless you’re talking about something that will cause controversial comments.

And I have learned that I don’t fit in that box. What good is a platform to write on if you aren’t writing what you feel and instead are tailoring your words to appeal to an editor that is more worried about clicks than content?

So, here we are. Somewhere in Siena was born and the scary and daunting task of starting my own site was thought of and running in the same day. This site will not be a diary, I will not be sharing with you the events of my week or what I thought of last weeks episode of Game of Thrones (well, maybe once in a while). My vision for this site is content rich essays mixed with fashion, travel, books and lipstick. I want to talk about wine with you, traveling with you, reading with you and everything in between.

Who knows where this will go. The end doesn’t interest me much. I care about the journey and I hope there isn’t an end. I would love if this site turned into a place for other writers to come and share their stories, where friends are made and important topics are discussed. But for now, I look forward to writing. Writing for myself, most importantly, for those that enjoy my writing secondly, and for anyone else that stumbles through the interweb and lands somewhere in Siena.