Here is my essay about visiting the monks in Norcia for Catholic World Report. When my much shorter article in Scottish Catholic Observer comes out, I will fill in any gaps here. For example, you may like to read about my adventure at the hairdresser. Actually it was more the hairdressers' adventure, for the mother of all dreadlocks had sprouted in my hair. Luckily for us all, I could understand only 10% of what they said about it.
Yes, it is a challenge writing about the same trip for three different publications. Thanks for asking. Fortunately, they all have different audiences: one Canadian, one largely American and one Scottish. And naturally I try to emphasize different aspects. The Scots, for example, are much more likely to be interested in the Scottish monk than Canadian or American readers. They are also much more likely to listen to my siren song of "Come to Norcia and bolster her tourist economy." Fares are so cheap and the flight is so short, Scots can quite comfortably consider going for a long weekend.
(All the same, Canadians and Americans ought to go, too. There are precise instructions in my CWR essay.)
I am grateful to Catholic World Report for giving me space to really stretch out; my usual word count is 800. On the one hand, an 800 word limit is a good discipline. But on the other hand, I don't get to say that much. Columns are entirely plot-driven, as it were. Lush description goes by the wayside.
Update: In light of yesterday's fuss about my lack of racial blindness, note that I identify the nationalites of all the monks. I didn't, however, note the ethnicities of the Americans and the Canadian. The fact that American and Canadian monks dwell happily in an Italian mountain town was interesting enough.