guest blogger leonardo: i am lion, hear me door

Hah! I knew she wouldn’t notice. She’s always so busy with that tiny dog of hers. When they went out for a walk this morning, I took my chance. I nicked the camera, went to Catanzaro, and I found exactly what I was looking for.

As a young cub, I remember curling up next to my father asking to hear The Story. When my father was much younger, he was beautiful, but he had always been in the shadow of his older brother, who was one of the best hunters anyone could remember.

One day as my father was roaming around the Kalahari hoping to stumble across a just-killed antelope to share with the pride, he came across a strange-looking creature playing in the sand. My father remembered his father telling him about such things–men–and that they would only harm us if we weren’t nice to them.

So my father asked him a question.

“What are you doing there?”

“I am creating,” the man responded, continuing to make large swirls in the sand without looking at my father. “What are you doing there?”

My father, seeing that this man was friendly, had decided to play a bit with him. “I am looking to kill. Roooooaaaaaaar!”

The man turned to my father, and his eyes quickly swelled with tears. He was quite thin with long hair and beard and his pale legs shook as he stumbled to his feet and stood before the lion at least twice his size. He gripped my father’s head between his hands, smoothed some sand from his mane, and kissed my father’s wet nose.

“It is you I have been looking been for,” said the man. “I am an artist, and I have been asked to design a door for a very important building in a place far from here. You must come with me. You must be my model.”

And so my father, who had not yet met my mother, left his pride for Italy, traveling with Leonardo for many years before returning to the Kalahari. My father’s face became a part of many of Italy’s most famous buildings, as well as some that aren’t so famous.

So imagine my delight when Sognatrice chose me to be her lion in the Shameless Lions Writing Circle. I was going back to Italy! I could finally see my father’s doors!

And this morning I had my chance.

For anyone who hasn’t been to the old part of Catanzaro, let me tell you, it’s confusing, and no one seems to know the names of the streets when you ask them. I wandered in and out of the tiny alleys for hours before I came to a little square, the exact place my father had once described to me.

And there he was. My father’s gorgeous eyes staring back at me after all these years.

Isn’t he beautiful? Can you see the resemblance?

My father so loved this artist and was so grateful for all of the good things he brought to him that when I was born, he named me Leonardo to honor him.

And now here I am back at home with Sognatrice. I tried to sneak the camera back to its spot, but of course my whole secretive plot was foiled when I realized that I needed her fingers to type this. She’s a good lion caretaker, though. She didn’t yell or anything.

Turns out she’s a sucker for a good story.

Lioningly yours,
(That’s me on the sidebar! I’m famous!)

P.S. Buon weekend!


[tags]lions, shameless lions’ writing circle, writing, catanzaro, calabria[/tags]

22 Beans of Wisdom to “guest blogger leonardo: i am lion, hear me door”
  1. Kimberly

    Your creativity astounds me sometimes, you know that?

  2. Ally Bean

    Very fun story. Leonardo has a way with words.

  3. Paolo



  4. sognatrice

    Kimberly, “creativity” is such a nice way to put it, thanks πŸ˜‰

    Ally, well you know ever since he joined this Writing Circle, he’s really opened up.

    Paolo, curses! I just knew the LOL cats were behind this!

  5. cheeky

    Yeah how’d you get so creatively cleaver? I’m slow, I had to read it twice and had missed the other post so I’m catching up.

  6. cheeky

    *oh sheesh! you know I meant clever, LOL . . . but cleaver now that’s interesting.

  7. Calabrisella

    AAAAWWW! che cute !

  8. Kathy

    Dear Leonardo,

    How wonderful that you finally got a chance to see your father’s doors! And it’s even more wonderful that you have Sognatrice as your caretaker, as she seems very kind and caring.

    Please come back and tell us more stories when you can!


  9. Johnaesthetica

    Buonissima, Michelle!

    I, too, have missed a bunch of posts, with my hectic last few days. Time to pull up a chair in the nice little courtyard of our hostel, which also surprisingly has wireless.

    Ahh, perfetto.

  10. Giulia

    Leonardo, good thing Sognatrice typed this up for you. I can only imagine the damage you would have to to her keyboard with your massive paws! I hope you and Luna play well together. πŸ™‚

  11. sognatrice

    Cheeky, geez, I’m glad I’m not cleaver. That doesn’t sound like a compliment πŸ˜‰

    Calabrisella, grazie mille πŸ™‚

    Kathy, thank you for your kindness. Now maybe the typer will let me get a word in every now and again (she’s kind of a blog hog). Lion hugs, Leonardo

    John, hope you’re enjoying your vacation, and hope you’re all caught up now πŸ˜‰

    Giulia, Luna’s OK for being such a little thing. She likes lion petties, it turns out, and you’re right about the keyboard…I’m not even going to tell you what happened with the washing machine. Lion kisses, Leonardo

  12. Shan

    Amazing, as always!

  13. JennDZ - The Leftover Queen

    Very cool post, Leonardo! I love your story!

  14. somepinkflowers


    this is so good!

    that cool cat Leonardo
    can have adventures all over italy,
    i just know it!

    he might take you places
    you’ve never been…

    have fun!

    maybe he can be a guest cook on What’s Cooking Wednesday…
    or something…lucky you!


  15. sognatrice

    Thanks Shan and Jenn! Since the positive feedback from this post, Leo has been talking up a storm….

    SPF, hmm…a lion in the kitchen…if we find any antelope, I’m sure he’ll be all over it πŸ˜‰

  16. Shelby

    funny funny funny πŸ™‚

  17. sarala

    I’m not sure I’d want my head (real or likeness up on a door) but then I’m not a lion.
    I’m tagging you for a meme. I hope you don’t mind.
    Happy writing. Sarala
    Eight Random Facts meme.

    Here are the rules:

    * Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
    * People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
    * At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
    * Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

  18. sognatrice

    Shelby, glad you enjoyed!

    Sarala, excellent point–it’d probably be kinda creepy to see my head on a door (or really anywhere else for that matter). But lions, you know, they’re so full of…pride πŸ˜‰ Now I have to think of more random things about me……

  19. BecsLifeOnline

    Great writing! Your creativity inspires me. You are like an artist who uses words on paper instead of paint on canvas.

  20. sognatrice

    Bec, thanks! I’m glad you liked Leo’s first guest post πŸ™‚

  21. Wanderlust Scarlett

    Viaggiatore and I LOVED this, it’s wonderful! What a great story!!!

    Leonardo, I hope you will share many more stories with us, and photos… as it seems you are as good a photographer as our dear Sognatrice, my PSOK.

    Thank you!!

    Scarlett & Viaggiatore

  22. sognatrice

    Scarlett and V, I’m so happy you enjoyed my tail, er, tale. I still have to talk about how I got this heart on my sleeve though; that’ll be more difficult to write….

Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

Calabria Guidebook

Calabria travel guide by Michelle Fabio



Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake