I was very excited to discover that Rochelle chose my picture for this week’s prompt. I’m really looking forward to reading all the responses. My story is below the picture. I haven’t included edits this week (they weren’t very interesting). Instead, an explanation of my thoughts and inspiration follows the story. As ever, feedback – good or bad – feeds the muse, and you are very welcome to just read the story if you don’t have time for explanations!
Fibonacci’s Legacy (Genre: Historical Fiction)
From a chair beside the best fruit stand in Pisa, Leonardo stared at the great campanile. Something wasn’t right. He stood on aching legs and walked towards it. The tower was leaning, he realised: sloping towards the North.
He stopped to make a sketch in his notebook: a third stage, with each floor slightly taller on that side, correcting the problem as it grew.
Inside, he gazed up at the receding stairs with a smile. The tilt was not evident here. Instead, he was reminded of natural perfection – the population numbers of rabbits, or the spiral of a snail’s shell.
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The picture is actually taken inside a lighthouse on the Suffolk coast. I love lighthouses, and my friend, Joy, was kind enough to accompany me on a pilgrimage to this one. One of the things I love about them are the spiral staircases winding up the inside, and this one cried out for a photograph. Because of the equipment, I couldn’t take the photo square on, but I loved the effect this picture captured so I took it anyway.
Looking at it now, a few years later, I was reminded of a snail shell, which got me thinking about Fibonacci, so I looked him up. Turns out he lived in Pisa – suddenly I had my inspiration. Then I looked up the tower : turns out it was built in 3 stages and the third stage was built wonky, to correct the tilt created by poor foundations. An aged Fibonacci would have seen it between the building of stages 2 and 3, so I wondered what he would have made of it.
Fibonacci was a mathematician and a scientist. He was a problem-solver and a thinker. I was fortunate to grow up knowing a man like that. My Grandad (shown below with his lovely wife, my Grandma) was a physicist by training, and most definitely both a problem-solver and a thinker. In Fibonacci’s place, I can’t help but think he would have been trying to find a solution to the problem of the leaning tower.