Award-winning writer Rex Pickett is ready for a new adventure, and Wines of Chile is now playing a starring role in his dynamic life story.
“I have zero doubts about moving to Chile,” says the author of the popular wine novel “Sideways.” “My God, it’s every writer’s dream to be traveling someplace new as, in essence, an artist-in-residence.”
Departing from United States on November 14, Pickett will live and travel in Chile for four months, conducting research for an upcoming Sideways sequel.
“I’m ready to leave Los Angeles … in more ways that I can describe,” Pickett emphasizes. “As writers we sometimes tend to get too stuck in our routines and forget that we have to experience life in order to write about it with any degree of verisimilitude.
“I’ve set most of my novels and screenplays in southern California (where I grew up) and the Pacific Coast (where I’ve traveled extensively),” he continues. “I need to see new places. So, yes, I’m excited to add a whole new palette of colors and sounds and smells to my repertoire. Meet new people, experience a whole new culture.”
Pickett’s impressions of Chile and Chilean wine will paint the pages of his new novel, continuing the saga of the legendary characters he introduced in “Sideways,” which was later adapted into a hit movie and acclaimed theatrical work.
“I could not have predicted a year ago that I would be going to Chile to write Part III of my ‘Sideways’ trilogy,” he recalls. “I knew I wanted to go somewhere else for Part III, and it was hinted at the end of Part II, ‘Vertical,’ but I needed the timing to be right, and the opportunity to be there.”
The prospect appeared fortuitously through the imagination and efforts of a Chilean producer, who approached Wines of Chile with the idea of bringing Pickett to Chile, establishing a collaborative venture.
And now as Pickett packs up his life in Santa Monica, California and prepares to immerse himself in Chile, he is “deliriously excited,” anticipating artistic and personal evolution through this unique opportunity for relocation.
“I have absolutely no expectations whatsoever, other than that I feel certain I will be exposed to a culture and a topography that will be uniquely different from anything that I currently know,” he states.
“And that, as a writer, excites me.”
Pickett’s explorations and experiences in Chile will be documented on his new website, RexInChile.com, which will contain blog updates and photos from his journeys throughout Chile’s striking landscapes, vivacious communities and sumptuous vineyards.
The author’s innate creative instinct to absorb and incorporate new inspiration from his surroundings and interpersonal encounters will certainly be satisfied in Chile, a burgeoning frontier of viticulture, art and social progress.
Having never traveled south of the equator, Pickett’s knowledge of Chile is currently limited, but he is ready to form and share his own point of view, and this process of discovering and subjectively defining a new place will be fundamental to the inscription of Sideways III and the storyline of his beloved characters.
“I’m looking for a new experience to change me as an artist,” Pickett says.
“Thematically, I’m sure it’ll change me, but since I write in the first person there’s no question that Chile is going to have a great effect on me and what I write next. It’s going to be the great unknown. And, right now, I look forward to the great unknown.”
When asked to name the sensations Chile evokes in him at this pivotal and thrilling point of embarkation, Pickett suggests “adventure; grandeur; California what I imagine it was like 50 years ago (and I mean that in a good way!); discovery; maybe a place I can one day call home (I’m serious!).”
And similar to the history of California’s wine regions, with which Pickett is most familiar at this moment, Chilean wine is evolving with each harvest, much as an artist evolves with each work.
“I think I’m going to realize that I needed this more than I knew when the idea was proposed to me,” he confides. “As an artist, as a person.”
By Gretchen Stahlman, for Wines of Chile