emerald goes to see #DepecheMode (29 years later)

darlings

we’re off to a Musical Concert this evening.

and suitably attired.

in black.

because the Concert will be given by our delightfully leather-clad friends called Depeche Mode (as an ensemble they are called that – they have individual names too like Mr. Gahan and Mr. Fletcher and Martin (he’s very much a Martin and less of a Mr. Gore, you’ll know that by his outfits which often contain spangles in the body paint which is delicious)

we got ready Early (because we are dining with our friend GB first – in Chinatown – and it can take up to 90 minutes in heavy traffic from here to There *wavesvaguelyEast*) and then started to giggle at the outfit who-we-are-in-RL is adorned within.

look!

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Chloe (original 80s version – found a stash of it in a perfume emporia with some glee)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Doctor Martens – originals. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

black liquid eyeliner, brown eyeshadow and mascara. and who-we-are-in-RL used to dye her hair (various and many colo(u)rs – marmalade was our Favo(u)rite circa 1993) but she stopped in 1998 so this is the same as when she was Fifteen (we did up the saturation on the digital printing device and lit her carefully but that’s the benefit of talent in the virtual darkroom, love).

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bob. and beauty spot. and black t-shirt (there’s a shortish black tunic and black leggings – Not Shown but most certainly worn).

wow.

the EXACT same outfit from 29 years ago when she ran away *coughs* from boarding school with her friends and went to see our friends Depeche Mode play at the Hammersmith Odeon in London and she remembered everything as it was and then fictionalized (because there was no Henry, sad to say – sometimes it’s nice to make up a special friend for one’s lost teen self) in Emerald.

ooo! listen! the BBC (doff cap) were There too, back in 1984:

may we share that passage with you again?

you are Very Kind.

*worriedlooktocamera*

shall we wait while you make a cup of tea?

no problem.

[pause]

welcome back.

ready?

         The Hammersmith Odeon loomed large and bursting with life as the cab swung round the last roundabout. A long queue of black leather coats stretched as far as the eye could see. They swept in on Sven’s special VIP status tickets and waited in the vast auditorium for what felt forever.

Suddenly the loudest, most insistent drumbeat shot out across the thousands of souls gathered in the darkness.

A single spotlight burst onto the stage, looking for something or someone.

A white t-shirt, taut, stretched across an emaciated frame, already drenched in the sweat of an adrenaline-fueled god. The light pool expanded to expose shockingly revealingly tight black leather hips, then motorcycle boots. The beats became louder and louder, pulsating through each body.

Then, like a crack of lighting breaking across the stage, strobes shot across the bows of the frenzied throng gathered for this intense experience at the end of a working week they had already forgotten.

It was the most seductive, enticing opening – but it felt wrong, bad and somehow sexual. Emerald was confused and excited. The crowd was on its feet dancing wildly, Bacchants all at the feet of the on-stage Dionysius. Ancient, spiritual, decadent – all this flowed through Emerald Katz and she felt re-born.

[snip]

Something inside her said to let go of Henry’s hand. She knew there was another road she could take. She did not have to feel like this. But then, suddenly, Henry broke away from the boy and kissed Emerald and the rest of the world faded into insignificance. She fainted onto the floor and was carried out by the ambulance men. Henry faded into the crowd. Sven was gone. Sebastian ran away into the night.

The next thing Emerald remembered was Darcy standing over her, holding his coat.

“Well, decadent beauty – a Depeche Mode concert? Whatever next? An Otto Dix exhibition in a bare studio Berlin or Lou Reed at the Academy?”

Emerald smiled, weakly. Those all sounded delicious.

And they were. In time.

*sighs*

such a gloriously Tragic recounting of the fictional aspects (as we said – no Henry in RL) of a truly splendid Musical Concert from 1984.

and so we head out of the door of our apartment in Los Angeles 29 years later in remarkably similar an outfit.

but considerably happier.

Tuesday: Tanner Hall, Thyme cafe and market and Tales of yesterday.

darlings

is it Tuesday all ready?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhow exciting.

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we adore tuesdays.

it used to be something delicious (when at school *farofflookintomiddledistance*) like double English Lit followed by Latin and a scrumptious study hour in the Library (we adore a library).

so unlike Wednesdays which were double games – actually that should read Double “GAMES” but what they really meant was freezing purple thighs in unattractive grey/gray/NotDiorshade double-pleated (never a good idea with a tummy) shorts (the Victorian kind that flare out worryingly from mid-hip *shudder*

but it’s Tuesday.

so we’ll stay in today.

actually here’s yesterday.

tanner-hall-movie-poster

did you see this movie? it’s what we watched late last night after we got back from our Very Long Drive from behind the Orange Curtain (deeply south of L.A-land).

it was very affecting – and may we say what a poignant performance Mr. T. Everett Scott gave?

bits of it reminded us of Emerald.

sadly there’s no part in Emerald (the movie version – yes, there is one, darlings- we like to be prepared for that Eventual Call from CAA) for Mr. T. Everett Scott in that one – unless he fancies doing a character role and playing for the other team and aging up – he *might* – Actors like to be stretched – and they don’t mean physically as in  s  t  r  e  t  c  h  e  d (on a rack) but emotionally Opened and forever changed.

we shall speak more of Emerald After the first book is published (*innersqueal*).

and we heartily recommend Tanner Hall.

especially if one has had experience of the hideousness of school playing fields in driving rain brandishing a hockey stick (although Tanner Hall is set in New England not Old England so not a lot of hockey-in-the-Rain it seems – curiously) or languishing on one’s dormitory bed dreaming of sweet kisses (lots of that in both tales).

and now a few pictures from yesterday.

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a LOT of driving (which is always good if one is Sorting Stuff Out in the head and taking time to let worries float away on Highway 1). 

when we got back to Santa Monica (Highway 1 didn’t quite take us there but we felt a little light supper at Thyme and popping in to see some friends would be nice. Plus we didn’t have anything in the Fridge chez teamgloria towers so sort of necessary). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Thyme is lovely.

highly recommend it if you’re in the Area. 
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and as we emerged into the dark jasmine-scented night – we saw a very different school scene ahead – the late night Football (american – not soccer) Practice still going on in the playing fields opposite.


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it wasn’t Tanner Hall and it wasn’t where Emerald went (we called it Harcourt Hall but really it was called Beresford House, Eastbourne).

but we’re sure there were people (probably on the bleachers – writers are not exactly notorious for getting-on-the-field) already dreaming up their own schooldays stories to tell to an agent at CAA at some later date.

isn’t that delicious?

and so Tuesday begins….

overcast like an out-of-season bank holiday weekend at an english resort town.

darlings

tis very strange and grey/gray/overcast outside the window – it doesn’t look like los angeles at All – more like an out-of-season bank holiday weekend at an english resort town.

*lookstocamera*

oh.

wait.

all the bank holidays are In Season, right?

but still terrible weather if we recall rightly.

back to the simile and metaphor and meta-ness.

so today has got us in mind of a day inside a (3 star) hotel at a english coastal town, hands up against the window (“take your grubby hands off the window and go and wash up”) nose pressed to the glass, trying to find the beach through the raindrops and wondering if it’ll clear up long enough to build a sandcastle and maybe eat an ice-cream (rum and raisin in those days or a 99 with a flake from the vans with the tinkling italian music).

perhaps it’s because The Persephone Biannually arrived in the post yesterday.

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we devoured it after breakfast (bran flakes, 1 per cent milk, coffee – 2 x cups).

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gosh!

well.

we stopped in our tracks Instantly upon reading this.

you see at the age of Eleven we went to school in eastbourne (although we re-named it Charstleymead in our novel called “Emerald”*) and spent Many Hours lingering in Old Town (waiting for the bus which went along the coast road – in the times when we weren’t boarding – we only got to stay when we were Doing A Play, sadly.)

will you indulge us?

She had no idea she still believed in magic. As if expecting the stone to transport her back, as if by closing her eyes and wishing it so hard that her heart felt it might break again, she could wake up in the Upper IV dormitory upstairs, tucked in tightly by matron under thick white cotton sheets. A faint smell of lavender from the linen water used to smooth out the pillowcases at the local laundry service. The casement windows open to the elements, birds singing outside and the clatter of kitchen staff frying sausages and making endless rounds of buttered toast.

But it was not possible. She knew that – even if she wished and wished and wished so hard. There was no way of returning. She whimpered in fright at the thought of returning to London, to her horrible cold life in that terrifying building.

Earlier that day, on her way to interview the actor, the rest of Charstleymead had looked the same. The beach still had pebbles, not sand. The same line of striped blue and white deckchairs sat waiting on the promenade, their linen blown out by the sea breezes. The Devonshire Park Theatre was doing its umpteenth revival of Noel Coward’s Private Lives and the old art gallery still showed watercolors by talented local painters of the surrounding chalk cliffs and Sussex Downs. Charstleymead was the same but it had no place for Emerald.

Suddenly she saw someone sitting on the wall over by the Lawrence College playing field. Emerald wanted to run across the old grass lawn now worn in places and in need of fertilizer and love. Automatically, the bit of her that was still Emma ran down through the punishment list:

1. A nuisance mark for using the wrong entrance.

2. An untidiness mark for having hands covered in rust from the gates and not having brushed her hair for at least three days.

3. An order mark – if not two – for being caught smoking.

4. And definitely disapproval for not being a good sport and loyal Old Girl who showed up to support Harcourt Hall over the past decade.

There was a girl, about fourteen, she guessed, scuffing the backs of her school shoes by hitting them on the other side of the wall, rhythmically, angrily – and, noted Emerald with a wry grin – smoking.

*no update yet From New York City on the reading of Emerald (our own literary agent – such a lovely phrase – said it was “poignant” and “very good” and has passed it on to another to “co-read” as the Other Agent is a Special YA – young adult – Agent – still waiting with crossed fingers – only metaphorically so or we couldn’t finish the newest novel, of course).

talking of writing we always find it Difficult With Jet Lag – so we need to nap a little more and Build up our strength before we get-back-to-it. 
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luckily we have lavender spray from The National Trust (doff cap) from William (darling – a Lot of Hairy Chests on that tumblr we note ;-) to put us in the English bank holiday mood.

because we really Miss Annabelle and Marion and Lydia and Charlotte and Simon (he’s making tea in the kitchen next door and wondering if Marion really is a Witch just as the BBC camera crew have left).

lots happening.

we hope they wait for us to get plenty of rest so we can come and watch and write-it-all-down.

are you having a delicious sunday?

what are you Up To?

do. tell.

we love to hear your news.

in a holding pattern until being published is strangely delicious.

darlings

we’re in a Deeply interesting holding pattern.

due to the nature of publishing cycles, we won’t be asked to Talk about the book until sometime later this year (for the magazines with Long Leads – as they call it in the Business) – the beauty-of-blogging (and there is much beauty there) is that we can have a conversation with another blogger who wants to write about the book just a moment before going to Press (preferably on the Princess phone – but how much nicer over a cafe creme in a Foreign Airport) and still see a Review and a Link and lovely new people to comment and *blush* – we profoundly-hope-enjoy-the-book in a few seconds flat (depending on how fast the blogger’s Typing Speeds are).

gosh.

hang on a moment.

we just got a little #memoryShift when we said Typing Speeds.

it reminded us of Lucie Clayton (do you know about Lucie Clayton?) – it was where Very Pretty (code for early-to-marry-Well) gels (posh English for “girls”) got “finished” (if their parents couldn’t afford a Swiss Finishing School) in typing and deportment and Typing Speed improvement so they could get a job as a Secretary and ensnare some nice but dim chap.

what’s that you say?

er, no.

we didn’t go to Lucie Clayton.

but many of our friends did (or Le Cordon Bleu if they were meant to marry Well to someone with Prospects of a Foreign Posting in the Diplomatic Service).

how were We “finished”?

good question.

let’s see – late night clubbing under the arches by the Pier in Brighton, waitressing on saturdays, long walks in the rain along the Sussex Cliffs (in despair, but with notebook to record teen angst for posterity – and no, we didn’t keep them) and University adventures (where we’ll send Emerald soon to write about Those – *significantlooktocamera*).

back to Today.

so while we Wait (to talk about the book and Other writing-ness), what do we DO?

there’s Consulting and special advising and Meetings and interesting (many curiously fulfilling) work stuff to do – as who we are in RL – and a Launch (which we’ll get permission to talk about if we can) Rather Soon of something digital and Stylish.

and of course we have to tell the story (because it is being Terribly Insistent) of The House on Church Row and deliver it to our Literary Agent in New York (such a delicious sentence) and see if anyone loves Emerald and wants to Publish her and then probably start writing out Laurel………

*lookstocamera*

have we told you about Laurel before? we already wrote it as a screenplay – or a scenario as the French deliciously call it – but it wants to be a Novel too – here’s the Movie Version synopsis:

Releasing Butterflies | 

A Hollywood executive gets fired for being toxic and finds out she can’t get hired. The last job in town is running a half-way house for teen girls straight out of rehab. She takes it. With both hilarious and poignant results and the wayward teens help her get her career back – but does she want it?

*looksintomiddledistance*

*coughs*

yes.

thank you for asking.

it *is* somewhat autobiographical, darlings.

and while we Wait – we Study.

yes, study.

you see we’ve been Busy for a Decade (or more) and yes, we read and saw movies and Travel(l)ed but it was all squeezed in around the Day Job and NYC and Life and so forth.

we’ve been exhausted for a long time – which probably and no doubt created you-know-what – so to be Completely Honest – we’ve been Studying and LOVING IT.

we Request Materials from the Library system here in Los Angeles (they are most mystified when we pick up, on average, 5 books a week and return them almost instantly, we binge-read – in an Attractive way we hasten to point out).

and find Treasures in used bookshops in Pasadena and beyond.

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and meditate or just sit quietly and think in front of a full moon…………OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and sleep eight hours a night (haven’t done that in forever – if ever, actually). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and dream of travel writing (when we can leave the country again which we can’t until we get – or get turned down – for a green card – more on that when – well, when We know ;-)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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and we Swim (sometimes at night because as you can see – it’s lit par nuit and heated) – ah, the sound of Laps by moonlight. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

this one is for JW/1 – we’ll be attending this and Reporting back, dear digital cousin!viewer-1

the latest gift from the Postman – Thrilling!!viewerwe may Even go back to School with some of the Advance from the book……………..who knows (well, we will a bit later – going to visit Los Angeles Film School at 11.30AM today, darlings).

you see – there’s Lots to do.

it’s sort of our own Finishing School Curriculum when you think about it.

which is Terribly delicious.

 

beloved books and forbidden tales.

darlings

during our recent sojourn in brooklyn, we had breakfast with Ms. J. Fain (toast and marmalade and tea for us – something with almond milk for her, if we recall correctly) and she made a Special Request.

would you write about the books you own?

and we thought – Quelle Delightful Request!

but then we frowned (prettily) and wondered how best to approach this Task.

you see.

we usually don’t share in Such detail.

but we Used to be afraid of losing everything (not that we owned anything of great value in those days, but there was a lot of clutter and stuff and panic and purchasing at One time).

and now?

well.

let’s see.

we like to believe and participate in the flow.

the flow?

yes.

the flow of life and objects.

we do not add to our possessions – without giving something away.

and if we lose something (which rarely happens) but, for example, we once lost a blue pashmina from the back of a chair in a cafe in the fairfax district circa 2002 and got Quite Upset until someone (with a background in dubious self-improvement seminars and extended stays at esalen) said:

someone must have needed it.

we do remember feeling a tiny bit cross and annoyed (so recently arrived from england where such sentiments are seen as Tosh) and then the realization that getting Cross would not bring back the pashmina and a slowly curiously enhancing warm glow-ness that we Now lived in a Land where there Might be Other people that love blue pashminas Too.

and all was well.

because we slowly started to see that Things Return in the most delightful way (we wrote about that here).

gosh.

this is a very Long lead to a post which was meant to be about Why We Do Not Own Many Books (despite the fact we have read probably Thousands).

once we’ve read a paperback (purloined from a box left on a street – this happens a Lot more than one would expect – and if one keeps one’s eyes open – a real Find is often spotted) – we recycle it by passing it on to Friends with a nice note, often in the Post (or putting our Own box out on the street which is fun – or delivering bags to Housing Works or a similar fine organization).

we rarely keep them now.

because once we know What Happens (and we have almost perfect recall as many of our friends will tell you) we cannot keep something unless we are Deeply in Love with the writing itself (as opposed to plot).

some pictures now, please (do you have some tea to hand? we’re sipping coffee but the jet lag is not quite lifting from our Brows).

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so we are a Great Believer in Libraries.

especially as Beverly Hills has Such an Interesting Circulating Library and a splendid “Friends Shop” where one can gather up an armful of old New Yorkers (magazines, not people) to snip and read and peruse of a sunday afternoon on-the-sofa.

but it is the Los Angeles County Library (with its Many Branches) that is the real Jewel for its collection (see above) of 1960s era fashion books and much loved long out of print Editions which can be Requested via the Interweb and delivered to one’s local branch (so clever and so 19th century – the Request/Delivery bit).

and then there’s our own Modest Collection.

many 1st editions from the love that could not speak its name but wrote Beautifully.
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a Lot of Vita (we share the same birthday and she captures our imagination with her Verve and Travels to Teheran and Life and Loves and the ability to nurture a beauteous garden of white and roses and trees and birdsong.)

and some ex-library books purchased from those adorable people at Alibris).

Isherwood – of course (we own Edith Oliver’s former edition of Prater Violet).

did you spot Nancy Spain? Ginette Spainer (whom we wrote about last while In Paris ourselves) – who met because of their mutual friend Noel Coward (we own several books that feature Noel, of course – because he has been our Constant literary companion for decades *lookstocamera* are we That old now? tis true. *smiles* and inspired us to Write and live GLORIAously (as William calls it). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Plum, Cecil and Nancy, naturally.

yes, that Is a copy of William James……….sometimes we like to get rather Contemplative. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(signed) novels by several friends and people that we Wish we had known.
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delicious gifts from Friends and memories of the Day Job (the red binder is a gift from 20th Century Fox to who we are in RL because she worked on several Movies)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

more gifts from Friends (thank you B) and the Inspiring Life of DK for all those big-hair-slimline-hipped-80s-gloriousness. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and current bedside reading (note: paperbacks: so will be donated or passed on when we’ve written down passages that please us or photographed them for instagram.

funny enough the Only books that haven’t passed through the Los Angeles Country Circulating Library or our own bookshelves or boxes on the street or donations found in treasure trove second-hand bookshops – are – *coughs* – *lookstocamera*- well – Ours.

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soon (Jan 2014, apparently – still waiting on Exact Confirmation – it takes a little while – but the red letter day from Last Year – is almost coming to fruition).

since that Deal was signed, we’ve delivered Emerald to our agent (and she said she Likes it Very much) and we’re now 30,000 words into The House On Church Row – may we share just a few more lines with you?

“Am I interrupting?” said Annabelle.

“Yes. You are.”

Annabelle was fascinated and yet appalled by Marion’s forthrightness. She took a step back and wondered why she had bothered coming. It didn’t seem as if Marion wanted to be friendly. “Sorry. I’ll come another time,” she said, turning around to face the street, to hide her annoyance.

Marion relented. The British stiff upper lip was really funny up close. “I’m drinking alone,” she drawled. “Join me. Then I won’t be drinking alone.”

Annabelle was a tiny bit shocked. “But it’s a school night,” she said, looking at her house next door and starting to feel guilty that she’d brought nothing home for supper except cake.

“I didn’t think either of us were still schoolgirls,” smiled Marion, leaning to steady herself on the side of the door.

“You are persuasive,” giggled Annabelle.

“I work in advertising. I need to be.”

Annabelle walked into the house to follow Marion and got a sudden kick in her stomach. She had not been inside the house for years. When Diana told her that there was a new tenant, she had given her the welcome note, but never actually thought she’d be invited inside. She broke out in a cold sweat.

“Scotch?” said Marion, from the end of the corridor near the kitchen, holding a bottle. “No, wait, you probably drink white wine, don’t you?” She disappeared and emerged with a Chardonnay.

“Yes please,” said Annabelle, quickly, and rather flattered, before she changed her mind. While Marion fiddled with the corkscrew and found proper wine glasses in the cupboard, Annabelle looked around. The kitchen was the original 1940s design from the last time the house was renovated. Her mother had been under strict instructions from her grandparents not to update anything, so she didn’t. It wasn’t her thing anyway as she much preferred to be upstairs in the turret room painting strange abstracts in oils while listening to Cole Porter. She could have cared less if the Aga had seen better days or some of the original Bakelite black doorknobs were scratched and needed replacing. The cupboards were a heavy cream shade with panels of wallpaper inside, a sprig of sweet peas on one and pale pink roses on other.

The large chest freezer in the butler’s pantry used to be full of vol au vents for parties and trays of shrimp. Annabelle remembered washing up glasses carefully after late dinners for pocket money at the low sink and handing them to her sister to dry with a tea towel.

“Where did you just go?” said Marion, handing her a large glass of wine.

Annabelle had to bring herself back to the present day. There were so many memories in this half of the house. Her own kitchen next door was modern. Simon had left the Aga but put in all new fixtures and fittings when they got married. If she closed her eyes while washing the dishes, she could always sense this half of the kitchen on the other side of the wall and mentally walk round it while she daydreamed.

“I used to live here,” said Annabelle.

Marion was taken aback. She had not expected anything above light neighborhood gossip or a slightly giggly housewife after a glass of wine. “You did?”

“A long time ago. I grew up here. It was my grandparents’ house. In fact, the house was split down the middle and when I got married I moved into the other half.”

and a bit Further On………just a snippet…..

The cab pulled away and Marion fell gratefully into the waiting car.

“I like her,” said Alex to his brother, as they drove back down Mile End.

They had no idea that Marion was doubling the price of the contract. If she had to deal with crap, she was going to make sure she was well compensated. She picked up her mobile phone and started to dial Kelly to celebrate but changed her mind. She was her assistant, not her friend. Marion threw the phone back in the bag and leaned back, looking out of the window at the lights twinkling on Regent Street. They passed Liberty’s and up to Oxford Street and got stuck in traffic. She looked down at her phone again. She wished she had someone to call.

*******************************************************

ok. one Tiny bit more then we Must get ready – we have People To See.

They stared at each other for a long time until Simon realized he really had to go to the office. In a daze he went upstairs to get dressed. As he entered their bedroom, the scent of musk oil assaulted his senses.

He sat down on the bed.

How could this be happening to him?

This was Hampstead, for God’s sake.

Seriously Enjoying Writing THIS.

*grins*

have a delicious saturday darlings.

emerald – finished and off to our lovely Agent in NYC.

darlings

we completely forgot to write yesterday.

quelle deep sigh.

why one might ask (well, we did, perhaps you did too)?

well as much as we Love being in Los Angeles, we have to say it’s also a tiny bit unsettling (and not just because it’s tax season) to build a new life while waiting for paperwork and so on and so forth.

so we write (alas not Here, yesterday – but lots of Other Stuff)

because – as we said on the Telephone to a friend in England (she called us – we don’t yet have International Dialing – one has to sign up with Different services and it’s Awfully Complicated and we almost don’t have the strength) – we-write-out-the-drama (and hopefully it becomes profitable which more than makes up for the pain of aforementioned drama – if it’s painful in the first place and, let’s face it, drama usually is – non?)

we digress.

as usual.

so we Don’t have Drama right now……

although – *warylooktocamera* – we are a Tiny Bit Nervous about bumping into People From Our Past as we had a Past here – we just – for the most part apart from that small diversion – had a Career in NYC.

so while we have a Pause on any drama at all we like to Mine the Past (profitably).

which is why we Finished the (first) Emerald novel after a very early start this morning and much languishing in bed trying to sort out grammar and be all Correct about paragraphs and Spelling and so forth.

viewerand sent it to our Agent in New York.

now Emerald (the first novel) is something we’ve worked on for a while but it was painful and funny and heart-warming and everything that a novel Could Be but we were nervous about releasing it into the world.

that sounds pretentious.

we really didn’t mean it to be so.

we just meant that sometimes writing something so Revealing is, well, revealing.

but stories are given by the muses in order to be shared (we think and we believe that’s a lovely and slightly humbling and Quite Magical way to think – so we continue to do so).

we’ve talked about Emerald before – in fact – we wrote the screenplay version of Novel 1 a while ago and embarked upon writing a Movie about her adventures at University (an excerpt was posted here, just in case you’re curious). 

and the Whole Point of moving to Los Angeles was to Write_and_take_photographs which we’re doing and feel Rather Kosher about with an actual book deal and who we are in RL is out there Taking Meetings and being a Special Advisor and finding consultancy clients and generally wearing-the-pearls-and-black-jacket look and driving around Beverly Hills and Having lunch on the Lot at the Hollywood Studios with Her Contacts (whom we are assured are jolly nice).

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she does it awfully well.

but it would be half a life if one couldn’t be Us too (in a post-modern delicious way) and lie around and Write and send Notes to New York and receive deeply encouraging phonecalls from the Other Coast.

viewer-2and pop into beautiful francophile hotels to admire the subtle glow of an early–eighteenth century light fixture on a pale butterscotch wall.

may we share a few pages of Emerald’s adventures with you?

just for luck?

so we can say we’ve sent it out Into the World and now we need to let go and See What Happens?

you are Very Kind.

*winningsmiletocamera*

truly.

Very Kind.

Here goes (do you have some tea? you might need it).

a visual to start (not one of ours, sadly, so we’ve linked it to the Original source to be polite) – and we recommend you read this with a multi-textual-layered sense of irony

top layer = schoolgirls in england but the meta-text is all about the End of the Empire and how Girls were Educated and being different and personality splits and So On – just so you know – didn’t want you to miss out.

and it’s what the Publishing Industry call a YA novel (which is not Princess Anne being posh and saying Yah, it stands for Young Adult – i.e. teens).

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As always, Emerald snuck the letter into her left glove as they walked in elegant pairs to church. Henry keeping lookout, she swiftly posted it in the red post box with the regent’s initials in gold.

The letters to James could be sent, most safely, through the steely eye of a long-suspected school censor. Everyone left letters on the vast silver salver in the main hallway and the postman came every day before breakfast to pick up a bag of franked letters from the headmistress’ secretary.

But the notes to Sebastian – so full of intrigue and longing and dared for tales of nights in Paris dressed in ballet slipper pink satin with butterfly wings – no, those were never sent through the System.

It was Henry who acted as a go-between. Her parents, appalled at the possibility of a school censor who might read Henry’s bank statements, had set up a secret P.O. box at the local post office. So, on Saturdays, when the prefects escorted boarders to the village to buy sweets and magazines and postcards, Henry would slip undetected into back of the post office with her key and stuff the letters into the waistband of her school skirt.

As payment for Henry’s loyalty, Emerald ghostwrote her letters home and kept Henry’s parents happily entertained by the daughter for the first time since her attendance at pre-prep school.

While very grateful to Henry, Emerald started to become irritated at the double standard set for girls at Harcourt Hall against those for their male contemporaries at Lawrence College. At Harcourt Hall they were watched like hawks by schoolmistresses and staff alike, right down to the dinner ladies who ladled out the rice pudding, watching for those who were too old to receive second helpings and censuring those who were putting on weight. The whole system, noted Emerald, was to ensure that Harcourt Hall girls remained as white as snow, not too wide-of-hip and sadly lacking in individuality.

“The desired outcome,” she hissed to Henry on their way to church, “is to produce endless drones suitable as wives for perpetrators of the British Empire. Which,” she continued, “I hate to mention this, but the British Empire no longer exists.”

Myrtle overheard Emerald and was very shocked. She pursed her lips and shook her head as the three Sarahs crooked their ears trying to hear what Emerald was saying this time. Alice was making up a pair with Myrtle and they exchanged dark glances of bitter disappointment. Emma Katz had been doing so much better this term. Even Henry was being sociable and only slightly eccentric thus far.

“Besides,” said Emerald, a little quieter now, her neck hot with the disapproving stares from the pupils behind her, “Sebastian’s housemaster would probably be more than thrilled to find out he is corresponding with a girl. It would only enhance his reputation. If I get found out, I’m gated with an order mark and probably solitary in the San.”

Henry was bored by this whole conversation. She did not understand why Emerald was so sensitive to gender relations. As far as she was concerned, if you pretended it did not exist you did not have to follow the dictates. But there again, Henry had no interest in writing to a boy at Lawrence College. She sort of understood that Emerald needed someone to talk to about books and it was true Sebastian had read most of the books in the western world. But it was all really dull as far as she was concerned.

“It’s like we have a price on our heads,” said Emerald, now outraged and warming to her theme. “We are highly priced potential goods.”

By now Myrtle was beside herself with anger. Just because Emerald was against marriage it did not mean that she was allowed to dismiss the whole notion. Alice resolved to have another talk with Emma. She just could not go around referring to her form-mates as cattle to the slaughter. They were English ladies in waiting, English schoolgirls with expectations.

“And it is just not done,” hissed Myrtle, “for Emma Katz to speak badly about our futures filled with babies and nannies and chintz sofas and proper linens and a sensible husband in the City with prospects of something terribly interesting in the Foreign Office.”

walking, talking, inspiring over tacos.

darlings

A full day.

Much magic.

A lot of Writing (sending the completed YA novel to our Agent on Monday – a book which has a working title of “Emerald” but will probably be called Emerald’s Adventures at a Terribly British Boarding School – for clarity and because we have already started writing the one where she goes to University and it is Entirely Possible that we could squeeze one in about her Sixth Form Adventures too.)

In answer to the (no doubt in your mind) Question “are they all autobiographical, dear?”

The short answer is No.

But the more deeply considered multi-layered response which attributes some time given to the study of semiotics and semantics is Yes; everything happened. But not necessarily to Us and not in that order.

If that makes sense……?

So in between doing a final once over before we send the File on Monday, we had a few adventures of our own in RL.

Actually today saw Two lovely encounters with people we have hitherto either just met in RL once (Eleanor) or never met before at all in Person (Jonathan) but have followed them on instagram and so observed and commented and shared their lives and work and band gigs and movingacrossthecountry (J) and wantingtomoveacrossthecountry (E) and so much intensity and a mutual love of twinkle lights in one’s home (all year round) for Quite a While.

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We met eleanor at the pacific design center early this morning.

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And took a walk around the not-yet-sunny streets, ducking into small verdant courtyards to admire Foliage and pick up business cards at Interesting shops and potential new acqupuncture spa-like nooks. 

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We would like to mention that eleanor has a BOOK coming out and we can’t wait to read it.
Talking of Talent – we drove across town – towards east LA to meet Jonathan at a proper taco stand. The sort of taco stand that has fresh cilantro (coriander for our English friends) and Mexican soft beverages and chiles that bring Tears to the eyes.

Jonathan is a graphic artist and gave us a small envelope with a Wax Seal (don’t you just adore knowing people who seal their Correspondence appropriately for the etiquette of the early eighteenth century?)

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We cannot yet link to Jonathan’s site – tis in Progress – but here are some of his stickers (which are going straight in our scrapbook and moleskine directly for Posterity).

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A very creatively stimulating day.

As we drove back West, we sang along with Simone emoting something glorious in Italian (we don’t know All the words but we do a passable aria)…..

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At home, much later, we found ourself reading cookbooks by Sophie Dahl, while sipping decaf and warmed milk from cafe du monde (the coffee, not the milk, that’s from trader joes) and musing on Quelle inspiring people we know. And have just met. And might well meet Next.

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So exciting.

Sunday, tomorrow.

As heather says, the best day.

thoughts in the library.

so we had a delicious breakfast meeting about 20 blocks, or perhaps a little more, north of where we were (at home – nothing mysterious or clandestine to report, darlings, fear not) and decided to get up Terribly early – and walk.

which was delicious.

for a few reasons – one is that we saw the Dawn in all its rosy-peach-y-ness.

and another reason was we realized we’d got up So awfully early that we could lie around and sink into the dark embrace of caffeine and read large coffee table books.

luckily we have a Lot Of Those.

(isn’t the light tranquil resting on what we call the Gertrude-Lawrence-movie-star-blanket with satin wrap as-visual-accessory? we think so.)

and so we walked to the meeting and felt all Energized by the early morning-ness of it all (and surprised a few construction men by trilling out a cheery “Good Morning!” in a very Nancy Mitford sort-of-a-way) and got to the place of business (which was Very Fashionable and celebrity-adjacent – shhhh – no telling of whom we speak) – and – thank the god(s) – had a Chandelier in the entrance hall 0r Vestibule as we believe one might call it.

sadly – because we were being all Fancy and Footloose free (not in the Kevin Bacon sense, you understand) we forgot to bring our bag let alone bag-with-camera (sigh) so no photograph of the chandelier (but it was a Most Excellent one).

and then we walked (more than 20 blocks – we counted) and had Another Meeting (with someone who we might well work with but actually consider a friend) and they had gone to the wrong location so we had a Most Amusing phone conversation where we said:

oh god – what shoes are you wearing? can you make it down here?

which is the sort of thing that we learned to say when we moved to NYC (where everyone walks – but only in the right footwear).

they laughed (brilliantly) and said.

it’s Friday – we’re in Flats.

we did an understanding sigh of relief and then secretly wondered if there’s a dress-code-for-fridays in manhattan that Someone forgot to give us………maybe there is. we’ll be checking peoples’ feet today.

(pause: looking around the library – everyone is in flats – but that’s because we’re in the library and not many Fashion people come to the library or if they do, they Dress Down).

oh yes.

we’re in the Library!

it’s the Nicest part of our new life – between meetings and giving special-advice-if-asked – we come to the library.

this one was built in the early nineteen-hundreds.

so we feel Very much at home.

although an awful lot of us are on Laptops and there’s not a card catalog(ue) to be found (which is a pity, because we loved those).

because we told you who we are in RL (although She is Quite Different out there to us talking to you like this – if that isn’t too confusing and if it is – try being us ;-)

we thought we could tell you about the library that we used to Study in as a young student (of varying morals but a rather voracious appetite for Learning and Life).

firstly – here’s the outside of the building (yes, that’s sort of why we picked this university as we were rather shallow, on occasion, and very much an Aesthete).

isn’t it glorious? we thought so.

and here’s a shot of the inside of the Library where we spent a Great Deal of time (and some of it studying but quite a lot of it flirting, actually).

look at those delicious vaulted ceilings (although that carpet is new – not sure about that – and the white stacks – hmmm – we remember something Very dark and brooding – must have had a Decorator in – and one With A Vision no doubt).

and here’s a Charming close-up and very atmospheric shot from someone with a blog called Focused Moments – we’re going to ask for their permission so hopefully this is still here for you to look at if you return….

in fact all this Thinking about libraries, reminded us of a screenplay that we Started a while ago but life got exhaustingly glam with all the jetset travel and we had to abandon (and the characters stopped telling us where they wanted to go at that time – perhaps they’ll start again now with this attention we’re about to Shine on them, hmmm?

would you like a little excerpt?

it’s from a memory we expanded on from our First week in university.

we’ll set the scene for you – we heard there was a protest at the Library and we decided to go and investigate (our early journalist-impulses already Very much in evidence) and we tripped over a few characters whom we’ve combined into two or more throughout the story – not Totally true to RL – you know, inspired by.

here we go.

do you have a nice warm cup of tea to hand?

we’ll wait……

oh yes, a lovely Spode.

where were we…

She walks on through the archway, a statue of Queen Victoria, in the distance. A group of STUDENTS run past. One stops.

STUDENT 1 Are you going to the protest at the library?

EMERALD What’s wrong with the library?

STUDENT 2 She’s a witty one. (beat) It’s to argue against the cuts.

EMERALD Are they serving drinks?

They don’t hear her – already EXITED, in a rush. Emerald brings out a bottle of wine from her bag.

EMERALD (CONT’D) It’s alright. I’m fully prepared.

She follows them.

INT. LIBRARY – LATER THAT NIGHT

Christopher, VISCOUNT CHATHAM, and JIM KEITHLEY – both 18 – both in black tie, are lying on the polished parquet floor of an Edwardian-era library. Christopher is the son of a minor English aristocrat with perfectly chiselled cheekbones. Jim is a working class boy made good. Very handsome, very thin.

JIM What did you say you were studying?

Christopher rolls over to lean on his hands and consider Jim.

CHRISTOPHER I didn’t. (beat) In fact, I think it’s the height of bad taste to ask.

JIM It’s what everyone asks in the first week.

CHRISTOPHER Exactly. (beat) Popular taste is bad taste.

JIM Popular taste is the future. All advertising depends on it.

CHRISTOPHER I say, are you a Communist?

JIM I was considering it. (beat) How about you?

CHRISTOPHER I have a (sadly) very minor title.

JIM What kind of title?

CHRISTOPHER I’m a Viscount. But of a bit of England that fell off the map circa early seventeen-hundreds.

JIM You’re joking.

CHRISTOPHER It’s actually beyond a joke. So Communism is a rather unlikely path, dear boy.

JIM I’m not your dear boy.

CHRISTOPHER Are you going to play hard to get?

Jim blushes, furiously. Christopher stares as Emerald ENTERS. She unbuttons her coat to reveal a thrift store 1920s shimmery dress.

EMERALD Hello there.

She steps over Christopher’ prone body and moves to the shelves of books, swaying slightly. Both men stare at her.

CHRISTOPHER Are you into girls or boys?

Emerald swings round, a book of love poetry in her hand which she stuffs down the back of her knickers.

EMERALD I thought the point of University is that one didn’t have to choose anymore.

CHRISTOPHER What a glorious answer. (beat) Are you clever?

EMERALD Of course. (beat) Aren’t you?

CHRISTOPHER He is.

Christopher jerks his finger at Jim who sits up and looks between them both as if they are exotic animals at the zoo.

EMERALD But you’re not?

CHRISTOPHER Not terribly. No.

EMERALD How did you get in? (beat) Aren’t we all meant to be clever?

JIM He was just telling me that his family have been coming here for five hundred years.

Emerald scratches the bridge of her nose, a nervous tic.

EMERALD Are you a Communist?

JIM I’m considering it.

EMERALD Me too.

CHRISTOPHER Why on earth would you do that?

EMERALD To achieve equality.

JIM Right on.

CHRISTOPHER Oh shut up.

EMERALD Don’t tell him to shut up.

CHRISTOPHER You don’t even know him.

EMERALD It’s the first week at University, I don’t know anyone.

JIM You know us, now.

EMERALD Thank god. (beat) We must be friends for ever.

She sways again. Jim and Christopher get up and stand either side of her. They walk down the long corridor to the library exit.

CHRISTOPHER Won’t you get caught with that book in your underwear?

EMERALD I am protesting the cuts. (beat) And if they cut the poetry section first they won’t miss it.

yes.

Emerald does sound rather familiar…..

;-)

are you having a Splendid Friday, darlings?

spent time in any libraries recently?

we Do recommend it.

you have Such interesting thoughts – and encounters – and delicious reveries – in a Library.