a moment of reverie to the music of Arvo Part


a few pictures from today:


but first this:

isn’t it SUBLIME?

it’s a piece by Arvo Pärt

turn off the lights – leaving just the reading lamp by your chair – light a gardenia candle – and close your eyes (that’s what we’re doing right after we t y p e t h i s l i n e).


wasn’t that WONDERFUL?

makes you want to weep, non? (in a Very good way.)

more pictures?

bien sur.




8a22a43e6f3f11e383b71261062e4ae8_8 d54e94846f5011e387f812631f7314a1_8

and another piece of beauteous music?

we *almost* run out of supplies so we went back to the Library (we Adore a Library) and found there were quite a few more pieces at the Requested Materials Desk (thank goodness).


it’s so delicious the way one can Request materials and there they are – at some point – when brought in from Another Branch (via what mode of transport? are they all low tech and Metro these days? or a Large Van? Limo?)

a little more Arvo?


Arvo Pärt, Roland Barthes and (shortly) Cahiers du Cinema?



the end of the year finds us in a Deeply reflective mode.

or perhaps we’re doing Research for an Article.


even though – yes, yes, we Know, it’s meant to be the “holidays”, but dear god(s), they’ve gone on Quite Long Enough.

bring back civilization.

or as near as we get to it in Los Angeles.

harpsichords and chandeliers, labyrinths and ocean views


we felt so (wonderfully) conflicted today.

firstly there was a sudden urgent desire to hear a harpsichord:

and then there was a need for chandeliers and foreign films and beautiful dresses rustling silky-sharp-with-wit and wisdom and the dark nature of desire….








(thank you to miss jules berlin for the adorable card!)7a60cfee6c5b11e39da90a8f5c5dae8d_8

but then – earlier – a different mood overtook us entirely (and wonderfully)

it had a soundtrack like this:


and required driving-to-Malibu —–


and then turning right and past the sentry at the gate and up the winding canyon and up some more until – yes – right up there – we *exhaled* and wondered at the View

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand, because there was one there – which we knew before we turned right for we have been here before, but not for many years – we walked the labyrinth.


have you walked a labyrinth recently?

it’s Such a fine way to focus and be quiet and generally walk out all the frustrations of the year and think a little while – or not think, actually – and just concentrate on the next moment and suddenly the mind clears and you look up and there you are – in the middle – and everything is completely as it needs to be. and so you slowly retrace your steps, a lot calmer now, and smiling, and then it is done.

the year is almost over.

we listened to more sunny southern california music on the drive home.

and then – because night has fallen on this part of the world –



barefoot on the beach #TheFirstMagazineShoot


it was SUCH FUN being in our first magazine shoot!


we drove to a secluded inn far down the coast into the gorgeousness of Malibu (don’t you just adore the word Malibu?)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and the kind, talented, welcoming crew were waiting for us: there was a fancy photographer – a lady one – very modern, a stylist with a rack of clothes and suitably constrictive underwear – for us to wear – and a steamer and a clever silk scarf so we didn’t get the clothes smushed because Yes! there was a make-up and hair artist and she made us look all pretty with lipstick – so strange – we don’t own one in RL – and an Assistant who had excellent taste in music mixes and told us jokes to make us Laugh on the Beach (that was the shot they were all going for). 

we tried on clothes (and were Not Allowed to wear black) – the magazine had specifically asked for bright colo(u)rs* so it’ll be strange and yet wonderful to see this peacock self when the magazine goes-to-press.  

*the last time we wore “something in coral” was probably at boarding school (the “summer” – quotes used advisedly, twas England after all, we Froze) dresses were white with coral splodges or perhaps tiny flowers in a Victorian style bell-skirt with fitted bodice (agony for burgeoning breasts) and tiny buttons and pasty legs (no fake tan allowed). Or we also had to wear that coral/pink voluminous skirt for our saturday job in the shoe department at Miss. Selfridge in the Churchill Square shopping Centre.

back to yesterday *farofflooktocamera*

and the poor shiny patent leather (black) doctor martens shoes had to stay in the Inn as well – we took ballet flats (which we have Not worn since April 26th 2012 for a then-day-job-event at the Casino in Madrid) – black – of course – but they did not appear in shot as they liked our lilac toes instead.

and this is El Matador State Beach – there is not a State called El Matador – at least not in Los Angeles – but some of the beaches in Malibu are private and this one is State and thus open to all (but if you’re doing a professional photo shoot you need a Permit and so the Crew had one with them to show an Inspector just in case).

500 shots later “That’s A Wrap!”

we frolicked in the sand, walked slowly towards the camera, did lots of sitting on the sand and smiling (soft smile, shy smile to giggling and then a broad laugh – all the Options, you see) and generally doing what the magazine needs – a happy English person living in L.A who got sick, walked away from a corporate job and wrote a book and is now having a splendid time – that’s the shot they needed.

and we were happy to do so.

how did we know how to behave in the shoot?

well. we have Studied how to do this by watching others.

but secretly we just pretended to be Diane Keaton.

diane-keaton-somethings-gotta-give-white-hat-beach somethings-gotta-give because she has the right sort of laugh/look for the beach.

especially in Something’s Gotta Give where her character is a writer and has the Most Glorious House and triumphs through pain and into the light.


that was our motivation.

and the crew completely got it.

which is why we’re Never Working With Anyone Else (because we hope there’ll be Lots of Shoots in the Future).

isn’t life delicious?

oh yes.

early mornings, deadlines and something for supper with kale.



we’ve missed you.

but we MUST return to the deadlines as who-we-are-in-RL (finally) asked for our help.

so we’re off to sharpen pencils and brew another pot of coffee and generally have our deeply-supportive-face-on.

it’s impressive.

you’d never know we were actually thinking about a (very long) weekend in Monaco or what william is up to in whitstable and whether the laurel canyon stores sell butterscotch angel delight because all the British Musicians like it after they’ve been staying out too late at chateau marmont.

it really looks as if we’re Truly Concentrating.


ok – but just a few – we’ve BARELY left the house for DAYS and have been subsisting on bowls of brown rice with kale (yum).


this is for Gallivanta because she knows how important Rumer Godden is (and not just because Mr. Willis and Ms. Moore named one of their children after her)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwe saw a few flowers in the daylight when we managed to get outside to catch a few rays of sunshine and some vitamin D.



ok – we took a drive to the Ocean because we Really missed it (this was sunday)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA



but mostly we’ve been here (which is admittedly very nice and we adore teamgloria towers). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

burning the midnight oil.

which we must Not do tonight because tomorrow we have a photo shoot.

and we’re not taking the pictures.

oh no.

not allowed.

it’s a Proper Shoot with a Professional Photographer and a Stylist and a Make-up and Hair Artist and everything (there’s even an assistant).

guess who is in Front of the camera?

on Malibu Beach, no less?


who-we-are-in-RL is having her picture done for a MAGAZINE.

apparently she wrote a story and *slightlymistysadlook* you know, talked about Tobias (we almost miss him) and his sisters (they didn’t feature very heavily in the narrative, Tobias did most of the attention-seeking) and she even wrote about US – as in you behind the screen over there *peerswinninglythroughtheinterweb* and how writing as teamgloria (or allowing us, rather, to speak through her at last) and getting all your nice comments and help and support when (few of) you didn’t know who-we-are-in-RL-actually-was Got Her Through It All (we hesitate to say one piece because of course several bits of us are Missing post-surgery).

it’s a lovely story.

so they’re going to publish it.

not for a while – November issue (that means, confusingly, October, right?)

we can’t tell you which magazine yet.

because then it won’t be a surprise.

we adore surprises.

not as much as we adore butterscotch angel delight but there you go.

we must Not Leave The House.

we have to sharpen pencils and Get back to Work (three deadlines fast approaching which is delicious and Terribly Grown-up).

happy friday.


happy friday.

we are Too Too Tired to Type – and we are Expected somewhere with our work-face on in an hour or so – but we have returned to Los Angeles and had a Most Delicious time south of Oceanside and then North of Malibu (yes, it was a LONG drive home) where we were given hot mint tea to sip and a view of the sunset for the second day in a row but 100 miles in the Opposite Direction.

but life is good.

delicious, in fact.


this was the cloudy view Very Early yesterday morning (we awoke at 5.45 and headed out in the car shortly after dawn) as we took a constitutional on the Beach before we needed to be Smart and Alert to support who-we-are-in-RL during her (most interesting) Day…….


and then – MANY hours later – we drove back up to Los Angeles and across to Malibu for an evening’s engagement up high in the Canyons (not the Joni Mitchell Canyon) but another one that climbs and climbs and climbs up to a Very High Elevation *vaguelooktocamera*)9b408fda00ac11e3904e22000a1f928e_7

thankfully there was hot mint tea and friendly faces (not shown) at the top and we stayed until nightfall making it very carefully down the Canyon again feeling kind and happy and rather sleepy so we stopped in at a late night cafe in pacific palisades and had a little snack to make sure we got home safely.

and now it’s friday.

isn’t that splendid?

what will You be doing first thing Saturday morning?

visual descriptions most welcome (if they’re pretty – you know we like pretty visuals).

from Virginia Woolf to #JackieCollins via the mid-century works of Mr. Steve Martin

hello darlings

so we woke up Very Early (it was 5 something AM) and went for a Walk to greet the day (and be energetic enough for a Work Call with Europe – can’t be sleepy and pre-caffeinated just because it’s a Different Time Zone, darlings ;-)


and the world looked beautiful at Dawn. 


yesterday we found ourselves on a Hollywood Studio Lot (which we ADORE doing). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand then watching the oeuvre of Mr. Steve(n) Martin — because, you see, we have an Idea for a piece about L.A and so we’re catching up with his Other homage* to this fine city (as opposed to the-tale-of-here).

[*which was very affecting and vulnerable and beautiful actually – we had no idea.]

f26d0596f59811e296cd22000a1fd1c2_7on the Writing side – who-we-are-in-RL is having some deep(ish) Thoughts about one’s virtual self (but she doesn’t mention Us once – *sighs*)

Screen Shot 2013-07-25 at 7.21.31 PM

If you don’t have a room of your own on the Internet, you don’t have a voice in the modern world.

sophia stuart: A Room Of Your Own (Online)

and what’s this?

Screen Shot 2013-07-25 at 7.32.29 PM


so those trips to Malibu are now making sense.



we *did* help with This one – she couldn’t possibly get from Edward Hopper to Ms. Jackie Collins without our influence, love.

but you knew that didn’t you?

and now she’s next door (drinking more coffee – there’ll be Tears Later) because she’s on a Deadline apparently (for something we can’t talk about) and so we’ve been told to be Quiet.



we’ll see about that.

words by Miss. Nancy Mitford, pictures by teamgloria and a labyrinth.


a few pictures (by us)

and words by Miss. Nancy Mitford.

happy sunday.





“Twice in her life she had mistaken something else for it; it was like seeing somebody in the street who you think is a friend, you whistle and wave and run after him, and it is not only not the friend, but not even very like him. A few minutes later the real friend appears in view, and then you can’t imagine how you ever mistook that other person for him. Linda was now looking upon the authentic face of love, and she knew it, but it frightened her. That it should come so casually, so much by a series of accidents, was frightening.”

~ Nancy Mitford, The Pursuit of Love


“Mother, of course, takes a lot of exercise, walks and so on. And every morning she puts on a pair of black silk drawers and a sweater and makes indelicate gestures on the lawn. That’s called Building the Body Beautiful. She’s mad about it.”

― Nancy MitfordChristmas Pudding


“Sun, silence, and happiness.”

― Nancy MitfordThe Pursuit of Love


“Spring came late, but when it came it was hand-in-hand with summer, and almost at once everything was baking and warm, and in the villages the people danced every night on concrete dancing floors under the plane trees…”

― Nancy MitfordThe Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate


yes, you’re right.

that *is* a labyrinth.

and we walked it.


why, yesterday evening.

because That’s the Sort Of Thing one does in Malibu on a saturday after Tea.

just so you know.

what’s that?

oh we’re Sure Miss. Nancy Mitford would have adored a labyrinth (but only in the sort of shoes one wears to Garden and wearing a headscarf in suitably muted shades, of course).

joining the evening commute to #malibu and a note arrives from @BklynQly


when we had finished our Tasks for the Day we decided to head to the Ocean because it was promising to be Such a lovely evening and we wanted sand-between-our-toes and salt-on-our-skin.

and so we did.

because we can.

which is completely Extraordinary.


this is what the evening commute looks like on the Pacific Coast HighwayOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and this is where they are all heading with those surfboards.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

the evening light was transporting, truly.

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 9.28.11 AM Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 9.28.28 AMoh look!

the article DID come out as we hoped it would….

and then who-we-are-in-RL got a delightful Request via email (so Modern as William would say)

Hi Sophia

I’m one of the founding editors of a new online magazine, The Brooklyn Quarterly.  For one of the short stories we plan to run in our preview issue (launching next week), we have been scouting for potential images to pair with the story, and the author sent us a link to one of your photos of the Chandelier Tree.
We’d love to use this on our website, with your permission and full attribution, plus a link to your website.  If you could let me know whether this works for you, we’d really appreciate it — we have a week to the issue release and look forward to hearing from you.
Thanks and all best,
gloria nimbus <teamgloria@teamgloria.com>
9:27 AM (14 minutes ago)

to Tristan
Dear Tristan

What a charming request!
And how exciting to hear of your new launch.
Yes. Do.
The credit line: “teamgloria pictures” please and a link to http://teamgloria.com
Do let me know when it’s live and I’ll write about it.
Best of luck for the launch!
Warmest regards from sunny southern california
it’s not EXACTLY the Times, of London, writing a letter (requesting use of an excerpt from Nancy Mitford’s The Blessing), that goes in the Diplomatic Pouch to the British Embassy in Paris and then someone sends a young person on a bicycle to her apartment and she opens the door and invites the Young Person in for tea while she finds some decent writing paper and an ink nib (the last one just broke) and pens a Response.
but it felt awfully close.
just for a moment.
and we’re so Tickled Pink that it was the chandelier tree that caught the fancy of the Editors at the Brooklyn Quarterly.
isn’t the interweb delicious?
Brooklyn Quarterly?
do you think they might be using our chandelier tree to talk about Serious Things like the downfall of the frivolous Rich?
carry on.
we’re delighted with the Exposure to a new crowd – especially such a serious crowd in probably nice scarves and the sort of overcoat that Truman Capote wore to the Library.
we do think like that.
all the time.
sometimes it’s exhausting.
but today’s it is Most delightful.

this Just IN!


Loving the world today.

Aren’t you?

we have an ISBN number…and an artistic crush on Mr. Neil Jordan


we are “Mid-Edit” with The Publisher of the forthcoming (can February 2014 be counted as forthcoming? or far off? so hard to tell in this fast-paced-interweb-world) BOOK and it’s a thrilling back and forth conversation with learned copy editors and design chiefs – a whirl of loveliness about “what did you mean here?” and “can you expand?” and “Andrew McCarthy wasn’t in About Last Night” (we got our Movies mixed up in the List section of books-we-read and movies-we-watched while on medical leave!)

it’s delicious.

but the Most Glorious moment happened when we went through all the bumpf that that they use to Make A Book – like copyright line and so on.

we stopped dead in our tracks with our fingers poised over the keyboard.

there. it. was.



we must return to our Notes but we just wanted to visit you Here and leave a few pictures from yesterday.

*wavingfromlosangeles* (we’re lying back on the vast pillow-y-pillows as it feels very Lady Author to edit chez one’s boudoir ;-)

a few notes between pictures and then we Really must Dash…….


yes, the sky turned pink the other evening – like a night in a small Tuscan village. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

we’ve been sleeping badly as it’s Just So Hot at night (not hot flashes – as yet – although those will be exciting when they arrive but it was 90 degrees whatever that is in old money last night) – the air conditioning unit is Very Loud so we avoid it – but needs must – hot milk with a cinnamon stick is a good pre-sleep-soother. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

as is a satin throw and soft white cotton sheets and something small and sprigged in the flower department on a pillowcase, darlings. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

in MALIBU yesterday for an appointment with destiny.

beautiful pink roses. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


and lamps as if from a carriage house in a grand country Pile In Sussex. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

softly blowing lavender in the side verges along the roadside. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and Bougainvillea everywhere! 


and now to our newest passion.

neil jordan.

we watched Breakfast on Pluto – how had we MISSED THIS BEFORE?

it was unbelievable – joyful, painful, glorious and oh-so-wickedly-funny and then heart-breaking……

here’s the trailer (hope you can see it in NZ or do ask Mr. Google for a local version!)

so we decided we needed to learn more about Mr. Jordan’s work (yes, yes, we had heard of him – The Crying Game was ELECTRIFYING when we first sat in that darkened cinema in brighton and wept at the screen – but we didn’t know whether we’d read his novels……..we’ve read a Lot as you know so sometimes we forget….)

so we went to a bookshop and there it was – a copy of Neil Jordan.



it’s a sign.

we’ve decided we need to work on his next film.

so we’re going to Write To Him.

of course we’ll let you know, love.

we tell you everything.

(actually that’s not True – we leave a Lot Out – but the basic Plot is here).

then we drove up to Hollywoodland to meet with Miss Jules Berlin as it was her last day in Los Angeles *sighs* and brought her a copy of Mr. Raymond Chandler‘s quotes.

some of the quotes were So Good that we had to photograph them in our car before we meet up with Julia.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand there you have it.

we are in possession of our first ISBN number.

a letter is forming in our head to write to Mr. Neil Jordan because we want to work for him.

and Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles is still very much extant.


and sort of shivery at the same time.

happy monday, btw (as the young people say).

how’s it going so far?


nice hat.


have you been working out?

shoulder pads?

they’re back?


last night in malibu with elizabeth gilbert @gilbertliz


we had the nicest call from the lady at the Malibu Public Library 

just wanted to let you know that the waiting list opened up and you have two confirmed seats for the Speakers Series with Elizabeth Gilbert.

quelle splendidness.

so we drove over freeways and down canyons and alongside-the-ocean and there it was the Malibu Public Library.

strange though – no cars.

the event was meant to be Sold Out.

and then we saw a group of new friends (new because they had only just met and bonded over A/Elizabeth Gilbert’s “eat pray love” and B/being Lost In Malibu) and they were chattering happily and tripping along in cork wedgie sandals and something floaty and diaphanous on top with slim jeans and blown-out-fluffy-hair (yes, all of them – we were not Correctly dressed for this event it was clear).

it’s not at the library!

they all said as we approached.


where is it?


at the malibu civic theatre!

so we followed the aubergine station wagon and a slim dark navy Mercedes and found our way into a lobby of Cross People (who did not have confirmed seats for the Event and were irritated to find out there was a very long waiting list indeed).

not long after the excited chatter and leaning-over-the-back-of-the-seats to share E. gilbert stories all subsided, the orangey-glow of the Malibu Civic Theatre (just in case you want to visit: Malibu Civic Theatre, 23825 Stuart Ranch Road, Malibu 90265 or Malibu is online here) seemed to get a little brighter and then she walked out on stage.

elizabeth gilbert at malibu civic theatre june 23rd 2013

we did feel a little smug as we were in black too.

elizabeth gilbert is a truly inspired speaker – fluid, fluent, funny, elegiac, magical – and also highly irreverent:

for example, on remembering her TED talk:

Bill Gates is in the front row. Al Gore is next to him. I’m in tears in my hotel room that morning because all the talks the day before were on robotics. And then I got up there and I’m talking about fucking faeries.

slightly strange to be in the company of devotees.

which elizabeth (can we call her Liz?) deflected with funny stories.

like one about meeting two little old italian ladies in an airport who kept nudging each other about who-that-woman-was and finally concluded she was:

that girl who wrote that book based on that movie.

proving yet again that Cinema has a greater popular culture stamp than literary fiction or confessional memoir.


then she flowed into a lovely involved anecdote (which you just Knew was getting us to the point of the evening which was to Talk About Her New Book – but it was done Very Well), an interwoven tale within many tales about “why i’m a writer” and “shameless pursuit of magic” and “an inspired life” and “how ideas arrive – and leave” (that was a really beautiful and wickedly funny/slash/gasps-from-the-audience strand) and “don’t write for a demographic – write to a single person” (which is great stylistic advice but Publishers still expect the demographic to be duly noted in the Brief and Pitch and Publication Notes for the Publicity Department because they want to sell more than one book and anyway if you wrote it for one person you undoubtedly gave them a free copy).

when the evening was over and we’d all clapped and then drove out past the ocean which twinkled under the most pendulous and portentous full moon one had ever seen, we looked at her website for the response to the most over-asked-question-of-writers and found this excellent piece. 

I have a friend who’s an Italian filmmaker of great artistic sensibility. After years of struggling to get his films made, he sent an anguished letter to his hero, the brilliant (and perhaps half-insane) German filmmaker Werner Herzog. My friend complained about how difficult it is these days to be an independent filmmaker, how hard it is to find government arts grants, how the audiences have all been ruined by Hollywood and how the world has lost its taste…etc, etc. Herzog wrote back a personal letter to my friend that essentially ran along these lines: “Quit your complaining. It’s not the world’s fault that you wanted to be an artist. It’s not the world’s job to enjoy the films you make, and it’s certainly not the world’s obligation to pay for your dreams. Nobody wants to hear it. Steal a camera if you have to, but stop whining and get back to work.” I repeat those words back to myself whenever I start to feel resentful, entitled, competitive or unappreciated with regard to my writing: “It’s not the world’s fault that you want to be an artist…now get back to work.”  Always, at the end of the day, the important thing is only and always that: Get back to work. This is a path for the courageous and the faithful. You must find another reason to work, other than the desire for success or recognition. It must come from another place.

it is an excellent point – and nice deflection by using Herr Herzog to say the tough love stuff rather than having to say it oneself.

it’s amazing how many people suddenly come out of the woodwork with a half-finished manuscript in the bottom drawer when one gets a publishing contract and would like you to read it (which we cannot – we’re not an Editor or a Publisher – we just Write – every day – which is what one has to do if one wants to have a book someday).



but this is the curious bit.

we asked a question last night, in Malibu:

when did you realize you were famous and how did it feel?

because there has to be a Thrill at some point or a delicious warm glow-y-ness.

eat pray love gave permission to several generations of women to have a Big Life.

even if they didn’t go and get one – they felt like Liz was out there doing it for them and by reading her book, they got a contact high.

which is wonderful.

truly wonderful.

but we got the strangest answer:

well, I’m not that famous. And I don’t have Neil Gaiman’s fans or Twilight fans – mine are usually middle aged ladies who went through a bad divorce and are nice and sort of apologetic when they approach me.

we paused.


well, we’re Neither.

we admired her (and her lovely voice on the audiobook) because she got off the bathroom floor and went around the world and wrote about it as she climbed out of Chaos and made-something-of-that-experience.

she had an ADVENTURE.


isn’t that extraordinary?

we’re sort of sad that she doesn’t have a yummy delicious feeling about doing that.

or maybe she does.

here was her blog post after the Talk last night.


Holy shit, you guys, I wish you could see the moon over the Pacific Ocean at this very moment, like I am seeing it right now in Malibu. I just finished my talk (THANK YOU, BEAUTIFUL LOVELY AUDIENCE!) and came outside to the best imaginable view of the SUPER MOON.

Are you looking at this, wherever it is night?

The moon is at is PERIGEE (just learned this word) — its closest point to earth. Feels like you could reach it with a pretty decent stepladder. I’ve never quite seen anything like it.

If you ever wanted to shoot for the moon, everyone, I would suggest doing it RIGHT NOW. Just stand on your tiptoes and go for it.

Gonna go stare at it some more and marvel.

Have a BLESSED night.

Love from your friendly local Cancerian,

ah yes.

That’s the sound of someone truly happy and fulfilled and spirit-brimming-over.

which is the only reason to write.