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?)
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.
and 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).
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.
and 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.
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).
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.”