better trickery: ordering Library Materials, blowing bubbles and Writing a new novel.

darlings

we were a Tiny bit Despondent earlier but after a Lot of Action and reading all your Clever suggestions at the end of that Post, we perked up no end and went online and ordered some Library Materials (so much more financially prudent than Ordering via Amazon and it’s all pre-1960 – can’t wait to share it with You).

miss Jules suggested blowing soap bubbles to engender happiness so we did…..

viewer

and Then the mysteriously-glorious writer-editor-minnesänger went one Further and brought our attention to the fact that bubbles-are-not-just-for-children anymore – look!

William said “commune with the waves” which is gloriously transcendent and very English (particularly if the Sea is Wild and Cornish).

George was singing a ditty from the Twenties and apparently that works – we just tried it – it Does!

Stacy reminded us to Just Begin.

Screen shot 2013-02-11 at 3.28.38 PM

and so we did.

having delivered Emerald to our lovely agent in New York (such a splendid phrase, non?)

we have Started the Next One.

Meet Marion, darlings.

Marion peered out of the window as the taxi swung into Church Row, Hampstead. She could not see much because it was raining. Of course it was raining, she thought, this is England. At least it made the grass green and the houses look freshly washed and brushed up.

Leaning back she pulled her gloves on tightly and tried to remember what her boss back in New York had said: something about the London office needing rescuing. She knew it was a ruse. But things had got just a tiny bit too much in New York and she agreed to this transfer. Besides, it was only a year. How bad could it be?

A few moments later the taxi pulled up outside a tall white house with casement windows and a brightly painted red front door. A woman in sensible tweed skirt and cashmere lilac sweater set was standing with a clipboard, barely sheltering from the rain, in front of the door. Marion sighed. The woman was wearing pearls and lace-up brogues. Seriously? Did the English really play their part to the hilt so convincingly?

Marion paid the driver and opened the cab door. The driver sprung open the trunk but did not move to get her luggage. She wondered if she had not tipped him enough. Perhaps they just didn’t do luggage removal here in England. She struggled with the bags a little and smeared some mud on her camel coat. The coat had been pristine when she left New York, but a few moments in England and it was soaking and had a mud stain. Great.

The woman with the clipboard called out, cheerily, “Are you on your own?” but stayed firmly inside the doorway. Marion lugged her bags up the front path and dumped them hard on the stone step.

“In a metaphysical sense or in reality?” she asked. The woman – whose name appeared to be Diana Knoll-West, according to her business card – was undefeated.

“We assumed you’d be bringing your family,” Diana said. “It’s rather a large house for one.”

After living in a Manhattan apartment for the past seven years, Marion thought the house on Church Row was rather large, but she was damned if she was going to say so. “I have rather a large life,” she said, and gestured for Diana to open the door so they could both get out of the rain. Diana was not a former Head Girl of Cheltenham Ladies College for nothing. She drew herself up to her full height, which was actually not that impressive, and looked at Marion with a tiny bit of condescension. “Gosh. I forgot how confident you Americans are!”

“Brash, I believe, is the word you Brits use, Diana” said Marion, and took the keys out of Diana’s hands and opened the door.

what do you think, darlings?

*nervouslooktocamera*

well, it seems that who we are in RL has just popped next door to apply mascara and head out into the World in her guise as Special (digital) Advisor to be helpful and gainfully employed.

of course we are going to stay in with an apricot face scrub and lie winsomely on the sofa with a pashmina loosely draped and a selection of British DVDs and continue with The House on Church Row (which is already a completed screenplay so writing the Novel is going to be dreamy – a Lot Happens in Hampstead – you’ll see).

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).

viewer-1

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).

void(0)

 

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.

image

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

image

image

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. 

image

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?)

image

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).

image

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)…..

image

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.

image

So exciting.

Sunday, tomorrow.

As heather says, the best day.

best thing about medical leave: TIME (to read an entire novel) #Idontknowhowshedoesit

the worst thing about medical leave is……dealing with the pain, the pills, the discomfort, the nausea, the scars, calls from our insurance company (did they not get the memo that we had our Throat Slit and can’t return calls easily? clearly not)…..

the best thing about medical leave (apart from enforced naps post-nausea post-pills) is TIME.

time to read.

the sort of time to read that we’ve not had in (*has to think hard for a second*) years. since university, in England, that thing called “reading week” (and even then we rarely got to read what we really wanted to read).

so today (apart from the usual list at the top of the page) we read AN ENTIRE NOVEL.

here’s what we devoured:

our absolutely favorite/favourite/chortle-worthy (almost made the feeling of internal bruising and swelling and throat scars pulling apart terror ok ;-) lines are unprintable for reasons that readers of the book will understand – as the bits we resonated with (as we sort of, ahem, chose not to have children this lifetime for various reasons) are about – how can we put this? gender-challenges-in-the-workplace. there, that should do it. and considering we have to go back to our Day Job at the end of september, we might need to be a bit more prudent than we’d like to be.

but here’s one that we can write here:

over the PA comes the voice of the pilot, one of those chummy call-me-Pete types. Heart sinks. At moments like this do not want pilot to be called Pete. Urgently want pilot to be chap named Roger Carter from Weybridge, Wing Commander, Battle of Britain type, mistress in Agadir, good friend of Raymond Baxter from Tomorrow’s World.

oh, damn it, here’s one we loved (risky, risky, team gloria):

When I first arrived as a trainee in the City, I assumed that meetings were for making decisions; it took a few weeks to figure out that they were arenas of display, the Square Mile equivalent of those gorillas grooming sessions you see on wildlife programs.

(shared this one with mC who took us for a little stroll to get some air early and we snorted so hard we had to stop walking)

and oh! the way Allison just throws away tiny lines that hit like darts to the soul…

But happy childhoods are no bloody good for drive and success; misery and rejection and standing in the rain at bus stops are the fuel for those.

we completely identify as the Americans say. #sigh.

more?

why, of course:

Kirsty and Simon Bing are architect friends of Richard. The same age as us, they have no children but only one exquisite gray-blue cat that drifts like smoke through the Japanese porcelain in their Clerkenwell loft.

go (and) buy your copy right NOW.

the plots twists are brilliant, characterization/character-development is witty and poignant and you really want to find out what happens next (which is why we read it between naps, and OW pain moments and the medication schedule on the fridge – yeah, we’re Type A about illness – of course there’s a Plan on the Fridge).

we also have a confession to make about Allison Pearson (if you’ve been with team gloria since we were on that last round-trip for the Day Job to Madrid-Milan-Paris-London you might remember this post: (where we talk about being on the same newspaper as the Author many moons ago, before we moved to America and became a suit and then got tumours/tumors and became team gloria) and how we’d like to be the fourth female journalist to write a hit book/column/movie from those days on City Road (before they moved us all into the bunkers of Canary Wharf before they even built a bloody Tesco Metro). anyway, that bit of our story, that coincides with Allison (we were a minnow, not sure we ever spoke to one another) and her time there is here. 

and here’s the most important bit – the movie has (according to reports) A DIFFERENT ENDING. so read the novel – before the movie opens – so you can be one of those people who say “Oh, interesting treatment of the original text”.*

*if you live in NYC, SF, LA, Seattle, London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Berlin or Paris (you’ll thank us, the rest of the world probably will just enjoy the movie, but you need to hold your head up high missy in the wine bar after with the ladies. no problem, happy to provide a service)

we ought to sleep now.

but there are so many delicious books waiting to be read.

tomorrow is another day.

such a good line. really ought to be in a film.