the spirit of mr. robert graves lives here still.

darlings

deia is glorious.

and we thought you’d enjoy these pictures we took today with some words from Mr. Robert Graves, who lived here and was Most Productive.

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A Pinch of Salt

When a dream is born in you
With a sudden clamorous pain,
When you know the dream is true
And lovely, with no flaw nor stain,
O then, be careful, or with sudden clutch
You’ll hurt the delicate thing you prize so much.

Dreams are like a bird that mocks,
Flirting the feathers of his tail.
When you seize at the salt-box,
Over the hedge you’ll see him sail.
Old birds are neither caught with salt nor chaff:
They watch you from the apple bough and laugh.

Poet, never chase the dream.
Laugh yourself, and turn away.
Mask your hunger; let it seem
Small matter if he come or stay;
But when he nestles in your hand at last,
Close up your fingers tight and hold him fast.

Robert Graves

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Morning Phœnix

In my body lives a flame,
Flame that burns me all the day;
When a fierce sun does the same,
I am charred away.

Who could keep a smiling wit,
Roasted so in heart and hide,
Turning on the sun’s red spit,
Scorched by love inside?

Caves I long for and cold rocks,
Minnow-peopled country brooks,
Blundering gales of Equinox,
Sunless valley-nooks,

Daily so I might restore
Calcined heart and shrivelled skin,
A morning phœnix with proud roar
Kindled new within.

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and here is a splendid interview with Mr. R. Graves from the summer of 1969 (a very fine year) with the clever editors at Paris Review – he sounds like a Most Complicated human being (we can relate). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

the houses are magnificent and redolent of lazy afternoons under palms with a tray for tea on its way and a novel half-read abandoned on the lawn. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

while the sun is high in the sky one walks and discusses Deep Things and then, as the night draws in, the twinkle lights come on and the sky is flush with stars, a small terrace (alas a small amount of rain but no matter), a late supper, tea at the farmhouse table and Talk of the future – or not – just dreams – or visions – with plans – or nots – or silent because One Really is not Sure. Just right now.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthere is a curious comfort reading an Author in the land in which they lived.

particularly when one sees the vast mountain ranges and That view down to the water and the gnarled olive trees and the scent of lavender on the breeze.

back to Mr. Robert Graves: 

INTERVIEWER

How many books have you published?

GRAVES

One hundred and twenty-one—but many of those are revised collections. Then I’ve written books for other people.

INTERVIEWER

Why have you done that?

GRAVES

Because they had something to say, and they couldn’t write it down.

that’s what who-we-are-are-RL has been doing for the past 24 hours – helping people who have something to say but did not have the (digital skills) to write it o u t.

which is nice.

and helpful.

now we go to Ibiza to do the same all over again.

it’s a lovely way to t r a v e l, darlings.

even if it’s the last time we do something like this before we do something else.

which, of course, makes it all the sweeter.

 

#HerTheMovie part ii and life in L.A on a general note

darlings

such a pleasant surprise!

who-we-are-in-RL also got a copy of her article about Mr. Spike Jones which was written for a UK publication (so Modern, as William would say – appearing in two languages!)

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lovely.

in other news……3e3b30c07cbb11e3b05212a6e2c83f33_8

lots of driving at twilight….30d681747d3211e3a0a00e0a1b2b9a73_8

working not necessarily feverishly but with definite purpose during the daylight hours (and what lovely daylight it is over on This Coast). d0fa94607c6511e39a7f12e9e786c5f7_8

the roses are particularly creamy at this time of year. e8ca38527cc911e39df312c88b6315b6_8and magical evenings galore.

well.

whatever next?

who knows (we sort of hope Some people do – but there again – life is a mystery and no mistake)?

that’s the best thing about being Here in L.A – anything could happen.

which is the opposite of the same-thing-happening-every-day (and we’ve been There and sometimes it was Nice to know that things were trundling on but really, to be honest, we’re Not that sort of person who truly appreciates, how can we put this – stability, domesticity and/or Routine).

so – let’s wait and see.

shall we?

*smilestocamera3*

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while we wait we lurk in bookshops idly (ok, fervently) wondering what it’ll be like to have our FIRST EVER BOOK in an actual Book Shop.

*shivers*

bloody lovely, most probably.

we’ll let you know.

 

The Year Of Living Gloriously.

darlings

well.

it’s almost here.

2014 is *waiting* in the wings, adjusting its tulle wings and making sure the coronet is on properly and a list of Adventures to be had in the script – one last quick scan of its Lines – and a quick peek into the audience behind the stage manager’s left shoulder and a thumbs up at the guys hanging on the lighting rig, ready with the follow spot.

while 2013 wraps up its speech, takes a look at 2014 with a shy and quite weary, by now, smile, and Prepares to leave to go back, get recycled by all the souls up there who are busy-busy-taking-notes and getting ready to Inspire Writers and Directors and Actors and Animators (most especially those) all around the world to Immortalis/z/e what they have Absorbed and learned and found necessary to express in some Literary or Cinematic form (or perhaps a graphic novel or two, we adore those).

and You?

how do you wind up the year and make sure everything’s tidy and present and clean and neat and Complete?

do. tell.

over here at teamgloria towers?

mostly we’ve found that glitter is involved at some point – and of course a Collection of Moleskines.

what else?

*pauses*

shall we look?

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we spent some time this morning doing laundry and Packing for the Convent (we’re off to a Contemplatives Retreat in the morning in, yes, a convent). 805cd822709b11e383d012dabd1c8057_8

and admiring the sunbursting through the mesh that protects our sleeping form from night flying creatures (both mythical and related-to-the-fruit-fly). 844b38ea70ee11e38c8c12afb5ad8ea8_8

we had a (surprisingly large) cafe au lait with Mr. Dub Williams who is an Artist and gave us some of his latest work, which we are Delighted to put in the scrapbook. 
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while doing laundry we noticed a small bag on the shelf by the mailboxes (which are in a recess next to the laundry room you see) and Peeked inside – it was an abandoned set of glitter tubes (remnants of a christmas eve crafting?) – we knew it was for The Taking because that’s where we all leave stuff-we-do-not-need-anymore (it functions a bit like a lending library – funny enough – all the buildings we lived in NYC – apart from one – because there was no available shelf – had lending libraries of some sort of another in the Laundry room)

some of the glitter shades were not ones we truly appreciate, so we left those for Others.

and nabbed the silver, pale blue and French Navy.
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and now we have a somewhat nautical shimmering Feature on the windowsill. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

we also sorted through the last year of Moleskines (some call it Memories – we call it Material ;-)
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then we gathered up all the delicious scraps not-yet-scrapbooked – YES! we made it to not just One but TWO contributors pages in 2013 (such a hono(u)r!) and put them in the plastic folder to be sellotaped (other brands are available as they used to say on the BBC) when the photographic prints arrive from mr. internet. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

pausing to slip down into the calmer waters that lie beneath fears and nonsense.
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more pausing.

then we looked Back again at the Moleskines 2013.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand took a few notes and made what started to look a Lot like a Table of Contents *shiver* for a new book…..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAall about how we went from This (yup, this was the View from who-we-are-in-RL’s office in 2011)

to – well – this:
hospitalbed
and decided to jump full-time into this:

teamgloriaimageand (asked OneStopNYC to) Pack up the Apartment (and Life) on That Coast while we took a train and a plane and a car rental and an apartment lease and a new drivers license and – well – Made it Back to This Coast.  

viewer2and we thought about What it had Taken (to do all that) and how Brave we had to be to jump off the (metaphorical) cliff and how Difficult (and scary) Setting up a New Life had been but then there was the LONG AWAITED GREEN CARD‘s arrival and MANY Adventures and writing every day and taking photographs and delivering the final book Manuscript to our Publisher (such a perfectly perfect Phrase) and seeing our First Technology Cover in over 17 *gulps* Years and Secret Consulting gigs and Judging (in a good way) in South Africa and hiring a Lawyer and transferring our Corporation to this Coast and – well – we had to take a step back and *smile*

looks like we might have Something to Share as a result.

so we’ve started writing it – the 2nd book (actually we’ve written a lot more than that but this is another non-fiction not the novels although we really do hope that our Agent can sell Those in 2014 as a result of the “buzz” or whatever they call it technically around the First)

anyway – it’s going to be called (for now)

The Year Of Living Gloriously: how to re-boot your Life

oh good.

we like it too. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAso do Please welcome moleskine #160; where we start writing it, darlings

NOW –

there’s a Strict no cellphone/laptop Policy at the Convent (as you might expect).

so we’ll see you back here – pronto – late Jan 1st 2014 – *wavingfromlosangeles*

thanks for being here throughout 2013 – it really helped.

*shylookoffcamera*

it really did.

we (seriously) could Not have done this without You.

 

tales of scary movies, an homage to #LALaw and the 1st extract of #HowToStaySaneInACrazyWorld

well, darlings

who-we-are-in-RL has been Very busy.

lots of consulting *shhhh* – no details available there, we’re sorry to say.

but she did whip up a very nice EXTRACT for How To Stay Sane In A Crazy World as the pages came winging their way from manhattan via a hi-speed telecommunications line (or was it 802.11ac?)

and worked as a Production Notes Writer for a HORROR movie (if you’re squeamish, do NOT, repeat, do NOT watch the trailer – and we suspect you’re deeply sensitive souls so best avoid any scariness).

which one?

oh – well – the one that was directed by Eli Roth (he was in that movie with Mr. Pitt) and just did splendidly at Toronto, as described by our friends at The Hollywood Reporter

what’s that?

gosh, no. Production Notes Writers don’t get IMDB credits. But it was ever so much fun (even if we did watch the footage with our hands over our eyes).

what else?

*thinks*

well.

we had lunch with Mr. Keanu Reeves’ lady-lawyer – Melanie Cook – a deeply impressive individual (and such a delicious luncheon companion) and Wrote about It (because she said we could).

also just delivered the 1st Draft of a story about the Future for a magazine – more on That when we’re allowed to tell you about it.

and that’s about it.

we think.

now you must excuse us – we need to go and *sigh* gently over our 1st extract of the BOOK and then head to Mr. Fedex who has a parcel for us apparently (most exciting).

hint: you don’t need to put your reading glasses on to see the words if you click on the picture as you’ll get a bigger version then.

you’re welcome, darlings.

HTSSIACWHK HTSSIACWInside1 HTSSIACWIntro1 HTSSIACWIntro2-3 HTSSIACWP27 HTSSIACWP43 HTSSIACWP44 HTSSIACWTip1 HTSSIACWTip2

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 ;-)

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and the world looked beautiful at Dawn. 

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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*)

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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?

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aha!

so those trips to Malibu are now making sense.

teamgloriapost2

yes.

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.

harrumph.

*looksaroundtappingfingersontable*

we’ll see about that.

to Pasadena to see #MadsMikkelsen (not literally) in #theHunt (which was jolly good)

darlings

we’re Mid-Writing so Must Get Back to It (because someone is paying for our time)

it’s now 11.15 AM precisely (as the Speaking Clock used to say) – so this is what would be our Mid-Morning Tea Break if we still worked on the newspaper back in England – heady days *farofflook* when the lady-in-an-overall (british sort so a dress in nylon with a zip up the front and usually small blue diamonds on a white background, not american dungarees – confusing, non?) would trundle round with the trolley (again, british sort – tea tray on stilts – not a mechanical conveyance taking you up a steep hill) and say (invariably)

cup of tea love?

oh. yes please, doreen.

and a nice Arrowroot biscuit?

don’t mind if I do.

glad to see you’re not on a diet like those girls *sniffs* on the fashion desk *nodsintheirdirection*

oh. perhaps we won’t today.

nonsense. here you go – have two.

*sighs*

(this is why we only did 6 months on the Fashion Desk and mostly wrote about Photographers instead of Collections ;-)

gosh.

we digress.

and we only have a few Moments.

where were we?

aha!

Pasadena.

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we went to see The Hunt – and it was jolly good. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

the light when we emerged at 7’ish was glorious!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

a blushing floral experienceOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

an antique clock (pretty sure our grandmother had this exact model – is that possible? or an English Version at any rate)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pasadena seems to be Rather Radical in its “street furniture” (yes, that’s what they call it and not just in Pasadena – generally, one does, apparently)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

ah. the twilight. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and the long drive home. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and the Dennis Hopper-esque scenes from the window (when paused at a traffic light we hasten to add)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

cutting through downtownOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and admiring our Stash of old magazines and books which we found in Pasadena at Cliff’s BooksOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAah. This is a Treasure and no mistake.

we shall write more about this in due course.

what’s that you just said?

oh.

the movie?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAyes.

we did like it – very much.

and who-we-are-in-RL wrote a very deep and meaningful Review as well.

yes she does write Very Quickly.

which we must do now as well.

because we’re working on a movie (post-production – they’ve already made it).

isn’t that exciting?

which one?

we can’t possibly tell you.

sorry.

we signed all sorts of things *saidvaguely* but we’ll tell you later this year if we can.

must dash!

and not an Arrowroot biscuit in sight….

*sighs*

looks like that half a grapefruit in a white bowl on the counter is our mid-morning snack then.

yum.

*painedlook*

thank goodness there was cheddar cheese oatmeal for breakfast or we’d be very hungry right about now.

lingering with fellow europeans in beverly hills

darlings

we write to you mid-sip of a freshly squeezed melange of fruits and vegetables – it’s been a delicious day but we’ve been quite frankly rushed off our (with lovely Work) size 9 doctor marten originals and completely forgot to post!

the fruits of lingering with europeans in cafes is most definitely paying off.

here’s another Record(you knew that was coming didn’t you?)
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Talking of Post (in another Context) both william And george sent missives today.

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We do adore a glimpse into the pastoral beach scenes of the garden-of-england and we do Hope william will be reporting from both the Oyster festival and Ladies Bowling.

Delicious.

hiding in plain sight.

darlings

we had the Most glorious conversation about Creativity yesterday.

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we drove *looksvaguelytocamera* towards the Ocean (the Pacific, we were staying on this Coast) and met-in-a-cafe (as we like to do) and talked for a nice long while about why-people-create and when and how and what-happens-if-they-do-not-create (depression ensues in our experience).

there’s something so gloriously other-worldly talking to other writers who are writing books.

one cannot share another’s imaginary world but there’s magic in knowing they live in one too. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

like Mr. Laurie Lee (how we wish we could sit in a cafe with him – but we can – because we own several of his books which is as near as one can get to sitting-with-the-actual-person).

a day unremembered is like a soul unborn, worse than if it had never been. What indeed was that summer if it is not recalled? That journey? That act of love? To whom did it happen if it has left you with nothing? Certainly not to you. So any bits of warm life preserved by the pen are trophies snatched from the dark, are branches of leaves fished out of the flood, are tiny arrests of mortality.

the urge to write may also be the fear of death – particularly with autobiography – the need to leave messages for those who come after, saying, ‘I was here; I saw it too’. Then there are the other uses of autobiography, some less poignant than these assurances – exposure, confession, apologia, revenge, or even staking one’s claim to be a godhead. In writing my first volume of autobiography, Cider with Rosie (1959), I was moved by several of these needs, but the chief one was celebration: to praise the life I’d had and so preserve it, and to live again both the good and the bad.

[P.49]

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we have other muses in silver frames. 

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can you guess who?


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we thought you might *smiles*OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and dreaming of Other Worlds sustains us. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

we’ve even started a collage wall (which is what we had back in University on our side of the room when we shared with SH who had her own original watercolo(u)rs on Her Side.

some of the pictures are ours – others bought at bookshops or newsstands – and the rest are Gifts –

can you see the one on the right of a seagull? that was sent to us from Brighton by the very talented Ailsa McWhinnie (we became friendly via the Interweb on the land-of-Instagram)

the small boy in a spanish street? that was sent from Barcelona by the glorious Miss Jules who was on holiday there a little while ago.

so we’ve procrastinated enough – here’s what we really wanted to write about……*sighs*

back to Mr. Laurie Lee for a moment in (almost) closing.

But perhaps the widest pitfall in autobiography is the writer’s censorship of self. Unconscious or deliberate, it often releases an image of one who could never have lived. Flat, shadowy, prim and bloodless, it is a leaf pressed dry on the page, the surrogate chosen for public office so that the author might survive in secret.

[P.52]

you see that’s why we’re here.

because who-we-are-in-RL is terribly conflicted about a lot of things and we Listen (a bit distractedly at times, we confess, because sometimes when she’s in-a-muddle we really just want to eat cake – one with jam filling – strawberry but only real not from a jar – and with a fine dusting of icing sugar on the top and a light sponge with a dollop of Cornish cream on the side) and try to be nice.

and we often have a Solution (apart from the cake-eating which is most definitely On Hiatus right now in favo(u)r of more healthful – as the americans call it – fare).

so today is gay pride in west hollywood which means traffic will be a Nightmare all weekend.

that’s not the (main) reason we’re skipping town and heading East.

you see who-we-are-in-RL used to go to Pride (as it was known in those days) in her much younger youth (you’ve probably guessed from our Torrid Tales that there was a deep experience in the more alt. worlds than previously written about before-we-got-a-green-card *coughs*) and in Those Days it was all Shocking (and not just the outfits) and Glam (70s style, sometimes 1920s – there was that Charleston Dress she wore in London, with gloves – long black satin ones) but now………now……..the love that dare not speak its name is now sold-to-by-credit-card-companies and well, exploited (can we be this bold?) and yet – and yet – when we drove past the Site last night we had to swallow hard and look away and admit that it’s all still behind fences with police present and cordoned off and costs money-to-enter (doesn’t everything?)

anyway – movingswiftlyon

we told who-we-are-in-RL that she Can write about that stuff when she’s ready.

but for now we have a Novel to write about goddesses in gowns from the Ancient World.

and so we begin again.

It was one of those really rainy nights in London where umbrellas are all but useless. It had been pouring down for hours and people ducked into doorways or crowded into bus shelters and generally looked damp and careworn.

Everyone that is apart from one glitteringly beautiful goddess who walked down the center of Charing Cross Road without an umbrella or a hat or even a coat. But nobody saw her because she was the leader of the Muses (and thus a real goddess).

Calliope did not feel at all goddess-like this evening. She was enraged by a headline on the evening newspaper. It said, “ARE LIFE COACHES THE NEW MUSES?”

She walked on further almost towards Trafalgar Square, which was now crammed bumper to bumper with cars, cabs and buses all stuck in the rush hour, horns blaring and took a sharp right, sweeping regally past the guards and into the National Portrait Gallery.

Rushing through the Victorian galleries (blowing a kiss to the young Queen’s portrait) she sped up to the next floor flying through the Tudors, Stuarts and through the late eighteenth century to the nineteenth galleries. She stopped as soon as she reached The Romantics room with Blake, Shelley and Keats.

“I’ve missed you,” she said, catching her breath. The portraits, of course, stayed silent. But she knew something of their spirits was contained in the paint. “Nobody believes in us anymore.” The portraits did not reply. “They have replaced us with humans they call Life Coaches.”

A young male student wandered into the gallery and sat down in front of the Keats painting. He opened up a slim volume of poetry and started to read, looking up at the portrait from time to time with tears in his eyes. Calliope watched him for a while in wonder. Then she drifted over to his chair and stood behind him, stroking his hair gently and kissing the back of his neck. The young man was astonished. He could feel something but there was no one there. Calliope put her hands on the book and turned the page out of interest, to see which poem was next. The young man dropped the book in fright and ran away.

Calliope sat on the chair and read from the book.

“Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art–
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching…….”

She looked up at Keats and smiled. “Now that one was glorious, I remember it so well.” Leaving the book carefully on the chair, she raised her arms towards the tips of the gold frames and said, “Find me a so-called Life Coach who could inspire such beauty, darlings.”

And with that she laughed and ran out of the gallery and caught the next celestial transporter to somewhere called Donal Bay, just outside of Los Angeles. According to the magazine articles, that was where they trained these new Life Coaches in their bid to become Muses.

so there you have it.

by our reckoning we have another few novels and screenplays to go before we get to writing-about-the-gritty-stuff – but we’ll have a Lot of Fun doing it and then, just maybe, who knows, we’ll have Sorted Some of that Out (no pun intended, or maybe there was, darlings) and we can Switch (again, oh hell, who are we kidding…..) to a more Naturalistic style (or – *gasps*) Cinéma vérité? but only if JPG supervises Wardrobe – we have our Limits – which are probably a lot further into space and time continuum than we had ever known before you-know-what.

the best line from yesterday (and it wasn’t even ours) was this:

there’s a lot to do before you die.

so we’d better get on with it………………

do you think like that too, darlings?

or is it just us?

*worriedlooktocamera*

do. tell.

twinkle lights on laurel avenue, a screening of #TheEnglishTeacher and somebody Important arrives at The House On Church Row

darlings

happy sunday!

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isn’t sunday just a lovely day?

we won’t see much of it until later because we have Lots to Do (column to write, the last section of The House on Church Row and a fresh copy of a magazine from the languid and luscious South has arrived) – but we shall venture out around 5PM for a light supper and meeting up with friends in the Hollywood Hills. 95594e7ac02611e2a73822000aaa08a0_7

so last night the Light here was Luminous.

we left the car and took a walk up steep’ish streets and slipped into quieter back roads and got Quite exhausted but happily creatively enhanced by looking at all the nice houses….

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some were Very Roman.

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and others had slightly sad threadbare and troublesome histories (the one at the top straight ahead was the last apartment of a certain Mr. F. Scott Fitzgerald at 1403 North Laurel Avenue, Los Angeles, California) – an ignominious end – although he did not expire here, he ended his hours with us in this world not far at another apartment owned by his lover of the time Sheilah Graham – an English writer who had come to America to find her own fortune with a Life in Ink.

The curriculum for my College of One was lost. I discovered its disappearance in 1954 when a magazine editor visited me in Beverly Hills and suggested I write the story of my life. He knows, I thought. “What you really want,” I said, “is an account of my time with Scott Fitzgerald.” In recent years editors had approached me about this, and my answer had always been “No.” “We want to know aboutyou,’ this one assured me, “an English girl who came to America. Why did you come and did you find what you came for? Of course”—casually — ‘anything you’d write about Fitzgerald would be interesting.” I would think about it, I promised.

I had been thinking about it ever since I had read Arthur Mizener’s biography of Scott, The Far Side of Paradise, and Budd Schulberg’s unsympathetic portrait in his novel The Disenchanted. It seemed to me that both books had given the wrong impression of Scott as I knew him in Hollywood. Perhaps the time had come to tell my story.

When the editor left, I went into my garage, lifted the lid of the trunk, and for the first time since I had placed it there in June of 1941 I held the bulging brown manuscript envelope marked Scott. It contained the visible fragments of the three and a half years we had spent almost continuously together, until his fatal heart attack in my Hollywood apartment on 21 December 1940. I carried the package to my desk, untied the thin brown ribbon that barely held the flaps together, and, with some apprehension but more curiosity, sifted at random though the material. Ah, here were the two acts and the prologue of our unproduced play, Dame Rumor. His letters and poems to me. I had forgotten how beautiful they were. Scraps of paper with scribbled messages in his loose straight—up handwriting. The recording he had made one evening of “Ode to a Nightingale”. Some short stories I had written, my fictional account of our meeting and falling in love. I had titled it Beloved Infidel after his poem to me. I had forgotten the story and his severe editing. Here was the entire lecture he had written for me. He was on the wagon, or so I thought, when I made the tour, and I had kept the telegrams he had sent to the various cities, humorous but also intended to reassure me that I was capable of lecturing and to convince me he was sober.

But where was the detailed curriculum we had called my College of One, the twenty—odd closely typewritten pages that had absorbed us and given us so much satisfaction in the last two years of his life? I searched through the envelope again. I went back to the trunk to see if they had fallen out. Incredibly they were missing.

we have Requested these materials from the Library Service of Los Angeles County so we may well Return to this period of Hollywood lore (especially as we’re sure we’re going to write at least a short story about 4 x girls in 1920s Hollywood with a backdrop of the silent movies – it’s all starting to gel in the Mind’s eye you see, in a most delicious way).

unlike Sheilah, we’ve never had a relationship that had a curriculum of Improving Oneself  therein.

*looktocamera*

oh. right. there was One (maybe two). but that’s for another blog and probably ought to remain entwined and enclosed in fiction………

movingswiftlyon.

no. you see. Our Curriculum comes from books and movies and Director’s Q&A post-film-screenings (we adore a director’s Q&A) and last night was a TREAT!

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it was at the Sundance Sunset (started by that nice Mr. Robert Redford) which is a 21+ movie theatre (because some people – like Mr. Robert Redford and his friends – prefer to watch films without screaming children or teenagers and with a glass of a potent beverage – they certainly do a very strong and glorious Iced Coffee – black – which is what we sip there).

because it’s a 21+ theatre – they “card” as the americans call it.

and we got carded last night!

we *giggled* massively.

who-we-are-in-RL raised a (well-groomed) eyebrow and handed over her driving license (they won’t give us one because we’re a Virtual character, you see, so we hung back and looked out over the chinese lanterns and waited) and the sweet young man on the door did a double take at her date of birth (1969 – she’s not shy about her age, we can tell you – we are among friends here) and said:

“god, you look Good.”

and did a sly French/Irish smile and wrinkled up her (freckled) nose and said:

“thanks ;-)”

and we laughed all the way into the theatre and through the iced coffee (black) purchasing and finding-our-seat.

what was the movie?

gosh!

we forgot to mention in the excitement about getting carded!

TheEnglishTeacher

It was SUPERB!

witty and winsome and dark (in places) and Very Understanding about being female and what-that-means-about-choices (Julianna Moore is a comedic genius – we had no idea  and luminous and earthy) and Nathan Lane is GLORIOUS and it was a Romp!

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and after the movie the director was meant to be there to answer our Questions but he just did a few moments Before as apparently there was a small person emergency at home and he needed to go and be a dad which was sweet and sort of refreshing actually.

so the husband-and-wife-team-of-screenwriters (how 1930s Hollywood!) stopped by to do the Q&A and it was funny because people who spend time sitting in a room with virtual characters are often quite Strange when they are allowed out into public venues to interact

*lookstocameraironically*

and they had a nice Patter going back and forth between them – one could imagine their adjoining desks and bits of half-eaten toast and vast vats of coffee to sustain them and pacing up and down and shouting out bits of dialogue or running to the centre of the room to say “No! then This happens!” and acting out scenes.

it was fun.

and the movie was Most Excellent.

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on the way back the twinkle lights and hummingbird feeders were all aglow.

and we stopped by the late night grocery store and carried our two brown bags (just like in Woody Allen films in NYC) back home and smiled a lot at the fact that we are Back Here.

and writing.

taking photographs.

and watching a lot of movies.

because That’s delicious.

we’re up to 75,000 words on The House on Church Row and can see the Horizon now (and we don’t mean the Literary Magazine edited by Mr. Cyril Connolly in the 1940s)

now we’d like to share a tiny snippet with you – we’ve been Very Careful about not revealing too much of how-the-plot-gets-worked-out with these little excerpts we’ve been pasting (and anyway, once we do the first Edit a Lot will probably change).

but we thought you’d enjoy this new character who only arrives towards the very end……..

He went down to the kitchen and saw his mother standing at the French windows staring out into the garden.

“What on earth are you doing here?” he said, half-hoping she had got up early enough to make coffee. His headache was splitting now. He searched in the kitchen drawers for an Aspirin.

Then he realized his mother was still staring out of the window and had not responded to him. He felt irritated by all the women in his life right now – either they were flakey, stunned, hurt or possibly queer. It was all too much. He slammed the kitchen drawer shut, took a cup from the coffee tree stand and poured some coffee. At least his mother had had the decency to make coffee.

He joined her at the window. And could not believe his eyes. There was a crater in his garden where the fence between his house and the garden next door had collapsed into a dark pit.

“What the hell were you women doing last night?” he said loudly letting all the frustration out of his body in a sudden burst of rage. Did they have any idea how much a fence cost to repair?

The doorbell rang. Simon left his mother in shock at the French windows and stormed into the hallway. He opened the door to the world’s press standing behind a group of men in white coats with the sort of visors and protective helmets he remembered from the film E. T.

“Annabelle!” he shouted. His wife and children appeared at the top of the stairs in seconds. They blinked as a thousand flash bulbs went off.

A man in a 1940s tweed suit stepped forward, ignoring the global press corp. and handed Simon his card. It said:

 The Honourable Nigel Blackcastle-Jones-Smythe
 The Agency
Hampstead
The Empire
 

Charlotte took the card from her son’s hand and studied it for a second and then looked up at The Honourable Nigel Blackcastle-Jones-Smythe and said, “Gosh, we meet at last.” Nigel looked carefully at Charlotte and realized it was Deneuve. She did look good in the flesh, he had to admit, a dashed shame that the Agency had cut back on lunching its operatives at The Savoy; they could have had a splendid time.

Simon stared at his mother as Nigel walked smoothly into the house, seemingly gliding on his bespoke Church’s lace-up Oxfords in Oxblood. “Who is that?” he hissed as his wife’s boarding school manners took over and she started rustling up a tea while the men in radioactive clothing swarmed into her house. She wondered if she had enough cups.

“That, darling,” said Charlotte, with a smile, “Is the last remaining member of The Establishment – and my boss.” With that, she followed Annabelle into the kitchen and started putting out Arrowroot biscuits onto Spode plates. Simon was dumbfounded. He closed the door firmly against the world’s press and sat on the bottom stair with his son and daughter. Two very strange pieces of information swam in his head – his mother had a job – and there was only One Man Left in the Establishment. Where did that leave him?

It all feels Rather Thrilling.

we’re going to make a second pot of coffee, snack on a few italian crackers and Get Cracking on the rest.

we maybe    s o m e   t i m e

until then.

did we mention how lovely you are to Visit?

and that’s a delicious hat.

 

and now back to something soothing.

darlings

yesterday contained almost Far too much drama for us but there was a splendid business meeting later on in the day and who-we-are-in-RL got decked up in the pearls and swept up her hair and looked Ever so nice – sadly she left no bloody chocolates or anything sweet in the house so we lounged around looking winsome and reading the Library edition of The Talmadge Girls by our friend Anita Loos instead and jolly well enjoyed it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwe’ve been thinking (never a wise idea) about our Life so far in Los Angeles  – can you believe it’s been….

*countsonfingers*

Almost Four Months since we arrived on This Coast and did things like drive-to-malibu to watch the sunrise and wait for our furniture to arrive, and lease a Perfectly silver Prius and pass (eventually) the written driving test and get a new License and find a doctor, dentist, Receive the Green CARD, go to the Farmers Market, finish writing Emerald and Everything!

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the strangest bit has been seeing our old signature on Forms as we Set up a New Life here.

when we got a Library Card (actually, two as there are Different Library Systems in Los Angeles) they pulled up our (RL) name on the Computer and there was our old address and phone number.

has anything changed?

they said.

and we did a wry smile.

oh yes.

it was the same at the Department of Motor Vehicles – we were On File from Before.

and even at the Motion Picture Library – there it was – our old signature (which is the one thing that hasn’t really changed although now it looks a little more world-weary) – on a Manilla Card and we scratched out the old address and Updated it.

another example –

yesterday we went back to our (lady) dentist for a Check-Up (the lady dentist that we used to see when we Lived here from 2001 – 2006 before we went to Manhattan to engage in sniper fire of midtown and get a green-card-qualifying-proper-job) – and the dental assistant (in some very lovely pale blue “scrubs”) said:

could you update your information please?

and handed us a Clipboard.

we reached for our (new cat’s eyes reading glasses – very Script Editor with D. W Griffith looking) spectacles and then did a whole body shake (in a not scary-movie-way).

there it was.

our Details from Before.

with our pre-NYC-tumor-life-travels-internationalbusiness-existence signature (it looked so young and carefree) and address and the empty tick boxes by “serious illnesses” and “hospitalizations”.

we swallowed hard and turned our head away and said (quietly).

do you have a fresh form please?

and then we looked once more at the form from a decade ago (the last time we had updated our details for the the lady dentist) and put it Aside and started again.

because that’s what we’re doing, darlings, Starting Again.

which is scary and exhilarating in Equal Measure.

and when people say “don’t you miss New York?”

we say.

y-es.

we miss our Friends (we definitely miss the Salary) and we miss days like this when the seasons slipped into the next and we ended up wandering home through greenwich village.

but we needed a different Life which is only really possible Here.

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at least we hope so.

now we Must Write.

we’re a tiny bit Apprehensive about finishing up The House On Church Row because then we send it into the world (well, to our Literary Agent – such a lovely phrase) to see if it will Fly.

and then we need to start writing something else.

because we don’t want to get a proper job if we can help it.

we like to write Lots of Things – books, articles, columns, sell-sheets, production notes, people’s bios (we are terribly good at those, especially when they’re a Movie Star), online games, quizzes, interviews with a pop star, television technology and late night infomercials – anything, really.

putting words together feels magical.

and sort of, well, necessary.