Thursday, 5 June 2008

Chorleywood


I'm off to Chorleywood tomorrow, and you never know, perhaps I might meet some of you there?
Here are the details from the Chorleywood bookshop -- which looks like a lovely place, and like all independent booksellers, well worth supporting:
"Justine Picardie author and journalist, will appear at the Memorial Hall on Friday June 6th. Tickets are available now from the Chorleywood and Gerrards Cross Bookshops, price £5 each to include a glass of wine or juice.
Justine is the author of If the Spirit Moves You: Life and Love After Death, about the death of her sister Ruth from breast cancer. She has also written two novels, Wish I May and My Mother's Wedding Dress. She was formerly features editor of Vogue and is now a columnist for the Sunday Telegraph Magazine and also writes for Harper's Bazaar. She lives in London with her husband and two sons.
Justine will be discussing her new novel Daphne, a highly original novel about an event in the life of Daphne du Maurier.
On the night ticket holders will be able to buy the book for £9.99, representing £5 off the normal retail price."
As it happens, it's also very close to the place where the Llewelyn Davies family -- Arthur, Sylvia, and the five boys -- moved to, Egerton House in Berkhamsted, leaving behind London and Kensington Gardens and the (possibly overwhelming) J.M Barrie. There are wonderful manuscripts and pictures from this era that you can see on the J.M Barrie website, including the very moving letters that Arthur wrote to his sons when he was dying of cancer in 1907.

16 comments:

Henri Llewelyn Davies said...

Hi Justine, Hope you've been having a great time in Chorleywood - and, as you say, more power to all independent booksellers' elbows, they've all got my vote in these difficult times. Shakespeare and Company in Paris, (an English bookshop near Notre Dame), for example, is wonderful/very characterful.

Nice to see the unexpected mention of my family's Berkhamstead home - I'm shockingly bad at geography and (I just checked with your post) I never could spell Berkhamsted - muddled up by the 'real' Hampstead, a place you can actually lay more claim to than me, as you were born there.

I'm amazed to be the first one commenting, as there are normally so many others on your extremely popular blog. We're now right in the middle of a three-week Mercury retrograde period - maybe this is temporarily stalling some bloggers a bit (maybe it's why I haven't done much to mine lately).

In case anyone's interested - when Mercury appears to be going backwards in the sky (hence it's called 'retrograde') things to do with communications often stall - e.g. letters/emails go missing, traffic jams are worse than usual, trains/planes are late, people cancel appointments, you can't get them on the phone, there are more strikes than usual, etc etc. Mercury retrograde often produces more than usual of such relatively unimportant but galling hitch-ups. Happens three times a year for about three weeks at a time.

Justine Picardie said...

Henri -- that's a very comforting explanation of why no one has been commenting on my blog. I hope it's Mercury Retrograde, as opposed to me being downright boring.
Just back from Chorleywood -- truly, a green and pleasant land. And I talked about you, amongst other subjects, and told the audience the story of our first meeting, and how everything developed from there...
So that was good, and the Chorleywood Bookshop is as lovely a place as you could wish for.

Gondal-girl said...

Hi Justine - i have been reading!

very naughty of me, as I have set a deadline for middle of July to finish this draft...

What sign are you astrologically if you don't mind me asking...? Have heard, though Henri, please correct me if I am wrong, Mercury rules Virgo and Gemini, so they feel this retrograde stuff to a higher degree....?

Henri and I are Virgo's - poor maligned sign! :) Oh I wish I was that super tidy stereotype....

Justine Picardie said...

I am a Gemini, with a Virgo moon, I think (though Henri will correct me if I'm wrong). Looking around at my incredibly messy study, there is no sign of Virgoan stereotypical tidiness, unfortunately...
As it happens, du Maurier's grandson, Rupert Tower, is very interested in astrology, as his wife, and so is Henri, as you know, so maybe it's in the family genes?

Gondal-girl said...

Ah - ha! The Merc retro is certainly playing with you.
That Virgo myth of tidy - I have Virgos all through my family - none of them particularly tidy.

Or maybe messy desks are more a state of mind ( I posted an earlier quote about this on my blog), for mine is completely turning into a castle, book - turrets, paper moat, just a small arrow hole to squeeze in and do the writing, but when the draft is finished, I shall tidy, I shall, I shall!

So that means you have just had a birthday or are about to celebrate a birthday - HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

I am a Virgo Sun with Pisces moon, which are opposites on the chart -makes for an interesting time. As a kid I when reading Lord of the Rings, I found out that I shared a birthday with Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, which is great, however I always hoped I was more elf ( I know I don't have hairy feet). Recently I found out, my birthday is also shared with Nick Cave, so that balances things out a bit...

Apols for the long comment, however, did you feel a sense of sadness when you finally finished Daphne....?

Justine Picardie said...

Maybe the fact that I haven't tidied my study -- at least not properly -- after finishing Daphne is a sign that I haven't yet moved on. The thing is, I'm still doing a lot of events (literary festivals etc) when I'm talking about the book, so that means I can't quite let go of it, even if I wanted to.
I like your description of the desk as a castle. As it happens, one of my favourite novels is I Capture The Castle, which seems to me to be a book about writing, as well as a coming of age tale...

Gondal-girl said...

Another book to add to the ever growing pile next to the bed ( now higher than the bed itself!)

If the desk is a castle, I am in seige mentality - I don't want to toss one bit of paper just in case it is the key to a break through...

Yes it must be tricky to move on if the book has to be shepherded into the world through festivals etc - the desk as it is, would keep it all alive and full of the passion for why you wrote it in the first place. And certainly in your blog, that passion is shining through

When I finished my last novel, and swept clear my desk, I had this horrid void, blank desk and confused mind - up the creek without a paddle...Now I am learning, though nearly finished with this one, to start to put a mechanism in place so I won't be shipwecked like last time - jotting notes for a story that keeps flirting with me, stashing research books for the next project ( un-opened of course) for now...

Are you able to read fiction when you are writing it?For myself, I can only keep down poetry and short stories at this late stage....

Justine Picardie said...

The only fiction I could read while writing Daphne was du Maurier's own novels, and the Brontes. Nothing else at all!
Good idea to have another project waiting for when a book is finished. I usually slump into a slough of despond after a book is out...

Gondal-girl said...

Not such bad company to have I'd say. I am reading things on birds and Jewish esoterica, so needless to say I am having some very strange dreams

So I shall have to remain a book toucher for a while yet then...

Also, had a chance to read your old postings yesterday, did you even track down that 'Strange World of the Bronte's' Book, was it good? Has me a little intrigued..... are you reading anything good now....?

(ps. if you read this Henri, did post something on your blog, but it didn't stick....)

Henri Llewelyn Davies said...

Clearly all the Mercury-ruled people are instinctively joining forces to break through the temporary block on communication.

As you say, gondal-girl, Mercury rules both Gemini and Virgo. I think its retrograde periods are often more noticeable for Geminis than Virgos, for some reason ( Gems do so like to go zipping along - mentally too - Virgo's a bit more contemplative/ quiescent (And yes, Justine does have her Moon in Virgo, so has a lot of the quietly thoughtful side, too. And so much more grounded than a lot of Geminis - a good combination).

I'm Moon Pisces too. Sun-Moon opposition: lots of potential (I always think of it like those old maps of the world with a picture of a little man in the middle with his limbs extended in all directions).

Every sign can behave like its opposite, and believe me when it comes to tidiness at home I am CHAOS (aka a Virgo SLUT). But I bet you're tidy-minded in some ways, Virgos always are - there's all the analytical side, and the making of lists...

Dodie Smith 'I Capture the Castle' - yes, great, and I reread her '101 Dalmatians' recently - I'd forgotten how beautifully she writes (and in a way that's just a little reminiscent of E. Nesbit, I think, - whose books I know you also really like, Justine.

How interesting you could only read Brontes and Daphne at that time - Virgoan single-mindedness.

Gondal-girl said...

Well snap then Henri Virgo Sun and Pisces moon! - I am Sept 22 by the way. You? If you and Justine were in Sydney, I should have you around for a merc retro morning tea, 'tis beautiful winters day, 18 degrees, blue sky poking through the clouds after a quick shower...

I do find these merc retro's frustrating, but then my partner is a Gemini ( with Pisces moon also), so he and I get all impatient I think... I do like to be organised and I have found the more I write, the more plot wise I get, sometimes it feels like a psychic flash, all the plot pieces dance into line like tin soldiers - so I am always being called on plot emergencies by others....

had a mini breakthrough with novel yesterday, maybe when this merc retro is finished I shall finally get an agent who doesn't say - 'you are very talented, someone will pick you up soon' or 'you write beautifully, but we are scared of the voice of one of your characters...'.....

Gondal-girl said...

forgot to add Henri, love that image of the little man in the middle of the map, gives my heart a little warming

Henri Llewelyn Davies said...

Gondal-girl: I'm the 12th (a digit out!)

That's a brilliant use/development of your Virgo/Pisces capabilities for the concrete and the inspired: to solve the 'plotting' that so many people find a nightmare when writing fiction (me included -you give me hope!)

At the time of writing it's still only us Mercury people contributed to this set of comments...

Justine Picardie said...

I've been having a very mercury retrograde few days -- failed Oystercards, phone meltdowns, etc etc. When does it end?
Still, the sunshine is glorious in London -- perfect summer's day -- have been walking the dog on Hampstead Heath (thinking about George du Maurier's walks there with Henry James). Then I lost the £10 in my back pocket with which I was going to buy tea, water, ice-creams etc. So my meditations on the past disappeared in a flurry of irritation.

Henri Llewelyn Davies said...

Justine: Merc ret ends (globally!) on June 19th.

I always feel pleased about Henry James being such a good friend of George du M. (at least, as I understand it, they were something like best friends).

Have just very much enjoyed your next blog entry, on Patrick the Pisces.

dovegreyreader said...

I'm a Libran, where on earth do I fit in? Must find out more having never really paid attention other than knowing decision making is often hopeless!