Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Back to the future


There's something in the air that feels very autumnal -- the leaves are already falling on the plane trees outside our house, and there is a chill in the evenings. My son went back to school on Monday, and I'm back to work. Not that I stopped working altogether in August -- in fact, I had quite a lot of journalism to do -- but somehow, this week seems like the real return to... what, exactly? I was about to say, 'reality', but work shouldn't necessarily be any more 'real' than everything else we do with our time.
So what have I been doing? Well, kind of drifting along through August, when London is at its quietest. Thinking about how to do a film treatment of 'Daphne' (which I've been trying to finish this summer). Playing cards with my family. Walking the dog. Taking our elderly cat to the vet. You know, the nuts and bolts of life...
Now, I'm thinking, ok, time to get on with it. (What? Not sure, exactly.) Which reminds me of the fortune-telling stones I came across in July, at the bridge over Pont Creek. I'd walked there from Ferryside, at Boddinick by Fowey, and was on my way to the church at Lanteglos, where Daphne du Maurier married Tommy Browning on July 19th 1937. As it happens, I was there on their wedding anniversary, though I didn't actually realise it -- not consciously -- that day. Perhaps this means I was living in the moment, for once... not thinking about the past, or worrying about the future. At the risk of sounding glib, the present can be the best present of all... And no, I didn't ask a question...

10 comments:

BrontëBlog Adm. said...

It's great to see you back!

What a coincidence about you going to the church on their wedding anniversary! You know, critics complain about Charlotte Brontë excessive - and exaggerated - use of coincidences but coincidences do happen and they are weird like that.

Cristina.

oxford-reader said...

1st September always makes me want to go and buy school supplies, and sit in an attic with a bushel of apples reading George Eliot. It such a pity that the weather has gone into Autumn overdrive the minute it hit September!

You've been so busy over the last few months that it must be almost a pleasure to get back to the 'normal' rounds of life, except that 'normal' is so hard to define. Meanwhile, it's my half birthday today and I feel the need to drastically alter my life. How I know not.

Good to see you back!

Rob Hardy said...

Here in America, my sons went back to school on Tuesday. I still have about ten days before I start teaching again (I'm reading Sophocles' Antigone with a class of advanced Greek students), and I managed to fit in one more great summer pleasure before the start of the school year: I read Daphne! Couldn't put it down. But I wonder what you think of the American dust jacket. I would have preferred the Gwen Raverat illustration.

Justine Picardie said...

Oh, what lovely messages to return too -- thank you so much everyone. Cristina, I'm all for CB's coincidences -- I think they're integral to her version of gothic novels.
Becca: what's a half-birthday? Six months since the last one?
Rob: I'm so glad you liked Daphne.As for the jacket: well, the US publishers felt the British one wasn't right for the American market.I'd be interested in what other people think of it...
By the way, my younger son is learning Greek (spurred on by an inspiring Classics teacher). I now know who to turn to if he gets stuck with homework!

HelenMH said...

I can't wait for 'Daphne' - the film!

oxford-reader said...

Yup! I don't normally celebrate them, but it falls as the same time as my sixth month review for the job I'm doing, and as that didn't go as well as expected I needed something to cheer me up!

I saw the American cover a while ago, and it didn't grab me as much as the English one had done, but I think I'm probably biased!

Justine Picardie said...

Helen -- I'll keep you up to date with the film, but these things usually take years, if they happen at all (apparently the average length of time for filming to begin after a book has been optioned is seven years!)
Becca -- September always seems like a time for new beginnings, as well as the end of summer.

oxford-reader said...

September is certainly a time for new beginnings - it's just funny that this year I'm doing the same as I did last year: looking for an inspirational job ...

Rob Hardy said...

Here (offered with some trepidation) is my blogged review of Daphne. I've avoided reading other reviews, so I've probably said things many others have said. Bottom line: I loved it.

And if you're interested, here's a paper I'm giving on Monday about reading: in particular, about being a man who reads mostly fiction by women (including piles and piles of Virago Modern Classics!).

Justine Picardie said...

Rob -- I've just read your review. Thank you so much -- it's an incredibly perceptive and intelligent reading of the novel. Just what every writer hopes for in a reader...