Tuesday, 7 December 2010

What to do next?



Still grappling with how to email pictures from my new iphone (I am foxed, even though everyone says it is so easy), but just managed to send one -- a very small one -- which goes no way to show the beauties of the Bowood garden on a frosty morning. The lake was frozen over, the folly wreathed in mist, the last of the roses as icy as those beside a fairytale Sleeping Beauty, but the landscape still felt astonishingly alive, as a heron swooped low from the sky.
Back in London, I am staring into abyss of What To Write Next. I feel lost without Coco, and longing to be absorbed into something (someone?) new; but guilty at the thought of abandoning her.
What do readers really want? Not that one can write a book by second-guessing the market; that way madness lies...
But I'd love to know what people here think... Is anyone out there?

28 comments:

Mo said...

I felt lost finishing reading your book so i can't imagine how you must be feeling. I have since started reading The Allure of Chanel to feed my habit. So very glad i read your book first though.
As for your next subject this may be a daft question, considering the book was 10 years in the making but are you sure you have finished with Coco? or even that Coco has finished with you?

Mo

Justine Picardie said...

What an encouraging answer; thank you so much. Perhaps I'm not finished; I know that I want to make some additions to the paperback edition that will be published next year... But I'm feeling inexplicably restless tonight...

Justine Picardie said...

Also, am feeling disapproving of my own introspection, and want to tell myself off...

Gondal-girl said...

My tip is to marinate...mooch about, keep a notebook and watch for augury of my ideas coming into shape...
Writing a book is huge, and perhaps a relax is in order and a ready banquet without the worry...then the new idea will sprout...

though I have an idea for you - I am superstitious about blogger - so email me if you like gondalgirl@gmail.com

Justine Picardie said...

Marinating is good advice... but will email you too!

enid said...

It must be awful for you after being so close for so long. what about a book about Alexander Mcqueen or Elspeth Thompson? What about fiction next or a compilation of your articles which are always such fun to read. Why not do something about gardens incorporating your beautiful photos ? What is on your book wish list. I really enjoy your recommendations.

Vintage Tea Time said...

My OH is a writer and gets advice from his agent - but then he's non-fiction (Just done '50 plants that changed the course of history')- I guess you need more of a visit from the muse...... I'm a great believer in things turning up.... Good luck! Having recently found your blog, I ordered 'If the spirit moves you' / Amazon - embarrassingly, I didn't know you'd written it. Hope you're in a more peaceful place now than when you wrote that - though it must have been - and still will be - so painful. Abby

Justine Picardie said...

All good ideas; must muse, and wait for The Muse, and will follow the advice to keep a notebook.
Will try to post another Christmas book list later...

kairu said...

I was musing over this last night before falling off the edge into sleep...really, I think you have earned the time to take a breath, rest, let the inspiration for the next book come searching for you rather than the other way around. It's not as if you are like Angela Thirkell's Mrs. Morland (based on Thirkell herself, perhaps), churning out a new book every year (and "all of them the same").

Ali Mal said...

You probably won't want to tackle more fashion after Coco, but I always thought that his life was amazing. Paul Poiret, extraordinary fashion designer, who lived like an emperor & died in poverty. & the *parties*!

Justine Picardie said...

Poiret is fascinating, I agree; the astonishing roller-coaster of his life.
And Kairu's advice is wise, as always.

Justine Picardie said...

Are any agents reading this? I've just read the synopsis of Gondal Girl's novel, and it sounds fascinating; all the elements of a really intriguing and unusual story. Please do get in touch with her: gondalgirl@gmail.com

Liz Wood said...

I wonder if you've thought about revisiting an aspect of the Brontes. I reread The Tenant recently and found it such a fine book - very underrated. I was thinking too about Byatt's Possession: a detective story without a murder...

Justine Picardie said...

I think Possession is a wonderful book, and remain as intrigued as ever by the Brontes. I agree, the Tenant is a novel that deserves a wider contemporary audience. I re-read it while researching 'Daphne', and have often wondered about the connection with Branwell and Wildfell Hall...

Megan said...

Perhaps Coco is like a long-term partner, and there should be an element of wariness about the 'rebound' person! Out of the blue, an idea will spring forth and you'll be away again.
Having just made the leap from full-time magazine writing to freelancing, I'm hoping the ideas will 'spring forth' rather more rapidly for me!
If you're stuck for something to do in the meantime, I've just finished Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin (years behind everyone else, I know) and thought it was one of the most intelligently written books I've read. Having said that, I have your Chanel book on my Christmas list this year.

Josephine Tale Peddler said...

Hello Justine,
I'd love to see you turn your skill to a good ghost story. I've just finished Sarah Waters 'The Little Stranger,' which I loved I always enjoy a good English ghostie and feel you would write a cracker of a literary ghost story.
I loved Daphne so would really race to get any further writings on her and I also enjoy your fashion articles.
I do feel Coco was such a huge project you may need to ritualize a farewell to her before you're free to start again. Even clearing out all the paraphernalia you used when researching, or creating a mental ritual to cut the ties that bind, so to speak.
It would be lovely to see you writing fiction.
But even publishing a lot of your Blog posts here would make a terrific book.
Enjoy your weekend. xx

Stephen Pope said...

'Still grappling with how to email pictures from my new iPhone (I am foxed, even though everyone says it is so easy), but just managed to send one -- a very small one...'

I have this feeling you CAN'T instantly email large-size jpegs from the iPhone - the default size for email is pathetically compressed. Either you have first to upload images to your laptop using a USB cable, which preserves the original size, and then post them to the blog, obviously using the computer's software... or you need to acquire an extra App for the iPhone (Installer? or maybe an alternative from Flickr?) which gets round this issue. But, I don't think a brand new iPhone out of the box can send virtually uncompressed jpegs without extra (free?) software being added.

PS You don't need a new book project - you need the 'cold turkey' of an open-ended writer's holiday! That and the confidence to take advantage of the creative space that will organically open up in front of you now that Chanel has an autonomous life of its own. You're finally on your own again...which is kind of liberating, isn't it?

Lilacs In May said...

It took a few days for me to come down after reading your book, I can't imagine what it must be like after writing it. I think go with the flow sounds like good advice, when your mind clears it will give space for the new thoughts to move in.
BTW did you see Julianne Moore's lovely feather trimmed top at the Bulgari anniversary bash?

Stephen Pope said...

Just thought I'd mention that 'autocthonous' made an apearance in the Guardian today, in Justine's old colleague Ian Jack's column!

Justine Picardie said...

thank you everyone. Technical support re: iphone much appreciated, as is the post-Chanel advice. Now, off to do some Christmas shopping at Daunts...

Karen, Surrey said...

My thoughts on what I'd like to read would be something on the Bloomsbury set although that area may be well documented. Or Edwardian society, suffragettes etc following on the tails of Julian Fellowes Downton Abbey. BTW just been to our village library and Wish I May leapt off the shelves at me. Good luck with your Christmas shopping.

jaywalker said...

Last week I went to a fund raising brekfast where the speker was Posie Graeme-Evans, an Australian novelist and TV producer. She spoke about her new novel and I have put it on my hint list for Christmas. It sounds exactly like your kind of book. See here:

http://books.simonandschuster.com.au/Dressmaker/Posie-Graeme-Evans/9780731814725

Vintage Reading said...

I enjoyed your Elizabeth Bowen post earlier this year (I've just linked to it). A book about forgotten woman writers of the earlier 20thC which isn't too academic would fill a gap in the market I think.

Justine Picardie said...

As it happens, have been reading about Mary Curzon and her daughters; Virginia Woolf and her childhood. Nigel Nicolson on Mary Curzon very good indeed...
The years before both World Wars -- whether Downton Abbey or Brideshead Revisited -- feel somehow relevant to now... a nostalgia for a past that was always semi-imaginary, and a foreboding, perhaps, of the troubles that lie ahead...

Lilacs In May said...

Been trying to find a good Elizabeth David biography today... Only 2, both over 10 years old.. Just saying!

jaywalker said...

Another thought - Elizabeth von Arnim of "My German Garden" fame - no British biography since the 50s as far as I'm aware except the short account in "Uncommon Arrangements". She is of the period you mention and had many fascinating connections including her marriage to Bertrand Russell's brother and her long affair with H G Wells.

Justine Picardie said...

Thanks for all these good ideas -- very, very much appreciated. The cogs are creaking into action (albeit slowly...).

Noreen said...

Hi Justine,

Are there any connections here? Coco..fashion..emphasis on external appearance..social pressures particularly on young girls..body image issues..anorexia..body dysmorphic disorder..my daughter suffers from BDD..started when she was about 12..she's 19 in a couple of weeks..it has absolutely ruined her life (and ours)...are these issues suitable for translation into a book..are they interconnected? Would a book (or novel) be a powerful communication channel into the minds of young people who are vulnerable to these mental health issues?

Best wishes

Noreen