Monday, 26 September 2011

Flying across Arizona


Back in the air again, and high above the mountains and deserts of Arizona. It's such a big country; stating the obvious, I know, but the horizon just seems to stretch forever. I feel as if I've traveled so far in the last nine days -- London to New York, Boston, LA, and now onwards to Texas -- but when I'm in the sky, I realise what tiny inroads I've made, not even scratching the surface of this vast place.
I've never been to Dallas before, and am therefore intrigued: so far, I associate it only with the memory of screen or print images from my childhood. Speaking of screen associations, I still feel thrilled about driving along Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, and Laurel Canyon. When I get back home, I'm planning to watch one of my favourite films yet again: Chinatown. Just think of the clothes, let alone the unforgettable landscape of an imaginary past...
And then it will be time to re-read The Great Gatsby.

22 comments:

kairu said...

I love reading about L.A.; it makes me think of Joan Didion and endless stretches of sun-burnt sand and sky. I studied modern L.A. architecture one semester in college, and we watched Blade Runner (Deckard's apartment is based on a Frank Lloyd Wright house and a landmark office building is used for another apartment) and Chinatown (the scenery! the clothes!).

I've never been to Dallas, but I remember visiting Houston some years back, the blazing sunshine and humidity like a slap against the skin every time you stepped outside...

Have a lovely time!

Justine Picardie said...

Joan Didion -- my heroine -- have been thinking about her LA essays in the White Album (We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live)...

kairu said...

I have been thinking of Didion lately, too; her latest book, Blue Nights, comes out in November. I went to hear her speak when The Year of Magical Thinking came out six years ago, and managed to sit almost at her feet. She has the most beautiful eyes, and an extraordinary voice, flat and dry as the California desert, crackling like a forest fire...

jaywalker said...

One of the wonderful things about this blog is finding out about things you didn't know about. I had heard of The Year of Magical Thinking but not read it nor knew anything about Joan Didion.
I have just spent the last half hour googling and discovering what life threw at her. Thank you both for leading me into that discovery.

Lilacs In May said...

I know air travel is not fun when you're ploughing through passport control but your list of travel destinations sounds so glamorous in a 1930's way, I don't know why..

I loved The Year Of Magical Thinking, lucky you JW to be reading it for the first time.

enid said...

The Year of Magical Thinking , Chinatown and Great Gatsby - all of them firm favourites with me . I cannot wait to read the new Didion. Oh what joy your blog brings.

julia.gotlibowski said...

Hello,
About six months after losing my sister, I read If the Spirit Moves You. Because of your honesty and openess, it was very helpful in answering a lot of my questions about how I was feeling at the time. However, I was wondering if I could ask you a few personal questions concerning your relationships with your brother-in-law and neices. The relationship between my brother-in-law and my family has been a bit rocky and I sometimes fear that I'll lose the relationship with my nieces who are 5 and 7.
Sincerely,
Julia Gotlibowski
julia.gotlibowski@uconn.edu

Karen, Surrey said...

I have The Great Gatsby loaded on my Kindle to read in the near future. It will be interesting to hear your thoughts on it.

Justine Picardie said...

Thank you to everyone for comments: all human life is here...
Back in north London, where the sunshine is glorious and the roses blooming again in my garden. Feeling exhausted, but enjoying the quietness of home.

shenry said...

Hi Justine. How does someone contact you for a reading/signing?

Justine Picardie said...

Best to check with Caroline March at my publisher, Harper Collins:
caroline.march@harpercollins.co.uk

Love Bakery said...

Hey Justine - hope you are well. As always I love reading your blog and have now just ordered The Year of Magical Thinking. If your travels ever take you to Chelsea please drop by the bakery - it wold be lovely to see you. Best wishes Sam xx

LWilson said...

I love your posts Justine. Thank you for your words. They provide the perfect balance of inspiration and insight!

kairu said...

Glad you are home safely, Justine.
Twitter tells me that London is all sunshine and glorious Indian summer. Here I'm in a cabin overlooking a river about an hour east of Seattle, listening to the rain.

Can't wait to hear more about your trip!

Heather said...

I have been reading you blog for some time now, trying to pluck up enough courage to write to you. I just wanted to tell you how important your sister Ruth was in my life. I first came across her writing when I picked up 'Before I Say Goodbye' at Heathrow Airport in Sept 1998. I read it on my way to a family holiday in Florida. I could not put it down and it resonated with me when, 4 weeks after our return from the holiday, my twin sister died. This very quickly was followed by a breakdown in my marriage and my life as I knew it fell apart. I have picked up her book many times since then and have read the beautiful book you wrote, 'If the Spirit Moves You'. I don't know why, but her writing moved me very much and I get something different from it every time I read it. I am so glad I have finally told you this

kairu said...

One more thing, Justine - did you get to hear Joanne Harris' Afternoon Reading R4 short story, Would You Like to Reconnect? It's brilliantly haunting and up for a few more days.

kairu said...

A link would be helpful: http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/b0154y6q/

LWilson said...

How strange that a number of us have found the courage to write how you and Ruth have affected us so deeply. Like Heather, I too have wanted many times to write. I first read an article you had written in a monthly glossy about losing Ruth. It resonated as my sister and I were so terribly close and I could understand so sharply the depth of your loss. A short time later my sister was killed in a car crash, she was 36 and I was 33. I searched for writers who could articulate my loss, but none came close to your raw eloquence and haunting grace. I was so grateful to read "If the Spirit Moves You" and also Ruth's book, "Before I Say Goodbye" - the relationship between 2 sisters is something so profound and so difficult to lose - to say your words helped me is the understatement of the century! The last words of "If the Spirit Moves You", when you describe walking on the treadmill, stay with me always and it's the hope I too share in seeing my beloved sister again, "I like to think I am walking towards Ruth, slowly, steadily, as long as it will take. I know that one day I will reach her. Ruth, sweet Ruth, my sister, myself". Heartfelt thanks - you have helped in ways you will never know. Your writing is a blessing in my life. With Love XXX

enid said...

Justine I shall be in London from 2 - 19 November . Are you doing any talks then ? Please let me know

Justine Picardie said...

Thank you to everyone for comments, and to Heather and LW for sharing your feelings about loss, and your readings of If the Spirit Moves You and Before I Say Goodbye. The anniversary of my sister's death was on September 22nd -- and the night before, in Boston, I found myself talking about Ruth during an event I did at the Boston Public Library. Which might seem odd, for a talk about Coco Chanel, and yet it felt perfectly natural, because love and loss is what connects us all -- the readers here, and myself as a writer with my subjects -- whether Chanel or Du Maurier or my own sister. We do not stop loving someone when they die; love is not turned off according to a prescribed timetable of grieving -- and that is what makes it so magical. The relationship between the living and the dead continues, and is sometimes translucent, often opaque; it contains silence, as well as questions, whether unspoken or otherwise...

Barry Abrams said...

Dear Ms. Picardie:

My name is Barry Abrams, and I work for ESPN, the sports television network in the United States. We are the host broadcaster for the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Horse Racing Championships, and one of the main stories on which we are focusing is the French champion, Goldikova.

Goldikova, of course, is owned by Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, whose family story factors prominently in your book about the life of Coco Chanel. We would love to have you share those stories with us for our show.

Please feel free to contact me anytime at (PDA) +1-860-248-1858, (work) +1-860-766-4666 or barry.abrams@espn.com. We look forward to meeting up with you shortly!

Regards,

Barry Abrams
ESPN Feature Producer

Justine Picardie said...

Enid, not sure if I'll be doing an event in London then, but I might be. If not, perhaps we could have a gathering with Sam at the Love Bakery?