Monday, 25 July 2011

The blocked-up doorway


One afternoon, idly looking down over the lower terraces at the stone walls, my eyes fastened on a wooden beam in the wall attached to the first stone arch. Moments passed before it occurred to me that what I was seeing was a lintel, and that there had once been a door underneath it. It was there, very faintly, in outline. Another room, possibly, blocked up with stones.
                                             
                                                     from The Lantern

When I’m writing a novel, I really enjoy describing what is really there. The story comes from the imagination, but what will make it vivid and plausible is being rooted in a real landscape and setting. So, although these words are supposedly written by Eve in The Lantern, they are my experience of being at “Les Genévriers”, our property as it features in the novel.

And it’s also possible to present a photograph of the place itself, just as I first noticed it a couple of years ago, and as it remains today. What was it used for, once upon a time? No doubt, it would have been something quite prosaic: for storing farm equipment, or just possibly for sheltering animals. The chamber cannot have been very big – at the most, only a few yards square – but why, and when, was it blocked up?


We took out the top row of stones to see if it was possible to re-open the entrance, but it seems not. There is another layer of stones, and rubble behind it. This is where those of us with over-active imaginations start to guess at all sorts of explanations. Of course, I couldn’t resist writing it into my story, and I hope those you you who read the book will be interested to see what might have formed other pictures in the mind, as it really exists. 

21 comments:

aguja said...

Brilliant. I would be exactly the same and I just love this post of intrigue. I wrote the 'gate with no fence' into Violet Jelly, because it intrigued me when I saw it standing in a rough field in Northumberland ... and photographed it. I just knew that people would go through it rather than around it, just because it was there.
It does not have the same excitement of you 'hidden space' with a blocked up door, but I understand why you needed to write it into The Lantern.

Richard said...

C'est très bien, Deborah, que tu utilises les éléments existants pour les placer dans tes romans. L'histoire est alors beaucoup plus vivante, beaucoup plus réelle. A chacun d'imaginer ce qu'il veut pour l'utilisation de cette vieille porte.
Tu es une très bonne romancière, Deborah. Bravo!

Kelly Hashway said...

I can totally understand why you had to include this in The Lantern. It's such a great thing to put into your story. It has history, mystery, and real life intrigue.

Janel said...

You must have so much fun exploring your property. All of the history, real or imagined, must be constantly fascinating.

James Kiester said...

I agree. I love including real landmarks in my stories too, especially landmarks people see but never really take note of.

Annie Boreson said...

Anything that conjures the mind's imagination is such a treat. When you read a book with landscapes that you can almost touch it drops the reader into the "now" and we forces the mind to explore the possibilities. Love this. Thank you!

Beverly Diehl said...

How fabulous! Doorways are so pregnant with possibility and/or history, aren't they?

renilde said...

the objects, the reality that stirred the imagination and found their way into a book, so nice to see and read about them. i would remove some stones too, i'm sure i would ;)

Jenny Woolf said...

The more rubble blocking the space, the more of a potential story there is!

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

I am intrigued as well and cannot wait until my delivery arrives!

Bises,
Genie

MuMuGB said...

Interesting to follow your creative process Deborah! When did you fall in love with Provence?

Elizabeth Young said...

It's a secret chamber from long ago into the house! Medieval Kings made a getaway through here in the middle of the night when they heard the enemy was coming!

Yvonne Osborne said...

Cool pictures, old brick and timber, hidden hallways and chambers... surrounded by history and intrigue, how could you not include it? We were once in Antigua, Guatamela, dining in an old restaurant-open courtyards, rooms upon rooms, fountains, and statues, and in the menu was the story of a legend: how the butler was buried in the wall with his boots on for consorting with the countess. Have you found any bones??

Cathy said...

tres mysterieux!

Julia Munroe Martin said...

Fascinating! I love finding things like this in/around old houses. Ours (in Maine) isn't nearly as old as yours but when we renovated we found all kinds of nooks and crannies and treasures -- definitely fodder for writing, as you say!

litlove said...

How intriguing! And of course it would make your writer's imagination race. It's also a treat to be able to compare real images to the pictures that formed in my mind while I was reading your lovely novel!

Brenda said...

You can't help but wonder. Doorways always lead to somewhere, people have always walked through, lovers might have kissed hello or even goodbye.. So much possibility for the imagination. I am always intrigued by the secrets behind the door..

Julie Farrar said...

I love the stone wall of Europe and all the history and mystery they evoke.

Deb said...

What a wonderful, intriguing property. I love what you're doing here, Deborah. It just keeps getting better. Cannot wait to fall into your delicious setting and story.

vanessafrance said...

There's something about blocked up doorways or windows that stimulates the imagination. Mostly it was done for practical reasons, such as avoiding window taxes, but the imagination can run riot inventing stories about what went on behind them.

StephLaymon said...

I reviewed the ARC of The Lantern for Five Alarm Book Reviews. I invite you to read the review. http://fivealarmbookreviews.com

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