Monday 19 December 2011

The missing partridge and other matters

“We are literally living the twelve days of Christmas. Last night was the seventh carol service, six grown-ups parties in a row, we have had five flute concerts, four children’s parties, three work events, two elderly parents staying and only missing the Partridge because I haven’t made it to Waitrose yet.”

So reads the email this morning from the friend who has been making me laugh ever since we were sixteen. All the mad rushing around and suddenly it really does seem like Christmas.
Here’s this scene set for a family party at home yesterday that marks the point for us when the festive season truly starts. As befits a Georgian house (built circa 1750) the dining room is cosy and lit only by candles. It may be an affectation, but when we renovated the house and took out neon strip lighting (nice) we very deliberately decided not to have any electric lighting in here. In all the years since, we’ve never regretted it and our dinners and winter lunches with friends and family have always taken place in a warm convivial glow against the dusky red walls.

The tree has been dressed, most of the shopping is in, presents are wrapped, and now it’s just a question of keeping up with the entries on the calendar.
All writing stopped with the end of the school term and the really important concerns of life like the promised  iPhone for the Teenager and the logistics of the Rhianna concert at the O2 in London. Still, as all Two Regular Readers of this sadly neglected blog may know, there was a word count in operation before Christmas, and the results are in. I was aiming for 50,000 words, and managed 48,000 of the first draft of the new novel before deciding to hive off a section and make that into a separate novella. That now stands at 12,000 words, so all in all I’m feeling pretty pleased. Or I would be if I weren’t convinced that at least 30,000 were rubbish. They may well be, in which case I will simply have to try harder in the New Year.

For those who are curious about the setting and subject matter, I can reveal that I am back in the lavender fields of Provence during the Second World War. Those pictures of the workers haunted me (you can see them here) and life couldn’t really have been as apparently simple there as Bénédicte claimed in The Lantern, could it?
Anyway, I raise a glass to you all and wish you a happy and calm week before Christmas! 


James Kiester said...

Merry Christmas to you too. :-)

Cornflower said...

Your candlelight only idea is brave and brilliant (literally!), and I do admire the degree to which you are organised. Happy Christmas to you.

Elizabeth Young said...

Merry Christmas to a wonderful, inspirational writer. The fact you are British is the icing on the cake!

Karen Wojcik Berner said...

Keeping your dining room candlelight only is brilliant. I am sure it provides the setting for many a lovely evening.

Happy Holidays, Deborah!

bookspersonally said...

Sounds so lovely Deborah (and the novel/novella as well!) - wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday

Lynne with an e said...

You've succeeded in creating a dining room that appears both formal and warmly inviting at the same time. It looks wonderfully atmospheric. I wish you a merry time with your family and friends.

aguja said...

A great post. I love the atmosphere of the dinig room.

As to the writing, great news! And you have more than one book out of the hours and days of creating.

Oh! I thought, this new book seems as if it might combine elements of both 'The Lantern' and 'The Art of Falling' - both books that I consider beautifully crafted. Sooo, I look forward to this new book.

It is refreshing to hear of the paring down and having to let go of parts - all the aspects of writing. It sends out a message of hope ... and hard work ... all the aspects of creativity!

Enjoy the festive season. Best wishes for the success of this book, in the New Year ... and ... take a peek at Spangle and I on our Christmas outing - featured on both blogs.

K said...

Great photo and I think that your word count is really good. Keep going!

I hope you managed to sort out the IPhone and Rhianna Tickets one way or another.

Merry Christmas and I'm looking forward to reading your blog posts (and new book) in the new year!

Anonymous said...

Your dining room is beautiful, Candlelight is so evocative. Well done on progress with your writing. I haven't quite got where I wanted to be but have done some other things, too.

A very happy Christmas to you and yours and every success in 2012.

DMS said...

What a beautiful dining room scence! I love the atmosphere that you have created and the fact that you do not have electricity in that room. How wonderful! I love eating by lots of candlelight. Your house sounds very festive.

Merry Christmas!

Muriel said...

Merry Christmas Deborah! I love your dining room. That said, I agree with your friend: the festive season is really tiring! I have had enough parties, I just want a quiet time!

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