Sunday, 27 February 2011

The dinner party


            Inside and out, pools of light burned from hurricane lamps, candelabras, chandeliers, tea lights, and the rusty lantern we found in a garden storeroom and used on the dining table on the terrace.
                                                                    From The Lantern

The stage is set, the atmosphere suspended somewhere between serene and lonely. The table awaits our guests, for the food to emerge from the kitchen and be brought down the steps, for the wine and conversation to flow.

Here are the bare bones of the evening, or the calm before the storm, actually, because what happens around this table (and even more so when the extension table is added) frankly isn’t dainty. It’s usually a glorious free for all with a lot of belly laughter, and a certain amount of hilarity at well-remembered stories. We love having family and lots of old friends to stay during the long, hot summer, and now there are all our children – some the same age as we all were when we first met.

As night falls, the candles will be lit and placed in lanterns and jam jars. In the courtyard, glass yoghurt pots wired and hung in the olive and fig trees hold flickering gold flames. At some point my husband Rob will slip away into his music room – the door on the left – and start playing the piano. The teenagers will drift down through the dark garden to the pool with their own music, switch on the underwater lights, and dance in glowing turquoise water.

Which is all a rambling way of saying that I’m acutely aware that this blog is only at the scene-setting stage. I’m setting out the pictures and there is a certain anticipation, but the action hasn’t started yet. I’d like to hand you a drink and tell you a story, introduce you to some people I’m hoping you’ll get along with; but all I can do right now is show you around a little and try to put you at your ease. I can’t tell you how delighted I am to have made the acquaintance of so many lovely, like-minded people in such a short time.

Some of my posts might seem to have nothing to do with writing, or books, but they are all relevant in their way to one book. I’m hoping that when The Lantern is published, those who have enjoyed reading it will come here and sift through the archive to see what certain places really look like, and whether the pictures in their mind were anything like the ones I saw in mine when I wrote it.

Sooner or later, I’ll want to discuss the sense of smell; lavender and the production of essential oils; to take you to Manosque and the great lavender-growing plateau of Valensole; to wonder about the existence (or not) of a sixth sense and the vivid inner life of a reader; about the unquiet history of old houses.

But all this could be dangerous. Because you are such intelligent, artistic, imaginative visitors and the novel that you are half-creating in your minds as you look at my pictures may well be far better than the one I’ve written. Yet if that’s the case, all well and good: use it. Write your books, and tell me about them, and we can all raise a glass to creative endeavour.


22 comments:

joanny said...

It seems when we read, we read ourselves in the book, so either we relate and say "I felt that way" or "I did that" or perhaps even it reminds us of a time, place, an event, or someone we know,

And if that is so, than I would love to be discovering the "unquiet history of old houses" while reading your book/blog.

so here is raising my glass in a toast while sitting in the garden with you as we wait for the other guest to arrive.

have a lovely Sunday,
joanny

RICHARD MOISAN said...

Tu as raison. En regardant cette maison provençale, en imaginant un dîner aux chandelles, sur cette terrasse, on peut imaginer beaucoup de choses...
Fin Juin, début Juillet, le plateau de valensole est jaune et mauve. Splendide.
Comment ne pas imaginer un après-midi, à se promener entre blé et lavandes bercées par le vent... Puis arrive le soir, ta terrasse, la table, les bougies qui s'allument... Et alors que tu commences à nous servir un bon plat, et que, dans les arbres, quelques cigales se font entendre, dessous la table, à l'abri des regards, quelques pieds se rejoignent en silence...

Spangle said...

I love the act of reading a novel. Not only does it give an insight into the writer's interpretation of a place or story, but also it leaves freedom for one's own imagination.

However, your descriptions of the dinner party have transported me to a scene which hasn't even happened yet. I hope the party goes as well as you have described.

I love reading your blog and I'm looking forward to reading 'The Lantern'.

Elisabeth Hirsch said...

"The Lantern," sounds like an amazing book ;)

Sue Roebuck said...

I have this feeling that "The Lantern" is going to be a hit from the start. You conjure up amazing images.

Lisa Erin said...

What a lovely stage you've set...what time shall I be there?

Jennifer O. said...

I look forward to reading all your entries and can't wait for the book.

Leovi said...

One of the greatest pleasures of summer is dining in a beautiful courtyard with plants and surrounded by friends, without a doubt one of the most enjoyable.

BookGeek said...

It's so nice to find myself invited to a dinner party! Such a lovely place, not just the picture you posted above, but this blog as well. Your words are always inspiring, whether they are about writing or not. I am very excited about "The Lantern" if even your rambling blog posts can affect me.

Lynne Rees said...

You had me in the second sentence at 'food' : )

I love the way you're charting the journey towards publication, Deborah, and in such an evocative way too. Really enjoying your posts.

Dizzy C said...

The scene setting is beautiful.

Quite often I will visit an author's website after reading a book.
It is quite exciting to reverse the sequence this time.

carol

Becca said...

Each one of your posts is like an exquisite water color painting, and I'm instantly transported and transplanted right into your vision. I love it :)

Marrion said...

Thanks for the follow Ms. Lawrenson! It's an honor for me to be followed by an author! I am so delighted! I'm following you back! Have a great day! ^^

Janel said...

I can't wait to read "The Lantern". I have to say I am so happy to have found you through the SheWrites Blog Hop. Your posts are magical.

Omoy said...

Oh please do and please continue so wonderful.

Forest Dream Weaver said...

Beautiful setting!I look forward to reading more.
All best wishes.

✿ ♥ France ✿ ✿ said...

Bonjour et bien un endroit très sympa pour un grand repas bise

Lorraine said...

Love it. Would like to promote you on our site, Authors on Show if you're interested?
I love finding new writers to promote and am so glad I saw you on Crystal Jigsaw's blog.
E-mail me if you're interested
lorraine@authorsonshow.com

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Your words lead me to a door that I can't wait to step through :)

Me said...

Nice

josina.kamerling said...

love this post, it seems all your blog readers myself included share your love of long dinners with good food and wine to let the conversation take myriad turns, enjoying the stillness of the countryside, and true darkness lit by candles and the moon! tell me do you ever hear wolves joining in a chorus ? I heard this in greece on the mountains in epirus as we were dancing in a small village to the traditonal sounds of the clarinet and violin, we could hear the wolves on the other side of the valley, beautiful!! Am looking forward to your new book!

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

I am looking forward to visiting your blog and reading your book when it is released... so glad that you found me so that I could in turn find you!

Bisous,
Genie

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