Thursday, 17 February 2011

The haunting of cupboard doors


         The sun had emerged, quick and sharp. It seared into the wall, on one small patch, lifting layer after layer of surface tints, from cream to burnt brown; so mottled, hacked, knocked, replaced, corroded that the effect was of a decrepit fresco. It would be a bit of a shame to paint over it now, I was thinking; it was part of the fabric of the building’s history, like the various places in the house where the ghostly outlines remained of old doors that had been bricked up and plastered over. They were a fine counterpoint to the doors that opened into new rooms that hadn’t seemed to exist.
                                                                   from The Lantern

Sunlight through the catalpa tree, when the wind stirs the leaves and the light is so bright it seems to flash, makes me jump sometimes. Here is the winter light streaming though the kitchen door to glance against the cupboard doors. Cast shadows move in the breeze outside and the patterns wave. If you catch it in the corner of your eye…well, you can see how the over-imaginative mind works.

“Where do you get the ideas for your books?” is a question I’m asked quite often. I suspect that a response of “The kitchen cupboard doors” might prove disappointing in the abstract, but the shifting light and shadows in our south-facing rooms was indeed the genesis of The Lantern and its various hauntings, real and metaphorical.

We love the kitchen in our French house. It’s large enough to hold a long pine table by a shuttered window that faces south into the courtyard and beyond to the blue hills. Two cupboards set into wall recesses, and one on the central island, have doors that clearly originated from pieces of old furniture. The evidence shows they were once devoured by woodworm in various places, which probably explains how they came to be re-used like this. No matter, the charming imperfection is just right for our shabby chic ethos here, and of course, endless food for thought.


Here are the winter shadows from a different perspective. From the outside, when the kitchen door and window are shuttered, there is a tangle of stark branches on the facade. It's part of the magic of this place that it is so different according to the seasons. This bare tree, in summer, will provide dense shade and a cool place to read or drink a glass of rosé with friends. 

28 comments:

Kiki aka Victoria said...

Beautifully intriguing post..gorgeous photos! I love shaodow magic in the hosue too..wonderful captures!! Lovely to meet you and thanks for visiting me too!
Have a magical day! Shine on!
Victoria~

la Brocanteuse said...

Hello Deborah,
I can def see how the shifting shadows over your kitchen doors could inspire you...there is a sure mystic feeling...
enjoy your tree outside, not too long now for it to start budding ..! thank you for your welcome visit and comment on my blog. have a lovely week
xo Colette ~ Afrique du Sud

ShantyGirl said...

Wow, you sure can write!! Loved this post! Very beautiful.

Helen Smith said...

Hello Deborah. I found you via She Writes. What beautiful photos! Good luck with The Lantern later on this year.

Jennifer O. said...

Great post!

RICHARD MOISAN said...

Je vois, Deborah, que tu prends grand plaisir dans ta maison française!
C'est beau comment tu décris tout cela.
Bonne fin de journée!

Valerie Nieman said...

Lovely, lovely writing. I've been to Paris a few times and once to Nice - Provence is the longing in my heart!

Janel said...

What a beautiful kitchen. All of the history in those cabinet doors. Very inspiring!

Fi said...

Found you via the blog hop. Beautiful photos. Looking forward to reading more.

Cathy Kozak said...

Fine, fine writing and photos. I'll definitely be back.

From another SheWriter at http://cathykozak.com

Susanne Barrett said...

Visiting you back via She Writes after your kind post on my blog. You have a lovely blog here, and I find myself entranced by your writing. I plan to "follow" your blog, and it looks as if I may be #100 on your Google Follow list.

It's been delightful to meet you, and I look forward to the release of your book. Congratulations!!! You must be so pleased!

Karen Wojcik Berner said...

Hi, Deborah. Glad to see you are a part of the blog hop.

What a lovely blog! I can see why you are so in love with your French house. Gorgeous photos and descriptions.

I look forward to your book.

vicki archer said...

I love the winter shadows Deborah and I love your inspirations....xv

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

What a delicious excerpt! I'm excited to get my hands on The Lantern! :)

ravenousreader said...

Deborah, your post transported me directly from a dingy airport in Detroit to your sun drenched kitchen in France! What a delightful journey :)

llevinso said...

Stopping by on the blog hop but...I already know you! Love these pics today Deborah. Must visit Provence :)

Julie said...

I found your blog through the She Writes Hop, and I'm very glad I did. Beautiful photos and writing. I wish I could hop on a plane to France right now.

Anne K. Albert said...

Gorgeous pics. Lovely blog. Kudos! Btw, France is on my bucket list...guess I better get on that!

Blu said...

Love those images written, and photographic. Many thanks for the comments on my Blog

Best wishes Blu

Brenda Kezar said...

You have an amazing eye for photography! Color me green with envy, lol!

Cathy Kozak said...

Lovely lovely love, both word and image. I'll definitely be back when this SheWrites dance is done...

Leovi said...

Great pictures with a beautiful light and a lovely play of light and shadows. very interesting.

Deborah Lawrenson said...

I am quite "bouleversée" (as the French would say: turned upside down, moved!) at all your lovely comments on this post. Thank you all so much, they are much appreciated.

And a heartfelt welcome to all the new friends who have arrived here. You'll find I am a loyal sort, and when I say I'll follow you, I will.

Deborah Swift said...

Hello Deborah, enjoyed the lovely photos and I'm sure your blog will generate interest for your novel - seems to me a very good way of using a blog, and a tip other writers could take. I'll be back.

BookGeek said...

I love the abstract answer, actually. The shadows and play of light would do the same for me. Things like this get me connecting the inspiration dots on so many different levels. Again, your words are beautiful.

Elisabeth Hirsch said...

Gorgeous!

Rebecca Foote said...

Nice post. I can see how the winter shadows would play with ones imagination. Wonderfully written and nice pictures. :)

Serendipity's Library said...

What a wonderful post. It has certainly made me jot down the name of your upcoming novel The Lantern I will look forward to reading it when it comes out in the U.S in september. The photography is gorgeous also.
http://serendipityslibrary.blogspot.com

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