Wednesday, 10 February 2010


partly cloudy, cool, temps minus 5

We're home. And as wonderful as Paradise is, well, this is Heaven on earth. Snow everywhere, of course. Another other things, now that Trudy is back. I was tossing her the ball this morning, and digging to try to find the one she'd lost in the deep snow, and realizing that when the spring comes our lawn will be littered with brilliant yellow tennis balls. And poop.

When we got home and pushed open the door (and were greeted by the unique scent of home) the first thing our eyes hit was a vase of fresh tulips! Up the few steps and into the kitchen, on the long pine table.

They were from our friend Kirk down the road, who is also, with Jane Walker (also a friend), our interior decorators. They're wonderful. They'd come over a few times before we left - I might have mentioned it - to choose fabric. We knew we needed the large sofa more or less re-built (a very big, and wide, author had sat there for 5 years writing and now the cushions rested on the floor) we decided we'd bite the bullet and recover the sofa, and two chairs...and might as well do the curtains (previously Ikea specials - I LOVE Ikea, but a little goes a long way). don't you find the 'might-as-well's kill you?

But while we were away Kirk and Jane worked their magic and we came home to fresh tulips and a brand new living room. Oh, it looks beautiful. Feels like a brand new room - warm, fresh, alive and comfortable. Trudy friendly too. But with a simple elegance. I hope. thanks to Kirk and Jane.

The trip home from St. Lucia could not have been easier. We hugged and kissed everyone...feeling very sad to leave the most stunning place, and the most gracious people. There's a saying that no man is a hero to his butler. I can't begin to say what the wonderful Malaika, Amos and Sabie thought of us, but I know what we thought of them. They were kind, thoughtful, dignified, warm.

As an example, on our last night Michael and I decided we'd have dinner at a restaurant called Barfeoot by the Sea...we'd eaten there the night before and adored it. It was scramble seating, which was fine with us...but we had to let Amos know our intention. Next thing we know, he was at the door to escort us down...he'd selected a lovely table on the shore, and sprinkled the table with flower blossoms.

I believe they do this for everyone, but Amos, Sabie and Malaika all made us feel we were the only ones they were caring for.

Never obsequious, always gracious...amazing people.

The resorrt arranged for a chauffer to drive us the 90 minutes to the airport. It's up and down and all around, and through the rain-forest. Glorious. But for a delicate flower like me (motion sickeness) a bit of a trial. So I dramamined up and even tried those pressure-point things you put on your wrist. Something worked because the drive was terrific.

Flight fast - uneventful - 4 hours. We were home and ordering pizza by 9pm.

It still amazes me...breakfast by the shores of the Caribbean and dinner with snow outside our window. We won't talk about lunch, which was an Air Canada special...which is to say, nothing.

We miss St. Lucia. Feel a little lost without someone to care for us - I can definitely see how people grown spoiled and entitled. Funny, but it doesn't seem such a bad thing now.

Mostly we feel lost and a little frightened out of sight of a buffet. We just stand in the kitchen pointing to our open mouths, and nothing happens.

I remember when my mother was alive my brothers and I would marvel that the further away she got from her sofa the odder she became. A transatlantic flight with her was quite an experience.

We feel a bit like with with the Sandals buffet table. But I think we'll survive. once we figure out how to use the oven again.

Breakfast tomorrow with Joan...we're making plans with friends. So wonderful to still have about 3 weeks 'holiday' before starting to write the next book. time to settle in and start structuring it...feeling and fleshing out the characters. Coming up with mis-directions and red herrings...I love that. But I have to stop myself from doing too much. Must leave space for inspiration.

I've decided I need to respectfully decline all invitations for at least march and april - to really concentrate on the writing. But today the phone rang and it was the Sutton Elementary School asking if I'd read to the kids and speak to them as part of their push to get kids passionate about reading.

I couldn't say YES fast enough. I remember when I realized I could be a writer...I was in elementary school.

The downside is that I'm rubbish with kids. Have no idea how to relate to them. I just pretend they're puppies - but that has its limits.

thank you too for all your comments on the blog while I was gone! I read them all but didn't respond since the internet wasn't covered and the rates were frankly ruinous - so I simply wrote real fast blogs...and scanned the comments, enjoying and appreciating them.

I know I say this a lot - but wow, are we lucky. To have had such a blessed and blissful holiday, and to be back in a home and community we love. Doing what I love.

Thanks for coming to St. Lucia! Must see most of our friends fast before the tans fade...already they seem tepid. Well, compared to that glowing, radioactive thing I was a few days ago. Ships at sea were making for me.

Speak to you tomorrow...


Bev Stephans said...

Dear Louise,

Welcome home!

Interacting with the kids to encourage reading is so worthwhile. Don't worry about how you relate to them. Kid's are pretty forgiving and usually look forward to someone new in the classroom.

Good news that you are getting ready to plot your next book. As always, I'll be waiting for it.

Bev Stephans

Anonymous said...

Louise, you're home! How marvelous it was to experience St. Lucia through your eyes. I probably won't ever get there on my own so it was quite a treat. We've been to Phoenix/Scottsdale while you were gone and I visited the Poisoned Pen. It was fun and I bought way too much, but it wasn't as fun as last year.

Take care. Rest up. Get to writing. My mystery book group is panting for your next book. Two members have started to reread your books in the interim. We've introduced you and Gamache to our new members. Am thinking about making it a rite of passage for the group -- "must answer these questions about Three Pines and Gamache in order to join"! :-)

Elizabeth D said...

Just treat the kids with respect, like real humans. If you're going to be there for more than just a speech, figure out an activity where they can be writers too -- and DON'T hijack it. Just tell them how exciting it is, and tell them how you worry when you send the book away, and how you have this whole other world inside your head. .. kids know about that.

lil Gluckstern said...

Welcome home- -to Trudy, and your new living room. I enjoyed the sun and sand, but relaxing, and getting ready to write sounds like a good endeavor for these winter months. Loved your description of your last night. Your helpers sound as gracious as you. Kids are people who are just a little shorter, and mostly way less jaded. You'll be great. Just tell them about your wish to write, and the rest will come.
I must admit, I miss the sun and the surf-way too much snow on the news.

Jodi said...

Welcome home. Lots of snow here in New York too (blizzard warnings, even).

So funny about the "might as wells". A friend of my brother calls that "so long and might as" ... even started a construction company called Solong and Midas (not sure how they spelled it). Cause so long as you're fixing the roof, you might as well fix the chimney... and the gutters, and the siding... and well you know the rest.

Love your comment about standing in the kitchen with your mouth open, but nothing happens!

Jeanine said...

Welcome home! I know Trudy was as happy to see you as you were to see her. Love the sound of the new living room -- and TULIPS!

We are having a bit of snow here in New Hampshire today, but not much. Just enough to clean things up and make them sparkle again. One of my favorite things in the whole world.

When will we be able to pre-order "Bury Your Dead"? So glad to hear you're about to start another new one. God's in his Heaven and all's right with the world!

Cece said...

I worried about your flight home-thought you might have to "be stranded" there a little while longer. How disappointed you would have been...and how clever of you to plan your homecoming between the two hammerings we are having here on the east coast.
22"on Friday into Saturday, another 24" yesterday into today. A little St. Lucia sunshine please!

Mason Canyon said...

Glad you both made it home safe and sound and that the holiday went so well.

Marjorie said...

Welcome home, Louise.

As for the children, I wouldn't ask them if they like to read. That might not be cool (depending on their ages). I would say...Do you like movies? TV? Video games? Comic books? Well, they all have something very important in common. They all had to be created first and foremost by a...writer!

--Marjorie from Connecticut

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi all,

LOVE and appreciate your advice re: kids. So my plan to toss them raw meat might not have worked? How about bananas and scratch behind their ears?

But, honestly, I am very much in need of your advice and will be taking it to heart. And to the classroom. Will, I am sure, let you know - sometimes in March. If there are enough kids could they swarm and eat me?

Kay - I remember so clearly our visit together at poisoned pen - how lovely it was to meet you. And quite right to make familiarity with Three Pines and Gamache part of the entrance exam. You could ask each wannabe - 'What does F.I.N.E. stand for?' And if they tell you, you must exclude them for being far too rude and crass.

Thank you all for your welcome homes.

And good luck to all of you caught by the storms. That really is no fun. Too much.

sexxyk_21 said...

Hi Louise and Micheal, miss you'll from the moment you'll left.It's still sunny and windy down here ,no snow as yet but very cold during the night, i fall asleep with my comforter now something i never needed to do. When ever you need some more blush Louise you can always come down to St.Lucia.
Awaiting you return.
Love Malaika