halcyon days with yumi takahashi: day 1

Yumi Takahashi is a visual artist living in Getxo, Spain. She and her partner, Taka, maintain the blog Dear Plastic. Yumi also has a blog here.

Starting today, Yumi and I will be collaborating on an eight-day series of blog posts in which we will trade inspiration on the theme ‘Halcyon Days’. This is a theme I’m exploring in my novel at the moment, as my main character looks back on an idyllic period in his life.

Yumi and I are hoping that this collaboration will help enrich, and inspire new directions in, our own individual projects.

From today until Sunday 2 October, we will be publishing a new blog post each day by 11am Eastern Standard Time.  I have written today’s post and Yumi will respond to it in tomorrow’s post. The day after that, I’ll put up a post responding to Yumi’s response… and so on.

The best way to follow our collaboration is to have each post delivered into your inbox each day, which you can do by subscribing to this blog (if you haven’t already) using the ‘Sign me up!’ button on the right.

I hope you enjoy watching what we get up to this week!


Dear Yumi,

I hope life is beautiful in Getxo.

I thought we could start our week of collaborative blogging with some inspiration from a book I love: Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, The Sacred & Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder. I read it for the first time a few years ago after watching the brilliant 1981 TV adaptation starring Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews.

The narrator, Charles Ryder, is an English army officer during World War Two. In the Prologue, Charles learns that he will be billeted at a stately house called Brideshead, which has been taken over for military purposes:

I slept until my servant called me, rose wearily, dressed and shaved in silence. It was not till I reached the door that I asked the second-in-command, ‘What’s this place called?’

He told me and, on the instant, it was as though someone had switched off the wireless, and a voice that had been bawling in my ears, incessantly, fatuously, for days beyond number, had been suddenly cut short; an immense silence followed, empty at first, but gradually, as my outraged sense regained authority, full of a multitude of sweet and natural and long forgotten sounds: for he had spoken a name that was so familiar to me, a conjuror’s name of such ancient power, that, at its mere sound, the phantoms of those haunted late years began to take flight.

In the following sentences, which open Book One: Et In Arcadia Ego: Chapter One, Charles thinks back to his time at Brideshead decades earlier and to his friendship with Lord Sebastian Flyte, a member of the family to which the house belonged.

(‘I HAVE been here before,’ I said; I had been there before; first with Sebastian more than twenty years ago on a cloudless day in June, when the ditches were creamy with meadowsweet and the air heavy with all the scents of summer; it was a day of peculiar splendour, and though I had been there so often, in so many moods, it was to that first visit that my heart returned on this, my latest.)

I hope this provides you with some inspiration! Looking forward to your response.

x Julie

P.S. The blue box in the bottom right hand corner of my illustration is the TARDIS: Dr Who’s time travelling spacecraft, which looks like a blue police box on the outside.  It’s completely unrelated to Brideshead but I’ve been watching a lot of Dr Who lately. Plus he visits the past quite a bit.

3 thoughts on “halcyon days with yumi takahashi: day 1

  1. Pingback: halcyon days with yumi takahashi: day 2 « The Fictional Julie Koh

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