3 December 2002
What's the point of putting all that energy into displacement activities, if you then go and do some work anyway? Sometimes I despair, I really do...
Today I did better: physiotherapy and shopping this morning, shopping and Chinese homework this afternoon, and the closest I came to working was to sign another hundred sheets for the Dr Who novella. Tho' I did do some good thinking about Getting Carter, just in case I get to do some more work on it. That almost counts as displacement in itself, as I really need to do the next fantasy proposal, and a short story for an anthology, and the ghost novella for Pete before I even think about Carter. I hate having more than one thing on at once; I can multi-task my life in ever-decreasing concentric circle, but I can't do it to my work. Whatever I'm actually doing, I always want to be doing the other thing, so that the energy gets dissipated into the gaps between and nothing moves forward with any vigour.
Oh, and I did some more indoor gardening, harvesting my last dozen chillies and packing the plants away for the winter. The cupboard under the stairs has a convenient little window with a wide sill, so they're all snuggled in together. Whether they'll survive or not, who knows? It's all a mystery to me. As witness: I brought my French tarragon (wittily called Estragon, of course; if I had the Russian variety it would be called Vladimir to match, but I don't, because Russian tarragon tastes like hay. I'm sorry, all you my Russian readers, but it does) indoors to escape the frost, cut it right back and put it in that same window. Suddenly today I find it flinging up new shoots, and they're really vigorous; I moved it to an upstairs window and I swear they've grown a centimetre today. Either I'm going to have fresh tarragon this winter, or it's just got really confused, thought it was spring already and is going to rue its error in a week or two. It didn't do this last winter, just sat quiet & brown in its pot till true spring came. What's a guy to do? Give it water and hope, I reckon. I like to give hope.
Tomorrow to London, to meet my new new new agent. I'd rather be going back two generations to my original new agent, but like the brook Kerith ran away southerly. Sigh. And exit, singing bad Kathleen Ferrier impersonations. There's something about that word 'southerly', it just brings her on. Like 'Southron' will always take me back to Francis Thompson now, although I met the word first in Tolkien. 'It is little I repair to the matches of the Southron folk' - it's not sentimentality, it's the real thing, the echt sadness of the supporter who's lost his team and can't find a value in the game alone. Which oddly brings us back to Tolkien, because his work is haunted by a true and bruising melancholy which other fantasists imitate but can never reproduce, with the sole exception of Guy Gavriel Kay. If you haven't read him yet, do it now. You can order his books - or any - through this site; follow the link to Amazon from the front page. But watch the postage, if you don't live in the UK...
© Chaz Brenchley 2002
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.