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26 February 2003

Whoops, a little slippage - sorry. Been busy. Checking proofs, reading and revising the opening chunk of the next fantasy before I posted it off to agents both sides of the Atlantic, amusing teenagers over half-term - you know the sort of thing. And, of course, cooking. I had people for dinner last night; I had been dithering all weekend between Chinese and Russian, and ended up cooking French: onion soup, duck braised in red cabbage, garlic potato purée and clafoutis. How classic can you get?

Oh, and I've also been collecting rejections. Didn't get the big Northern Rock award, which was no surprise at all, but I didn't get a small grant I'd applied for either, which cut me to the quick; and then the Dragon Kings story came back from a US magazine with an actual genuine rejection slip, which I haven't even seen one of those for a decade or more. I'm beginning to hear the sounds of falling between two stools. Professional writers tend to make their way either on the commercial bank of the river that is publishing (commissions, royalties) or on the subsidised bank (grants, awards, residencies). For a long time now I've been trying to swim between the two, but I seem to have ended up on a sandbank, neither commercial enough for the one nor literary enough for the other. Erosion, of course, is eating away at the sandbank.

But I've started writing a novella for Pete Crowther at PS Publishing, which is bringing a little joy into my bleak and dreary life. It's called 'Being Small', which seemed appropriate for a novella, and it's surprised me by being set in Oxford, at least so far. I promised Pete a ghost story; happily, I don't think either of us would actually be too surprised if it turned out to be a ghost story without a ghost in it.

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© Chaz Brenchley 2003
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.