21 August 2003
Well, that was fun. I've spent the last couple of days repelling boarders, enduring siege and famine, defending the citadel and many other military metaphors that aren't really that appropriate. Actually what's been happening, I was under virtual attack: someone with the latest worm kept sending it to me, in 100KB files at the rate of one every two minutes. Not that I'm vulnerable to worms, being a Linux user, but the files themselves are nuisance enough; after a couple of hours they overflowed the mailbox on my server, so that no authentic e-mail could get through. And I'd go online and spend forty minutes downloading all this crap in order to delete it, and so empty the mailbox and so allow it all to start again. It felt like bailing a sinking ship, an exhausting exercise in very slow futility.
Happily, Roger came up with and then implemented an ingenious solution, a complicated system of forwarding and webmail which meant that we could avert the critical elements and hold the sludge at bay till it stopped flowing (forgive the confusion of mixed metaphors, but they are meant as an ironic representation of my current state of mind), and the only side-effect so far is that I got magnificently muddled this evening and so left my poor computer online and unattended for five bloody hours, on a pay-by-the-minute tariff. God save us, every one.
On the other hand, the good news is that I have finished the novella, Being Small. Only the first draft, 42,500 words and it's going to need a hell of a lot of work, and I've spent six months on it already, which is ridiculous; but the final full stop of the first draft always feels like a triumph, in a way that no later part of the process can emulate. No book ever is really finished (only abandoned, as someone once said about a poem, but it's exactly true of novels too, and any kind of writing); this moment somehow feels the closest to that happy state, which is odd, given that this is the moment when you're most aware of all the work that's yet to come, the rewrites and the rethinks, the checking and the proofs and all. The final delivered typescript, even the printed copies are nothing but relief and disappointment, sometimes even distress.If there is any celebrating to be done, it happens now. Except that I'm too tired, and I'm going to bed. Hey-ho.
© Chaz Brenchley 2003
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.