14 December 2003
Well, that was interesting. For me, at least. Perhaps not for you (assuming that anyone is actually out there, and reading this: how can I be a solipsist and believe in any audience outside myself? Or care?). What's interesting is that I've been doing this a long time now, it's only occasionally been a chore, and I thought it had become a habit; and suddenly it passes out of my consciousness altogether and I don't even notice that it's gone.
This may be a sign of something, of a seam exhausted or a good intention hammered down as paving, done and dusted. Perhaps I should quit while I can do it guilt-free, owing nothing. Or perhaps I only needed to refuel, and now we will be up and rolling again. We'll see. If I decide to quit, I will say so; no need to watch an empty page for words that will not come.
In the meantime, though, I am all unquitting. I tried to quit the university, I practised saying no, 'No, Penny, I do not want to teach next semester.' Then she phoned, and I heard myself explaining to her how I had spent the last couple of weeks practising the refusal; and then of course I said yes. I knew I would.
Otherwise I have been cooking lots, and writing little. I had friends round last night to try out the turkey tagine. Went into town to shop in the morning, came home all shopped out, then remembered the confit of quail and had to go back for bread and cream and shallots and such, to make the bread sauce. And was making my way into Fenwicks when I walked directly past someone who used to be a friend, who has cut me entirely out of his life in the last half-dozen years and who cut me dead today, fixed his eyes ahead and ignored me utterly. And okay, there is and has been fault on both sides, and I didn't seize his arm and gladly cry his name; but it wasn't me who was avoiding eye-contact. When he decides not to see someone any more, I guess he really doesn't see them.
So I was upset by that, and had to buy myself a new set of knives to cheer myself up. I really didnít need them, I'm actually very happy with my nice heavy Henckels; these of course are Globals, all light and shiny and Japanese. People swear by them who have them, and it was a one-off bargain, so I fell in the way of temptation. And then thought how foolish it was, two weeks before Xmas when all my friends know that I have this knife-fetish and many of them are likely to pass by the same display; so now I daren't take them out of the box and play with them, for fear that I might have to take them back on account of duplication.
But anyway, I did buy them, and then I did go into Waterstone's to buy a complete set of my own Outremer books (for someone else, damn it, to give to a third party: even my ego has its limits); and I was enjoying that process completely, giggling over it with the staff, when I spotted my ex-friend's wife in the queue just ahead of me. And tiptoed quietly away downstairs to pay at another till, feeling that I really didn't need this. I'm a great defender of coincidence, and no, it really doesn't mean a thing - but sometimes you can just do without it, y'know...?
© Chaz Brenchley 2003
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.