31 January 2004
Seven pages yesterday. 2,200 words, to get to the end of a chapterette, and I'm not going to be far short of my ration for the month. January always is an easy month, but none the less...
I think perhaps one reason why I'm working so much is the old escapism clause, which applies to the writer as much as it does the reader. Or as little, but in this case quite a lot. I'd really rather not spend too much time hanging out in the real world just now, it's making me too angry. I don't want to plunge into a diatribe on British political scandalmongery (just Google 'Hutton enquiry' for the details) but the results are a scandal in themselves. It ought to be no surprise; Hutton is a Law Lord, and people have been saying that as though it were a byword for independent and objective judgement, whereas in fact it means he's an absolute establishment figure, so of course he would tend to come down pro-government and anti-media. Even so, the depths of his bias seem to have astonished just about everybody who's paid any attention to the case. He heard the same evidence that we did, but his conclusions are mind-numbingly perverse. He's bought into the government line at every turn, exonerated them entirely and done deep and lasting damage to the BBC. Good and honest men have resigned, while politicians are smirking. The only good news is that the British public doesn't believe it; we tend not to be a nation of conspiracy theorists (except about Princess Diana, obviously), but the poll results are almost as cynical as I am. One cannot help but wonder what Hutton actually thinks this piece of work will do for his reputation; my own money says that in a fairly short time, 'doing a Hutton' will become standard slang for a blatant whitewash.
Sorry, I said I wouldn't, didn't I? And there I was, diatribing already. But I really am very angry. Apparently 'diatribe' derives from the Greek word for 'spending time', which is a little curious, but kind of accurate. Rage does eat up the space available for other pursuits.
But I don't like it, I don't enjoy being angry, so off I go pursuing a book instead. These times of busy working are of course multifactorial, there is no single cause to glue me to the keyboard; another, and just as true, is simply that I'm enjoying this stage of the work. Sometimes, writing still can make me happy, the actual process as well as the end-of-day achievement, the pagecount. And then there are the sidebars, where writing rubs up against the world: as for example the fact that I posted 'Dragon Kings' to Pete Crowther on Monday of this week, and this morning I had the cheque. I think that's a record, but it's not just a cold statistic, it's also a nice warm fuzzy feeling that stretches all the way from the story to the bank.
© Chaz Brenchley 2004
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.