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5 February 2004

Last week was really, really good workwise: something on the order of twelve thousand words, which is exceptional. Iíve always worked in sprints and staggers, but the sprints these days tend to be more rare and sadly slower; itís always exciting when I get a proper hurry on. Thing is, though, itís usually a sign of a good long work-jag setting in, a month or six weeks of the same; and I canít depend on that this time, indeed I can almost discount it. Last week was great, but this week is already deeply wobbly. Iíve been working when I can, it hasnít gone away; but I had to go out Monday at five, and early evening is my best time for writing. Three pages on Monday, where Iíd been scoring five or six the days before. I had fun out (a worky-type meeting in the pub, to talk about the events at the Lit & Phil this month, and then a touring production of Time and the Conways: straight down the line, just like the old rep companies used to do it, an exercise in nostalgia and classic English middle-class drama, I thoroughly enjoyed it) but I still resented the lost writing-time. Tuesday, I had to go out at half six; four pages on Tuesday, and ditto ditto, thoí again it was a good evening. My old friend Tim Dalling (of the Old Rope String Band: check Ďem out if you ever get the chance) has made an album (does one still call them albums, I wonder?) of songs, including his settings of poems by Louis MacNeice. Piano accordion(!), guitar - Ian Carr, another long-time friend and the finest guitarist I know - and Neil Harland on double bass. They had a launch gig, and it was magic. Then I went back to Timís house for drinking purposes, and didnít get home till 5am. Which is one reason why I scored no pages at all on Wednesday, not a word. The other reason is that I had to go out at four, to meet Val McDermid and Ian Rankin, and then chair a conversation between them at the Lit & Phil. Which I was very nervous about - packed house, we couldíve sold out four times over; and this was something of a new venture for the library, so there was a lot hanging on it, and I have an unfortunate history with chairing events - but they were terrific, relaxed & easy, and I think it went well. Then there was more drinking after, and finally a Chinese hotpot for dinner (not quite authentic Taiwan-style - where was the blood-pudding, I wanted to ask? - but there was tripe and fish-heads and such, and I have now eaten chickenís feet, which is a good thing to have done).

And today I have woken up ill, and not from the drinking. Went to the doctor about something else, and first thing he said was "God, Chaz, you look dreadful. What are you wasting my time for? Youíve got a virus. Go to bed."

So I have, and am, and am trying not to count the pages as they flicker past, unwritten.

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© Chaz Brenchley 2004
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.