28 February 2004
Yesterday we finished off the Lit & Philís crime month; I did the last of a series of Murder Squad workshops (and found myself positively volunteering to edit the participantsí stories before we put them up on the L&P website; I am keen to read them, and keen to help, but itís still extra work, that stuff that I complain about all the time, oh help...), and then read in the evening from work in progress (not the fantasy: a bit of Being Small and a bit of Nothing Broken, my Taipei novella). The reading would have been busier if there hadnít been a blizzard blowing; we only had half the booked audience turning up. I might have been more coherent if I hadnít had that extra brimmer of wine in the bar beforehand, but I was meeting Val and I had to tell her that my beloved Julia has secondary cancers in her liver, and there are times and tasks where you just do have to drink.
And then my bedside radio died overnight, which anyone who knows me will know is a disaster; so I went coldfoot through six inches of snow this morning to buy the digital beauty Iíve been looking at for weeks and not buying because I really didnít need another radio - and theyíve sold out, and cannot promise new stock at the same attractive price. I donít know how many times I have had to learn this lesson, that need has no place in shopping. I still dither and delay, and I still do keep on losing what I want.
Tonight Iím going out for extreme foods: surströming, Swedish fermented herring. Iíve met this before, and it is the smelliest thing on the planet (with perhaps the sole exception of stinky tofu, which they sell on street corners in Taipei, and I have been known to walk round three sides of a block to avoid it), but rather wonderful to eat, so long as everybody youíre going to spend the evening with is also eating it. We made the mistake last time of partying with people who hadnít risked it; all evening I was conscious of them sidling quietly and politely away from me, although Iíd washed my hands twice and cleaned my teeth and been so careful not to get anything on my clothes. It pervades, I guess. Through the pores, perhaps, and oozing everywhere...
© Chaz Brenchley 2004
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.