28 March 2004
Not sure how much more drink a body can consume, but I seem to be out to test the limits. Typing when drunk is an interesting exercise; oneís fingers become approximate, while the keyboard remains precise. Damn. Itís kind of like slurring, only far less sexy. I still know when Iím wrong; just have to slow down, focus, take two or three stabs at a word. At least I donít have to look at the keys, that does not help at all, my eye still canít keep up with my fingers. What is it the conjurors say, the quickness of the hand deceives the eye? Durn tootiní.
Anyway: those of you who have been holding off e-mailing in case it was wasted labour, you may now resume your former occupation. Itís back. Twenty-four hours off, and then everything came through in a rush. All the analogies I can think of are unfortunate, so letís not go there. Letís be happy with being here, back in the world again.
Yesterday I was reading proofs (not for me, alas, not my work: Iím checking a Sid Chaplin reissue for publishing friends, and I hate it. I think this is heresy around here, but itís okay, Iím drunk. And not from around here. I hate that whole grim-up-north kitchen-sink battle-of-the-sexes school; I think itís a literary dead end, and I think itís dishonest. I know lots of people from all over, and I donít know one who genuinely thinks of the opposite sex in the kind of poisoned, broken, sociopathic way that these books would have us believe is common currency), so then I went out with a visiting Helen & Mark and our friend-in-common Simon (I have to say friend-in-common because Jean glowers at me every time I say mutual, and I decline to say our common friend. My own feeling is that mutual has come to mean what I want it to mean, the way that people have been using it for centuries: Shakespeare did it, so of course famously did Dickens, and so do I when Jeanís not around. There is a difference between language and algebra, and sometimes I just want to assert it. And then I hear myself going postal over a split infinitive, and realise that I am still a pedant at heart, and on the surface, and all the way between...) and got very drunk. Now thereís a long framing sentence, to contain a couple of pet parentheses. Like a small mother, very very pregnant with twins.
Today I repotted some lavender plants, my first real day of the year out in the yard again. My compost bin is full of worms, which is great, I just canít figure out where they came from, as the yard is a concrete box with no access to outside soil; everything grows in compost, which tends to come sans worm. Except when I make it myself, apparently. Ah, the mysteries of nature. But half my plants are budding and putting on growth, and itís kind of exciting. The signs of middle age: a bad back, aching joints, dozing after dinner, a passionate dislike of modern music, a genuine belief that things were better when one was younger and the world is going to hell in a handcart, and a come-from-nowhere and ever-increasing interest in gardening. Iíve got íem all.
Iíve also been trying to write an introduction for my friend Juliet McKennaís novella for PS Publishing. Itís taken me all weekend to write a thousand words, and I have no confidence in any of íem. Iím okay with fiction, I can bluff my way through that, but trying to write intelligently scares me stupid - or rather it draws the readerís attention to the fact that I am already stupid. No one believes this, but thatís because Iíve bluffed you all with fiction, inter alia the fiction that Chaz is quite smart really. Writing genuine critical matter exposes the bone of me, and you really oughtnít to look at that. Sigh. If only I could learn to say no...
© Chaz Brenchley 2004
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.