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Recipes & rain

12 August 2004

As I foretold you, Sunday was a cooking day, and it all seemed to go very well; but it did feel strange, in a way that I hadn't anticipated. It never felt like a thing in itself, a meal that I was cooking for my friends. It was a trial run, a dress rehearsal, and that's fine, I've done that before, often and often; but this was a trial run for a meal that will never happen, for a fiction, getting recipes right for a story on a website. And oh, that is weird. Like making a physical model for a virtual world: if that's a part of the process,then that's what you do, but there's something irredeemably topsy-turvy about it.

Monday was a day of waiting for agents to phone, then finally giving up and phoning them; such is the life of a writer, that whole internal monologue, oh, what's the point, if she had anything to say she'd have called, but in the end you do call her and yes indeed she has plenty to say and God knows why she didn't ring me (better things to do, you suggest, other clients to attend to? Bah humbug, say I) but hey, you get used to this. And my US agent pitched in with a pageful of notes, but nothing drastic, just a few cuts and a bit of reworking and then the novel can go off to publishers both sides of the pond, my agents both sides reckon it'll do (oh, all right, they say that it's fabulous - but you didn't hear it from me, okay?).

Since then, not been doing much; sleeping patterns all shot to hell, so I've been dragging exhaustion through the day like a sodden blanket. Saw M Night Wossname's The Village yesterday: thoroughly enjoyed the first hour, until the oh-gosh-what-a-surprise twist came along. Trouble is, he's known as Mr Twist now, so you know it's got to come; and this time it's just so obvious from about the third minute of the movie, and that wouldn't actually matter if it was incidental to the story but it's not, it is the story, there's nothing else to work with, which makes the last half just a dreadful anticlimax. So you sit there wide open to annoyance and it's suddenly so easy to find irritations in a script that had been working so well up till then ('oh hey, we need to send someone for help, through this wild and trackless wood and then out into a world they know nothing about - I know, let's send the blind girl...'). Grr.

But I have been working also, writing up the recipes from Sunday and reworking the pieces of fiction that fit around the food. Today is the start of the third Test, but it's been raining for days and the pitch is wet, so everything's delayed; in Newcastle it's still raining, indeed itís bucketing down, so I'm less inclined to run away; I am being virtuous, and finishing these pieces.

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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.