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17 November 2004

Where have I been? Well, down to London for my agentís party, and then immediately up to Fife, where I spent a happy night drinking with strangers in the hotel bar (and selling them a copy of Blood Waters as we went) and then a happy Readersí Day in Glenrothes. This is a library enterprise, where a number of readersí groups are brought together to spend the day with authors, talking about books (our own and other peopleís). Those who had opted to be with me, Iíd asked them to read Manda Scottís Boudica: Dreaming the Eagle, which is one of my Books of the Decade at least. Which of course meant I had to reread it too, which actually I had been rather dreading. I adore it, but I also find it achingly sad, and had been really anxious about immersing myself in that degree of loss & grief again. In fact, though, I guess the first time inoculated me, or else I was just able to read through that this time, to find the nuggets of hope that are buried at the bookís core. Fabulous stuff.

And apart from that, I have been at the theatre. The Royal Shakespeare Company season is still rolling on, and I have found myself shockingly unable to find a spare evening to go drinking with friends. Even though I need to go drinking, itís becoming a matter of urgency. My publishers and my students have both found new ways to depress & infuriate me, just when I thought there was nowhere further to go in either direction; this is why pubs & ale were invented, to allow the physical and emotional space to grouch, to rant, to apostrophise. (Hint, to my US readers: if you were thinking about investing in a set of the Outremer books, do it now. Swiftly. Before they disappear.)

And apart from that, I have been working. Despite everything, this year the stories just roll on. I never write this much, this long, without some form of literary breakdown. I must be building up to a massive crisis, but there is no sign of it yet. Not grumbling, you understand - but it is getting a bit like San Francisco or Tokyo, waiting for the big one...

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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.