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18 July 2005

Just as the rest of the world sits down to read Harry Potter, I sit down to read Diana Wynne Jones. Iím not sure if this is protest or irony or what, but I have to do something to cheer myself up.

Misha is still under the doctor, but I think she's all right. I am not. I have decided that just as there are apparently natural victims in the world, people who are predisposed to suffer violence and degradation, so there must be also natural failures, people who will just never make it in whatever field they set their mind or their heart upon. That would be me, then. I have about two months left before I run entirely out of money, and the latest - probably the last - of my potential escape clauses has just been and gone. We have a well-paid and prestigious literary fellowship here in the north-east, for which I apply every now and then. Iíve been shortlisted before, but obviously never got it; this time around, I didnít even get that far. Just the blunt rejection. It's very easy to feel angry about it - recent Fellows have been conspicuous by their utter lack of impact in the community, and I have a whole tirade predicated upon this, as my application was - but there's no point. Itís just one more thing I no longer have to bother applying for.

I finished the synopsis for Moonshadow vol 2 this week, and should undoubtedly have dived straight into vol 3, to make a whole package that could perhaps be shown around. But I am - you will have noticed - dispirited, and sick of synopses, the endless mapping and remapping of stories I have not written. This is not how literature happens, and if I'm not going to make any money anyway (the most conspicuous aspect of my eternal failure: Iíve published twenty-some books, in numerous styles and genres, and every single one of them has sold disappointingly within its respective marketplace. I can very easily believe that I have bad commercial judgement, but there are so many other people involved in these decisions, professional people with their eyes on the bottom line, it astonishes me that not one of them has ever got it right. Itís true too in other countries, American editions, translations, sales are universally shocking. Which is why I think it has to be genetic, the books carry some invisible mark of Cain), then literature is the last remaining point of the exercise.

Besides, those nice people at NWN gave me a grant to write the Taiwan book, so that's what Iím doing. Sheesh, itís so nice to be doing proper work, words that mean something to me, that donít have to fit some slot in someone elseís concept of what a book should be. This is only an interlude, but those are often the best bits.

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© Chaz Brenchley 2005
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.