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5 October 2005

"Out of the darkness a voice spake unto me, saying, 'Smile, and be happy; behold, things could be worse.' So I smiled, and was happy; and behold, things did get worse."

Sorry. That used to make me crack up as a kid, and I've never forgotten it. Trouble is, these days I can't remember why I ever thought it was funny.

I did a lot of smiling and being happy, last week. I did a gig with Frances Fyfield and Christopher Brookmyre for the Durham LitFest, which was exceedingly easy and a lot of fun; I was hosting, but all I actually had to do was interrupt them long enough to let a couple of questions in from the audience.

I did a fair bit of work too, on the second Taiwan novella, which was fun; and then I spent the weekend in Walsall. Outside Walsall, rather, on a roundabout off the motorway. This was not, in itself, fun. But I was there for FantasyCon, which was, as it always is: some of my favourite writers, some of my favourite people (two categories not always contiguous, but sometimes), new people - check out Joe Hill, if you’re into horror; he had the best story in the last issue of Postscripts, and his first collection’s just out from PS Publishing, and he is very likely to be the Next Big Thing, once he gets around to that first novel - and lots and lots of drinking. How would this not be fun, why would I not smile and be happy?

So I did all that, and then I came home, and on Monday my career took another little nosedive, which I'd really rather not go into the details now but I do seem suddenly to be looking for a new agent.

This is interesting for all sorts of reasons, but - shock horror, Chaz Censors Blog. I am, of course, selective about what I do and don't write about in these pages, but only in terms of what is or isn't creative or engaging or illuminating. What's relevant has always gone in, if I remembered. Nothing could be more relevant to the writer's life than his relationship with his agents; I think this is the first time I've ever decided that personal or professional factors are sufficient to override relevance and keep something out.

Can't say I like it, but it is interesting. Especially as the work I'm doing at the moment, the second Taiwan novella is in the form of a blog, borrows significantly from this in both style and substance, and is currently much engaged with those early anxieties about what one should record, and what not. See, everything's relevant...

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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.