20 January 2006
Work famously expands to fill the space available. Displacement, clearly, expands somewhat further, in order to force work out. Looking back, it's not so much extraordinary as utterly transparent how, every time I declare the intention to settle down to serious work on the new book, something else trundles along and elbows it out of the way. There have been proposals for other projects, that demanded weeks and took months; there have been cookings and parties and such; there have been proofs, this last week or so (and okay, that one's really not my fault, proofs do have to be checked instanter and I'm not responsible for when they turn up; it's just the spirit of the age that they came at exactly the wrong time); there are various applications for project-funding and awards and so forth that I haven't done yet, but must very shortly; and now there is a whole new thing, one of those offers that I simply can't refuse.
Why didn't I have assertiveness training back in the early eighties, when half my friends were doing it? Why did I never learn to say no?
But then, contrariwise, why would I want to say no to this? (Apart from pressure-of-work, deadlines, boring stuff like that, which we obviously dismiss out of hand.) What it is, I've been asked to guest-edit a special crime-and-fantasy issue of an online lit-crit magazine. I have carte blanche, they tell me, a free hand; so I've been recklessly sending e-mails hither and yon, pleading and bargaining with all my friends for interviews and articles and books. It's huge fun, putting something together in my head; quite beautiful, it is, a beacon of intelligence and art, a light shone upon genre fiction.
So far, I have managed blissfully to ignore my track-record as an editor of various things, from school newspapers to university magazines and beyond. What that track record says is that if you put Chaz in charge of anything, it doesn't actually happen. Great ideas, no ability to organise. Couldn't organise a ghost-story session in a haunted library...
Which may yet be my saving grace, because of course I can do that, I've proved it, and you can buy the book if you like. So maybe I've changed, maybe this is a skill I've acquired. Certainly the world has shifted in my direction, inventing e-mail for me so's I donít actually have to phone anybody. It could happen; it could be good. Keep an eye on www.incwriters.com, round about April/May - or just watch this space, thereíll be updates, thereíll be a link.
© Chaz Brenchley 2006
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.