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Chaz'z Blog

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Well, that was fun. I've spent the last couple of days repelling boarders, enduring siege and famine, defending the citadel and many other military metaphors that aren't really that appropriate. Actually what's been happening, I was under virtual attack: someone with the latest worm kept sending it to me, in 100KB files at the rate of one every two minutes. Not that I'm vulnerable to worms, being a Linux user, but the files themselves are nuisance enough; after a couple of hours they overflowed the mailbox on my server, so that no authentic e-mail could get through. And I'd go online and spend forty minutes downloading all this crap in order to delete it, and so empty the mailbox and so allow it all to start again. It felt like bailing a sinking ship, an exhausting exercise in very slow futility.

Happily, Roger came up with and then implemented an ingenious solution, a complicated system of forwarding and webmail which meant that we could avert the critical elements and hold the sludge at bay till it stopped flowing (forgive the confusion of mixed metaphors, but they are meant as an ironic representation of my current state of mind), and the only side-effect so far is that I got magnificently muddled this evening and so left my poor computer online and unattended for five bloody hours, on a pay-by-the-minute tariff. God save us, every one.

On the other hand, the good news is that I have finished the novella, Being Small. Only the first draft, 42,500 words and it's going to need a hell of a lot of work, and I've spent six months on it already, which is ridiculous; but the final full stop of the first draft always feels like a triumph, in a way that no later part of the process can emulate. No book ever is really finished (only abandoned, as someone once said about a poem, but it's exactly true of novels too, and any kind of writing); this moment somehow feels the closest to that happy state, which is odd, given that this is the moment when you're most aware of all the work that's yet to come, the rewrites and the rethinks, the checking and the proofs and all. The final delivered typescript, even the printed copies are nothing but relief and disappointment, sometimes even distress.If there is any celebrating to be done, it happens now. Except that I'm too tired, and I'm going to bed. Hey-ho.

Posted by Chaz at 11:35 PM GMT [Link]

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

It's always a thrill to discover a friend's hidden identity. When that friend is the cat you live with, then joy is unconfined - even if it is slightly embarrassing to have taken so long to find out. No surprise, that it needed someone else to disclose her secret; ain't that always the way?

My little Misha-cat - of course she was keeping something from me. No cat could be truly so cute, so quiet, so contented. The clue was in the name, if I'd only thought to follow it up; but she's always known as Misha, no one ever calls her Artemisia. Any more than they call me Charles...

That may change. Artemisia absinthium is, we learn, the Latin name for wormwood, and the origin of absinthe. Could a clue be more blatant? It's true, it is true: Misha is la fée verte, the Green Fairy of legend and renown. Behold the evidence, dispute it if you dare...

Artemisia absinthium

In the film Moulin Rouge (which I saw on a three-inch screen forty thousand feet above the Atlantic, so I think I can be excused not paying attention), the Green Fairy is played by Kylie Minogue. This week, I have been struggling with the notion of my sweet Misha having a fey and louche underside (though I really should have known - her Christmas colour was always green and spangly); I have decided to postpone till next week any consideration that her secret identity is really a petite Australian soapsud.

Posted by Chaz at 10:06 PM GMT [Link]

Monday, August 4, 2003

Jean quite correctly observes that the Poet Laureate of whom I was thinking was Alfred Austin. I told you I was ill. Anselm Audley is a fantasy writer whom I would not choose to promote in this weblog, simply because he is the extreme example of a fashion I disapprove of thoroughly, viz the signing up and publishing of writers whose literary voices have not yet broken, just because the young are so promotable. In his case he was seventeen, and he was commissioned to write a trilogy. Takes three years at least to write a trilogy, and consistency is essential; if you want to tell me that a writer's voice will not change radically between the ages of seventeen and twenty, then something has gone severely wrong with that writer's development.

But never mind that. It's been a long hot sunny day, and one of my Hungarian hot wax chillies has gone from acid green to orange, all by itself and all at once. I'm chuffed.

Posted by Chaz at 09:32 PM GMT [Link]

Sunday, August 3, 2003

Across the wires the electric message came:
'He is no better. He is much the same.'

Sorry, that's not even true; I just love it, and I didn't want to wait around for the next time I was ill, in hopes of remembering to use it then. It's a quotation from one of the lesser Poet Laureates, Anselm Audley I think, only my study light has gone and I can't find my sources in the dark. Look it up on Google, if you want to know.

Meanwhile, sorry about the mystery & melodrama, but I enjoy mystery and am naturally melodramatic. Besides which, on Thursday I really was ill. Mega-flu symptoms: shivering, dizzy, aching, sweaty, all of that. Turned all the fires on and put a winter-weight duvet on the bed, and still couldn't stop shaking.

Friday I was so much better I thought I'd had one of those twenty-four hour viruses you read about but never actually get, except that my left leg was all sore below the knee, and the foot was swollen and discoloured. Still is, and this is Sunday. I have been here before, or hereabouts, with the right leg ten years ago, and that foot has been swollen ever since. I've done the specialist thing twice with that one, sans any useful diagnosis. Most people think I had a thrombosis, but no one knows for sure. I suppose I'd better start the whole see-the-doctor process again on Monday with the new one, but I'll go into it with no confidence.

Meanwhile, being sick has disrupted a lovely run of work. I'd had to put the novella aside to write my paper for South Korea; that got interrupted halfway through, and I've only just started it moving again. They wanted the text by the end of July, for translating. And I'd meant to be so good. Sigh...

Posted by Chaz at 10:50 PM GMT [Link]

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© Chaz Brenchley 2002/2006
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.