I went to Bath yesterday. This was a more important trip than it seems for several reasons. The first is merely the most obvious: I was terrified.

Bath is a wonderful, beautiful city. I could spend hours wandering around taking photographs, content to let it wash over me. I’ve spent hours in coffeeshops planing stories there, it inspires me, and it makes me want to live there. Bath is wonderful. Bath is great.

Bath terrifes me more than anything else I know.

On the 11th of August 2001, there was an Alt.fan.pratchett meet in Bath which I went to. The results of that evening are detailed in this Article but, to summerise, various events meant I spent the night of the 11th sleeping on a park bench because I had no money, lost my hotel and there were no trains back. I’ve been to Bath several times since then, because LoneCat lived there and so a) My desire to see my girlfriend overroad my terror and b) I had a confirmed place to stay. Yesterday I went there, however, in order to stay at a hotel. So I was terrified.

Also, I was angry, which wasn’t helping.

After one of the reactions to the story I put online on Sunday, I was – and still am – considering closing the fiction section of Aquarionics permenantly. Within a few short paragraphs, this person managed to do what several years of shouting into black holes has failed to do, and stop me writing. There will not be a story on Sunday. There will not be a christmas pantomime, because all faith I have in my writing has just been shot to pieces, and it’s going to take me a while to recover. I’m not going to even argue about the difference between basing a charector on how you’d react and a Mary Sue. If you don’t belive there is one, I would ask you do to do me the great honour of fucking off right now. I’m not even going to start on the reasons why “That’s $foo” (where $foo is an author) is insulting no matter who $foo is, because the one thing worse than being told your writing sucks is being told that you’ve stolen it from someone else.

Given a choice of one thing to put on an “Occupation” form, I tend towards “Writer” – unless they want to know what I’m being paid for – simply because it’s a description of what I am as apposed to what I do. I write things. My life is scripted, sometimes as much as three seconds ahead. What I do have is an inferiority complex the size of Belgium. It’s taken me ten years to come to the conclusion that some people might enjoy stuff I write, it doesn’t take much to knock me back again, so I’m not going to open myself up to it again. Once upon a time, I begged the world for feedback. I hereby retract that statement, and instead clarify it as “constructive feedback”, as in “Will help build it”.

Where was I? Ah, Bath.

So I left work two hours early, spent an hour and a half waiting for the bus, and got home in time to miss the train I wanted to get. Got the next one, went to Bath, and met LoneCat and the out-laws at the station. Went to B&B, slept, and went on the freezing morrow to watch my girlfriend get her Masters. (Now, if I wasn’t employed right now, this fact alone would send the inferiority thing back to the state it was last summer, and I *lost* last summer to all intents and purposes, but I digress.) Sat though ceremony. Ceremony boiled down: “Blah blah, Bath Uni is great, blah blah