Les Semaines


what I'm thinking and doing § what I'm listening to § what I'm reading
what I'm writing § retrospective: The Phonosnout


In a foul mood

Friday I woke up in a bad mood, and it didn't get any better until I finally went back to bed and took a nap and started again. That getting-out-of-the-wrong-side-of-the-bed thing is true. Once I'd started again I felt fine, if a little dull from the nap. Too bad I couldn't do that when I first got up instead of waiting until late afternoon.

It started because Maddy was fussing for breakfast, doing her tap my face, tap my face thing. I refused to get up until my alarm went off, which meant that I'd get snatches of sleep before she crawled up and started doing it again--purring all the time, mind you--and I'd lift her off onto the floor until she crawled up again. It didn't help that I'd been up late the night before (procrastinator that I am) finishing off a grant application.

So I got up and peed and fed the cats, then Jim, who was taking the day off and so could sleep in, kept daring to talk to me. Why couldn't he just be quiet and sleep, darn it? I warned him I needed to be left alone (good thing Jim is usually gone before I get up in the morning or I'd spend nearly every morning warning him just to leave me alone and then yelling at him). He offered to make me coffee. Damned if I'd let him do that on his rare chance to sleep in. Would I have been up making such an offer if I had the chance to sleep in? Hell, no. I'd sleep right through it. Especially as I've never learned how to run our espresso machine, and don't intend to. I don't even like coffee, but I drink the mochas Jim makes me and occasionally buy one.

I've been touchy like this in the mornings since I was a child. I've never been a morning person, and love starting to work on things at 10:00 at night (heh, it's 9:50 as I type this), getting to bed much later than I should given that I get up at 6:10 three times a week. Jim gets up about 5:30 or so, and is out of the house about 6:05. Anyway, he's usually safely away before I drag myself upstairs.

When I was a child, about five (or earlier, it was in a house we moved from when I was six), I remember waking up, going into kitchen where my mom was and saying "I'm not talking to you today, Mom." I'm guessing she must have woken me up (a dangerous thing for anyone to try at any time) or committed some other similar sin. Luckily, she mostly thought I was amusing and she didn't drown me then as she probably should have. Would have saved Jim a lot of grief.

Nearly every morning when I wake up the world hurts. I wonder if I can possibly manage to continue. To get dressed. To go to work. I'm sure I can't. If I manage to keep going I suddenly realize it doesn't hurt anymore and carry on. Some days I even remember that I will shortly feel better if I just keep moving, that this happens every morning and I do feel better. Most days. Some days I just have to drink coffee and take ibuprofen and hope the day ends soon.

So Friday I did all that, except for the coffee. I took three of those little caffeinated peppermints instead and drank black tea. I can't remember if I took any ibuprofen or not. I got through work. I remember complaining to a co-worker that I was in a foul mood, but I don't think I actually griped at anyone, just complained that I was in a griping mood.

It didn't go away. I had to take my car in to have the oil changed. They were supposed to fix my back brakes but were short-handed and so they said it would be okay to wait until my next oil change. Whatever. So I go and pick up the car and it's making weird moaning noises. I take it back. Apparently they shifted the bearings--or something--when they took a look at the brakes and it's just going to make this noise unless I have them repair the bearings. I drove it home but I can't live with the noise so I'm going to have to make another appointment. Sigh.

So then I go and photocopy my grant and part of Jim's grant (we're competing for the same money again) and doublecheck all the instructions, and break a nail to the quick (it's not like I have long lovely nails and worry about breaking them; I'm just not fond of pain) and have a machine act up on me, and get the darn things together and pop them in the mailbox. My envelope won't seal but it has a clasp so I just wish it well and shove it in the mail slot. I go home. There's a cold hamburger waiting for me that Jim has picked up. Our gardening friend, Chuck, A Gardener, is there eating a gardenburger and is helping Jim put together two arches and plant roses to climb up them. They finish their work and it starts pouring and they get caught out in it and get soaked before they come back in. They sit and chat. I try to be pleasant. I'm in such a horrible mood that I finally decide to go awat so I don't behave unforgiveably to them. I go downstairs to read and crawl into bed and drift off right away. I don't hear them leave or anything. Wake up and it's dark but it's not that horrible, nasty morning dark. It's evening dark. It's too late to go out to hear a friend play at a local book and music store, but it's not too late to enjoy a little bit of the day, and so I do. We order in Chinese food. We waste several hours watching dumb TV. I have a cat on my lap. Life is fine.

last week's thinking and doing § next week's thinking and doing


I've been listening to more MP3s again. I am totally in love with a band named Aisth that is on mp3.com--the bad news is that they haven't released anything yet, not even one of mp3.com's DAMs. Darn. I especially love their song, "Box" and listen to it at least once a day. I'd love to hear more from this band. It's electronica, trip hop, ectronica, whatever you call it, and the vocals are great and the songs, especially "Box" stick in my head.

I also got a disc by a group I first heard on mp3.com, First of June. The disc is a CD_R they released themselves, called Creepy Crawly Things. The sound is rather Tori-esque, sounding mostly like "Little Amsterdam" from the Boys for Pele era. I find it compelling listening. The singer's voice is sort of muffled (she's got a slightly smoky voice anyway), and unfortunately the sound quality generally isn't too great (don't know if that's because of the CD-R or because it won't play on my boombox and I've mostly been listening to it on my computer speakers). I like the quality of the songwriting a lot and how they put their sound together.

In other news, I finally completed my comments on my 1999 music listening. You can find it here. Warning: it's looooong.

last week's listening § next week's listening


I've never read any Russell Banks before though his work has been recommended many times in various places. A friend bought us this copy of Rule of the Bone several years ago, and I'd never picked it up before, but started it and was quickly drawn in by the strength of the main character's voice. This is the story of an adolescent learning how to make his way in the world. He's been pretty much pushed out of his home by his dislike of his stepfather and his own rather amoral behaviour and love of smoking dope (and having to get the money for that). He becomes a small-time dope dealer for the bikers who stay in a friends' apartment, and start living there himself, where he proves he does have a moral sense--it's just not the one the dominant society thinks it has, but is one shaped by his difficult upbringing. His adventures continue from there as events kick him in the pants and he moves on. An intriguing read, with a faint touch of the fantastic.

Neil Gaiman's (illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano) latest Sandman book is an lovely thing: both the illustrations and the story, which I have to re-read sometime when I'm not so distracted. It's the story of a fox in love with a monk... sorta. Of course the Lord of Dreams gets involved. Perhaps not as magical as Stardust but that is probably just my taste. It was harder to connect with the characters here--more like the Sandman comics than an illustrated novel, as is to be expected.

Sophie Masson's Cold Iron was a disappointment. The idea was charming--a retelling of the Tattercoats fairy tale (kind of a mix of Cinderella and Donkeyskin) set in Elizabethan England and mixed up with Oberon and Titania. The problem here for me is that the story is well-told enough but it was told. There was never a sense of life in the characters--even the viewpoint character--for me. I really wanted to like this as this is right up my alley, but it just didn't come alive for me.

last week's reading § next week's reading


Finished a grant the night before its deadline, which meant that I had time to photocopy it and get it in the mail. I hate how these things not only absorb a lot of time (especially all that I do to avoid doing them!), but drain me. Blegh. If getting grant money didn't mean that it buys me blessed, focused, non-job-time writing time, I wouldn't expend the time or angst. But I love that time, and I love being able to spend it without financial anxieties. And of course now I have another deadline starting me in the face. This one at least is an update of a previous application, so I'm not starting from scratch.

In other news, I found out that an essay of mine is getting published by receiving a copy of a catalogue with information about the forthcoming book. I mean, I'd heard it was in the works, but haven't heard a concrete word, nor seen a contract. Actually, the catalogue came with a cover letter telling me I was a writer from this press, which was something I didn't know, until I found this book. Sheesh.

I wrote the editor a snippy email about it, only to discover that she's not handling the contracts--the press editor is. Feels unusual to me, but so it goes. I guess she didn't edit my piece at all. How odd. Never asked for an electronic version, nothing. Well, they've got three more months until the date listed for its appearance in the catalogue.

I also just uploaded an essay, "The Making of Poetry: Form and Free Verse". This was originally commissioned to be the debut column of a new writing site, but the site never came into being, so I decided that rather than trying to place it elsewhere, I'd just make it available here.

Oh, and The Alsop Review just added six of my poems to my section there.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

October 1976

561. Me? Why?

Me? Why do i bother? I don't care what happens to me, i'm ready to blimp. Just sit, do nothing. let the whole world pass by. It's so hard to get the energy to do something, anything. I could just sit and while away the hours thinking of what i haven't done.

562. He cut me loose

As Anne Herring wrote, "He cut me loose"[1]. So now i'm free. Being typical, the first thing i want and the last thing i take is freedom. I don't know how to handle it. I don't know how to avoid bondage. [Further quote from the Anne Herring song omitted.]

563. Don't comprehend

I don't understand why things carry on the way they do. How can they? How can things just continue after all changes? Don't they have to change with the changes? How do they survive remaining the same? Maybe i'm just trying to bluff my way through too well.

564. I notice things

Sometimes i notice things i shouldn't. I should forget things, too. I wish i could control my memory, and get rid of all the pain. Memories of things past compared with the future can really hurt. I also have to learn when to keep my mouth shut. I tell too many people too many things. Save so little inside me--share too many personal pieces should stay quiet and inside.

565. Will i ever

Will i ever learn, be where i want to be? Will i ever be undepressed again? Will i ever be able to be free from the things which plague me now? It shouldn't be this way. It keeps touching me, but i cannot give up. I cannot turn it over into His hands. (How can i fight Him?--"I'd crucify anyone who tried to save me"[2].

566. Just

Just a short chapter to say that i'm two people now. One to be depressed and write sad things and Phono, and one to lean back, analyse, and look at the growth.

567. Something tells me

Something tells me it's all happening, i can tell it's real. Whuffo? Lemme out! Can't... just can't. Don't wanna anyway. I understand, i just can't find enough time or rhyme to care. This week is full and i'm available for consultation, but time is so short i can barely breathe. [Quote from Jethro Tull, hinted at in the previous sentence, omitted.] The words come flowing through my brain especially. I don't want to listen anymore.

568. On my way back home/Just visiting

[Quote from Larry Norman about just visiting the world omitted.] How many times have i quoted from that song? Almost uncountable. But--i'm on my way back home (gonna fly) on my way back home again. Getting there, growing there, on the Right Road again. Beginning to travel, and can hardly wait to fly.

569. Plato

Plato's Theory of Forms. Anything which is common to a set of particulars. Howdy! Passing through Plato on my way to where. What about the True Nature of being a table? A little less to worry about, i'm afraid. [Various quotes from Christian songs and then from Jethro Tull omitted.]

570. Jerry's Discourse

Nancy Graham wear religious trinkets[3] and giggles all through Philosophy class. Her character sketch looks like a bowl of pancake batter. When she comes to a knowledge of the good, capital "G", she will have blueberries added, be dumped in a skillet, and turned into John Boy's breakfast. God help everyone involved. She will then reach the highest Philosophical plane by partaking of John Boy's heavenly essence and his everlasting and all-encompassing knowledge. Unfortunately, she will, like John Boy, be shortsighted. Only God has 20-20 vision. This is what may be called, in a sense, the Stoical version of her destiny. It is Nirvana on earth for Nancy Graham, and will eventually happen to her anyway.

571. Filling in

Just filling in space because Jerry wasn't sure he was finished, but now he is (Sure he's finished.) I'm not too sure of how to do this (fill in space, i mean.)
     Jerry just got mad at me (sorta) 'cause i decided to spell his name with a "G".
     What else can i say?
     Justice in the state!
     Justice in the soul!
       (culmination of philosophy)
     what was the specific method (young people shouldn't study philosophy)
     Jerry's got the giggles.
       (can you blame him?)
     dialectic, dialogue
     knowing (thinking) if you ask a question you're a guinea pig for the guy in the last row.
     Philosophy 100 Y02, revised edition.
       Only God has 20-20 vision.


1. She's talking about Christ. I'm talking about?

2. Quote from Leonard Cohen.

3. Paul have bought me an IXOYE bracelet and I'd always worn a cross my grandmother bought me as a young teen. In fact, I wore it until after my first book came out and Jim pointed out that I was wearing the cross on the picture on the back cover.

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