Les Semaines


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


A Trifle Short and a Trifle Lazy

First off, I should say that this title doesn't fit anymore, but I still like it so I'm not changing it. That's the lazy part.

A friend is staying with us right now (since my study is also the guest room this complicates my life somewhat and my writing life in particular). He's out right now, so I'm trying to finish this quickly. Sorry for not getting it onsite yesterday, but I wasn't done with it when I picked him up from the airport Sunday afternoon, and I never had a chance to get back and wrap this entry up.

So what an odd and difficult and busy week this has been. More overtime (well, over my usual part-time hours--not what most people consider overtime) work getting mailings out for my boss who is organizing a conference (I have been doing this since Maddy got sick three weeks ago). I still haven't finished our taxes, I have the galleys for my book to correct and some edits to make, I have a book to design for the Living Archives of the Feminist Caucus for The League of Canadian Poets, and all the usual miscellaneous work for The Ectophiles' Guide, my own writing, and several non-essential projects just waiting to be done.

I was so stressed about trying to do everything I took Friday off and at least got my Canadian taxes done, which I need to do before I can do our joint U.S. taxes. I hate this season, because I have to do the Canadian ones first while the Canadian deadline isn't until the end of April and so the information comes late, right when grant deadline season begins. So I always have this stress of getting very close to the U.S. tax deadline before I get ours done. Luckily everything this year is pretty much like last year, or I'd truly be going crazy.

It feels like so much has changed in the last month. I can't believe that only a month ago I didn't even know that Maddy was particularly sick. Besides missing her and her strong personality and routines and habits, I miss having a cat of my own. Over the last two weeks it has become more and more clear to me that Zach is Jim's cat. He likes me a lot--likes sitting on my laps and the treats I offer and all, but he only loves Jim. That has been even more lonely for me than missing Maddy has been. And so I became utterly obsessed with finding a kitten. Only it isn't kitten season yet. Many have been born but only a few are old enough yet to leave their mothers. I've haunted the web for shelter sites, phoned all the shelters every couple of days, bothered all my friends, phoned the people I know who rescue cats, but no one had any kittens, or if they did have kittens, they were still too young by several weeks for adoption, or were already spoken for.

Finally I phoned a woman who rescues cats that a friend's daughter had adopted a cat from. At first she said she didn't have any kittens. She normally doesn't adopt out of her own house, anyway, but rescues about 200 cats a year and places them in no-kill shelters. Anyway, she kept asking me questions about why I was looking for a kitten (Jim's scribbled me a note saying she was interviewing me) then said she had a female kitten about five months old that she had just finished nursing through a bad bout with ringworm (very brave and kind and dedicated of her, as the people she rescues cats with said not to take this kitten on as there are so many others out there and ringworm is so contagious that it could have become a huge problem for the other cats in her house). Anyway, through a dedicated pill/ointment/bath/isolation regime, this kitty is now healthy and was about to go to be spayed then was scheduled to go to Hooterville, a nearby rescue shelter. But did we want to meet her? Well, did I! Jim and I went nearly right away (at first we'd scheduled it for the next day since we shortly had a friend coming over but I called back and we raced over). She was terrified of us and shaking but she sure was cute. I worried a little about whether she'd warm up to us, but she warmed up to the woman who was treating her for the ringworm, so if we treat her nicely I think she might like us. She certainly likes other cats, so that's a positive sign for Zach.

We thought it over (Jim says it didn't require any thought on my part) and said yes we'd like to have her. We pick her up Wednesday after she gets spayed.

I know she's not going to fill the Maddy-shaped hole in my life, but she will fill the cat-shaped hole, and that's as good as it gets.

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


I've been listening over and over to some MP3 files, in particularly Michelle Cross, whose live tracks (hidden on her http://www.michellecross.com site) are wonderful and her recording is pretty good, too, but a little less original-sounding. And Aisth. Between MP3.com and their own website (linked form there) I have four songs which I adore. Trip hop, drums 'n' bass-y, with great vocals. I wish they had more music released.

Jim is still listening a lot to Patti Smith's Gung Ho, which means that by osmosis I am, too. He's also listening to some Captain Beefheart that he borrowed from the library that I don't much like.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Pah! Barbara Erskine's On The Edge of Darkness wasn't worth the time it took to read it. I have rarely bothered to finish such a non-involving superficial novel. One of her earlier novels, Lady of Hay is a guilty pleasure of mine--it's a supernatural/historical/time travel romance. So is this one--about a young Scottish (sure to appeal to me) boy who travels across time by means of a Pictish standing stone and meets the stone sculptor's Druid sister, who becomes obsessed with him and tracks him through space and time. Utterly unalive, unsubtle, distanced-feeling, and disappointing.

In contrast Mary Renault's The Middle Mist (also known as The Kindly Young Ladies) was the exact opposite--like holding a microscope up to her characters' thoughts and emotions, including all the ambiguities, so they became quite alive. This is about a young girl who runs aware from her arguing parents to her sister who had run away years earlier. Her sister lives a Bohemian life on a canal boat with a friend. The tale is about both of the sisters learning a bit more about themselves. Beautifully and clearly written. I still like ...Return to Night.... better (see my comments from last October) but this was definitely worth reading. Like seeing a movie with highly nuanced performances. A particular joy and relief given the rest of the week's reading.

Sophie Masson's The Knight By The Pool is the story of Marie of France, the poet, her (fictional, I think) romance with Richard The Lionhearted, and her entanglements with supernatural powers. While this book has some intriguing ideas, overall execution felt less than engaging. Perhaps this was because we never get more than superficially into the character of Marie de France, and her romance is so superficial that she feels like a bit of a nit, which I'm sure is not the effect the author wanted to give. Anyway, another book I could not particularly recommend to anyone.

last week's reading § next week's reading


I worked on the galleys for an essay that is coming out in May (maybe--that's the deadline at least) and worked on editing and on the galleys for Blood Memory which is supposed to come out at about the same time. Ulp!

No new writings, though I still felt busy at it.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

November 1976

621. Believe it or not

Believe it or not, but i think i feel the hints of a magic morning. It won't come for a while; it has to be worked on a bit, but eventually, maybe.... Though I ache in fatigue, this is a bit of a magic day. Sunny day in November, biggest pains over, largest pains to come, soon. (Christmas exams.) Forget it,. don't look too far forward. Too much thought causes ulcers.

622. The poet's blacklist

Well, really i only said that because i thought it. For no other reason (why else). [Sappy quote about how life doesn't add up to much except God from a Christian pop song deleted] and i'm on my way back home, no more delays, no more sidetracking, no more copping out. These things are now on the poet's blacklist. To be avoided at all costs. Anything that hinders my way home but be overcome. (So shall we work on it?) [Another quote deleted.]

623. Stepping out of boredom

Yesterday my writing prof [1] went into a great dissertation on how bored everyone is. When you think about it, it's true. Even the things we think are interesting are boring when it gets right down to it. I wonder if anything can remain constantly interesting. I can only think of one thing, that if you approach it openly, holding nothing back that could never grow boring. It's a sort of a higher state.

624. Into a higher state

The higher state is that of communication with God. [2] Only that could never be boring because He is infinite. One could never know everything. The more you know the more it shows you how much more there is to know. You could look forever, and not see it all. So whenever i get bored i think i'll slip into that higher state. I need to seek its infinity.

625. Don't we all

Don't we all need to seek that infinity? Yet when i'm as tired as i am now, it's the last thing i think i want. Oh dear, ask for Aslan [3]. I'll have to talk to Aslan about this. [Brief song quote about adding up wonders deleted.] Time to pour a little energy into things.

626. Examinations soon

Only two weeks to go until Christmas exams. I don't believe time has gone by so quickly. Now i'm running a trifle short and a trifle lazy. (A trifle??) I think i'm going to have to learn not to waste time. I'm getting more and more skilled at throwing time away, until now i need all the time i can get. So get your butt in gear (as the saying goes, and so do i...).

627. Freaking out (again)

Well, i'm freaking out again, restless, dying, while my cries burn in my ears. I don't know where to run (well, i know where but i sure am not ready to run there!) Want to find some quiet lonely place to rest and hide in. I want to finish everything i feel i have to do and be caught up for a change. I leave too much behind for lack ot time, and soon i start freaking out (again).

628. Oh Jesus

[Long quote omitted from Larry Norman's Christian rock song about being saved.] I'd swear He set me free, He cut me loose, but i still hang on to that ball and chain for dear death.

629. Answer

[Quote from Crosby Still and Nash about having an answer, followed by a sarcastic quote from Randy Matthew about the world being a downer deleted.] Gonna pack my bags, it's time to fly. [Quote from Randy Matthews' between song patter about being ready to die and go to heaven and tired of the world and wanting to jump in front of a truck and say "take me" deleted.]

630. Take away

I'm playing a game of take away, and i want Him to take it away from me. (Take away my ball and chain, cut me loose, take me away! most of all, heal it! I'm as crippled by the darkness as I could possibly be, and i need healing.) [Quote from Elton John's "Feed Me" about being left alone is despair deleted.]


1. Charles Lillard, who grew to become somewhat of a friend, and came to our wedding reception, but who sadly died a few years back.

2. On typing this in I started wondering who I thought I was preaching to by writing all of this down, and then realized I was preaching to myself, trying to convince myself. Suddenly a lot of this is making more sense.

3. The Christ figure in C.S. Lewis' Narnia Chronicles

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