Les Semaines


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


Enter Sophia

This is a week that was split into two dramatically different, though both pleasant halves. The first was a visit with a friend, Craig, who was part of my Clarion West writers class back in the summer of 1996. This was our first chance to visit since the class (though we'd been at the same conference once before). It was great to have him staying with us, if only for three days. It was pretty low-key and busy, and it was at the end of a longer trip for him, but it was great to feel connected again. To relax together and take friendship for granted. I'm sure he doesn't read this so I could say all kind of nasty things about him if I could think of any.

I dropped him off at the airport for his flight at 2:30 on Wednesday (well, I waited with him almost until his flight arrived) then I headed home to kitten-proof my study and wait until Jim arrived, then we drove up to a vet in the north part of town and brought back a very frightened just-spayed kitten.

In the space of four days she has gone from been utterly terrified and hiding from us to right now sleeping on the pillow on the bed behind me and not running away when I slowly come toward her to pet her. Already by the second day she was willing to play when I was sitting in the room, so I knew that she was doing well, and clearly had had more human contact than just the woman who rescued her and cured her of ringworm. She has had a bad time and we've had to earn her trust, but overall she has given it willingly and quickly. Given that she was a rescued cat and how frightened she was when she met us I was worried that this would take a long time. Of course, we've gone through many icky tins of Fancy Feast chicken hearts and liver--probably more than was good for her digestion, so we're easing up now. She also really like tuna.

She has fascinating markings. She's officially tortoiseshell and white, but she looks almost as though she's put together from different cats. She has a tabby face with a white snout but the right side is gray tabby and the right is marmalade. Her front legs are gray tabby with white feet. Her back and side are a mix of splotches of orange, black, and tan and spots and stripes. She has a white chest and tummy, and white from mid-thigh down on the legs. Her tail starts dark like a dark tabby back stripe but ends with two alternating white and marmalade stripes at the tip. It's quite a lovely lively look overall. I've taken some photographs and hope to have them developed and one ot two scanned by next week.

Her name was Sasha with her rescuer, and while I liked it I wasn't stuck on it. I toyed with Cassie (short for Cassiopeia) and Callie (short for Calliope, the muse) and with letting her just stay Sasha, but Friday Sophia came to mind and it seems to have stuck.

Zach is not thrilled with this development, of course. The first day he hissed at the door a couple of times, but mostly he's been ignoring her. She's in my study with the door closed all the time and that's okay with him right now. Things will probably change when she's ready to explore the rest of the house, but we've reached a workable climate for this stage at least.

She truly is a delightful distraction for me. I still miss Maddy, of course, but spending time with a playful kitten is fun.

In other news, I finished this round with the galleys for Blood Memory and mailed our taxes in time. A busy, satisfying week.

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


New discs! Some folk/rock by Dudley, whose interesting folk/rock I discovered on mp3.com and finally broke down to buy the discs, but even more excitingly, new Laika and new Broadcast, two British electronic bands whose earlier work I have loved. Both do creative things with electronics and traditional instruments and have wonderful vocalists. Heaven!

last week's listening § next week's listening


Only read one book this week: Freda Warrington's The Amber Citadel, the first volume of an epic fantasy series. The author is a friend of a friend, and I've met her twice, embarrassing myself by thinking she was a beginning writer--she had a novel coming out, and I assumed it might be her first the first time I met her. I was rather surprised to discover it was her 13th. The Amber Citadel is probably her 14th or 15th, and the experience shows in assurance but the book certainly has the freshness of a young novelist. The premise is the same as that of many other epic fantasies: an evil force disturbing the tranquillity of our young heroes who live far out in the bucolic countryside. But there are several twists to this--first off, it is the beloved king who is disturbing people's lives by suddenly conscripting workers to build a tower. Certainly there are evil outside forces, but there is more to this story than that. The characters are fresh and interesting, their journey, while it touches on many epic tropes also has unusual twists and turns and feels magical but believable. I recommend this to anyone who likes epic fantasy. It even has an ending in this volume, though leads onto the next well, too. Sadly, it's only available in the U.K. but I just ordered volume 2.

last week's reading § next week's reading


I am slowly beginning to work on Gypsy Davey again. Hurrah! Carrying on from when I left off, edging my way closer to the end, I hope. I have been on Chapter 15 forever, but at least it's getting to be a longer chapter, and a lot has been going on.

I also finished my editing round of the galleys for Blood Memory. There were some dramatic changes--cutting six poems and moving many more around and some minor text edits--so I'm not sure I'm done yet. I sent them to the editor and I'm waiting for the dust to settle.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

November 1976

631. So long ago the garden [1]

It seems so long ago i was there. (The garden--His love.) I left it oh so long ago, and now i'm oh so far away the garden. I hope you understand how i've gotta get back home, back where i belong, home is so long ago. It's so hard to surrender, hard to give up something so cancerous, so much a part of myself. So ugly but so grown inside. It's malignant; been cut out several times but keeps growing back... i'm running oh so far away the garden.

632. Baroquen Spirits

[Several scattered quotes from Larry Norman's song by this name omitted.] i hurt so much and don't want to care.

633. Hey

Hey you, falling with me...
[Quote from Nilsson's song "Down to the Bottom" from The Point omitted.] Lifeline, take it with me?
What's left; less than nothing.
Soon not even darkness would be left.
What a mess my world is in, i wonder who began it (problem is, i know.) Oh Mrs. Sadness how i've cried for you. [Scattered quotes from various artists omitted.]

634. Looking for help

I'm looking for help everywhere but in the place from where i'm most likely to get it. I don't want to commit myself to His help, but i don't want this pain to last. Separation, what a sorrow. Choice between two separations, i know which one i should choose, but i don't want to. I don't want that separation but i can't stand this one. I want a compromise. (Please give me a compromise!)

635. Love

[Quote from Larry Norman's "So Long Ago the Garden" about love being a corpse omitted.] We left love so far back in that long ago beginning. The garden is all about beginnings, let's go back. We can get back to the garden (in a way) if we go about it in His name. I want to try but the other half of the separation doesn't want to does by himself.

636. Tried to talk

I've done a lot of trying to talk, but it never seems to work. I'm running, avoiding the crunch. I should just forget it. No hope. Give in and forget that separation. It was okay until a short while ago (such a short while ago!) [Quote from Leonard Cohen about love being dust omitted.] And i wish i knew where to stop to get the outcome i desire. If only he desired! Dream on!

637. Sure would be nice

[Quote from a pop song about trying to give up on an old love omitted.] The problem is that i can't do that. I know i must, but i can't bring myself to do it.

638. Lions 2, Christians 0

Those stupid lions have got me again. They're so hard to avoid when walking in lions' dens--i don't understand it! [Another Christian rock quote omitted.]

639. The dreams

The dreams are beginning to take me over again. They steal my mind first, then work their way down to my soul... I become dream, and the i of me is far away and lost, wandering in one of the dreams. In this state i am over vulnerable to anything, thinking it's part of the dream. Why does it always come down to Paul?

640. Have or not have

Oh those dreams! They're tearing pouring a fluid that burns on the open flesh--then they sooth, and lull me into sleep... i never know what they're up to (except the destruction of something inside). No respect left, at the point where nothing matters, least of all myself. Running hiding where the day can't find me, blinder than the blind man's eyes... in more pain than the child, more death than the lion.


1. Larry Norman, a Christian rock singer I quoted many times in The Phonosnout, has an album and song with this title.

last week's Phonosnout § next week's Phonosnout

Last Week § Les Semaines index § Next Week

Email comments, questions, and complaints to neile@sff.net § Neile's main page

3209 people have wandered through this week with me