Les Semaines


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



We're both pack rats, and a weird mix of organized and utterly disorganized. This struck home particularly strongly for me when we visited our neighbour's house this afternoon. Her house is very much like ours--lots of minor differences but the layout is the same and it was obviously made by the same builder at the same time. However, her house is spare and stylish, while our house is full of things.

And we keep acquiring more things. I've been bad recently with some online book and music orders from the U.K. and Canada, and of course the U.S. and buying toys for the kitten (we always used to make them, but she has so much fun with toys that I can't resist getting her more and I shudder to think how many furry mice are buried already under our furniture). How can I want more books when I already have thousands and borrow them by the stack from the public library? How can I want more cds when we already have more than 1,400? It seems ridiculous, and yet want them I do.

I'm generally not so interested in Bright New Things or gadgets. I do have a recent computer, and as of this weekend now Jim does, too (does anyone want to buy his old Mac PowerPC 7200? We just got a great deal on a used G3 from a friend) but our furniture is elderly (sometimes generations old) and rather battered but the big thing is the little things. The discs. The books. The magazines. The videotapes (not that we have that many but they seem to hang out all over). The cassettes. The envelopes. The papers. Paper scraps and post-its. The newspapers. The things we've torn out of the newspapers. Stuff stacked up to be filed. Stuff stacked up to be sorted through. Weird knickknacks that come from our families and that we've accumulated over the years and being given by travelling friends. And furry mice and catnip toys scattered all through that. Dusting is a nightmare, so I don't do it so very often.

But hey, at least our checkbook balances, even if it is constantly depleted.

But all these things. Sometimes they weigh me down. I know I don't take care of them the way I should, but then again I don't want to be owned by them. Still, I really ought to clean my car or get it cleaned. Scrub the new stove. Get a better vacuum and get the cat hair out of the carpets we got in Turkey last summer (and the old Persian rug that was my grandmother's). and touch up the paint in a bunch of rooms and paint the kitchen and Jim's study and and and and....

Things--they weigh me down. I could get rid of some of them but I'd miss 'em. It's amazing the things that haunt me because I sold them or gave them away--books I used to have, music I used to have. Well, most of those things I've replaced.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm a packrat because I worry I'll run out of things to do, books to read, music to listen to. Given our culture it doesn't seem very likely, but I've apparently bought into consuming enough to want to keep consuming these particular things. I'm grateful I don't collect something more expensive like cars or wine, or something harder to store like athletic equipment. I have enough trouble with the Nordic Trak that lives in our bedroom.

Ah well. Things. Too many of them. I might feel better if they weren't strewn all over the house.

And Sophia is going amazingly well. When Chuck came over on Friday to work with Jim in the garden as he often does she played and played and played. Another friend came over later that day to borrow something and wanted to see her but she was a little over-stimulated I think and was shyer but she's definitely warning up to us, even asking for attention now, and has taken over the house. She still spends nights in the study alone, and is cooped up in there when we're not home. Zach is mostly coping though a little unhappy. And she has definitely wormed her way into our hearts.

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


I have been obsessing with Josette's Eye's Alibi Clock, which is a kind of indierock fusion of Sleater-Kinney and Tori Amos. Intriguing enough to really catch my interest.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Nalo Hopkinson's Robber Queen is even better than her impressive debut novel, Brown Girl in the Ring. It's about a young girl whose father takes her to a world of exiles, where she has to learn to make her way. It's inventive and creates a whole world (two whole worlds) which she brings vividly to life as she does her main character and the people who surround her. It took me a few pages to get my mind around the dialect she writes in, but after about a while I didn't even notice it, and it reads beautifully--I would love to hear a live reading from this book. And the story, well, the story doesn't disappoint either. I highly recommend this one. It's a fascinating story and rings true.

Midnight Magic is the first of Avi's dozens of children's books I've read and I don't think I'll be pursuing more of them--not that this was bad but it wasn't anything above a good read. Hmm. Now I'm sounding demanding, but I read children's books for a kind of magic that many of them have, and while this was enjoyable, it just didn't have that magic spark for me. It's about a magician's servant. The magician has been condemned to death for practicing magic, but now the king's daughter has seen a ghost and the king needs the magician's help. Political intrigue follows... I guess part of my lack of enthusiasm for this book is its ultimate rationality. It never seemed to take off as it seemed about to.

last week's reading § next week's reading


Sentence by sentence.

Good news, though, that my editor likes the final changes I made to Blood Memory and the cover art is on its way to him. Everything is falling into place.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

December 1976 - January 1977

654. Somehow... falling

Where am i? I'm in this room but somehow... falling. (Into the abyss.) Could you catch me? Is it too late for a Lifeline? [Quote about lifelines from Nilsson's The Point omitted.] Playing a game without the rules, it's harder in the dark (where sorrow plays its own sad game, it loses the tune and the words of its song.)

654. A few questions

Why does it always come down to me alone? Why do all the roads lead back to you? When the game catches me up and takes me away i always come down to meet sorrow. Why always? Is that part of the basics? I don't understand I don't think i want to. I don't want to think.

655. Somehow apart

Somehow i am kept apart from the crow (it bugs me). Not that i want to be a part of the crowd, i just don't want to be apart. It's part of that peculiar people, but i'm too peculiar to even fit in with them these days. What is there left? (Must be something.)

656. Maybe

Maybe i'll start (continue) living in this shadow world between here and there. It's nowhere and everywhere, and part of the anywhere. At least it's somewhere. It's part of all roads. All roads are a part of it. When nothing is left, that's where i go. Shadow worlds! Not light. Not dark. The height of indecision. The indecision of height.

657. Been some time

Been some time now, a lot of time, and i've been on holiday, on vacation. Relaxing, lazy time, but now it's back to the grind. I'm going to have to get my butt in gear (i got a D on my French exam [1]). Poor me. I hate this life, i can hardly wait for the next. [Quote from Larry Norman about the end of the world omitted.]

658. Depression

Depression is growing, i'm starting to come down from the fabulous weekend at Pachena Bay [2]. I never wanted to. Maybe i should go and hide there. But what good does hiding do? What good does depression do? I think i'll forget it because joy does help. With joy i can make it. And i'm going to make it!!! Depression is growing.

659. The hidden level

I'm at the hidden level when i am much like you once were º hints of your present everywhere º knowledge of his, pulling, pulling º c'mon you childhood heroes º rise up from the pages º must find the doorway º mist rolling away in this where º atone and never alone but mist voices º follow º i may find it without you º but the part of you in me protests º must wait º you only with him º joy º hidden levels of joy.

660. A bit of praise

A bit of praise and suddenly everything is all right and worthwhile again. Praise about a poem and the story starts to grow, maybe things will be okay. Maybe it will grow. Thanks. Words flow.

661. Keep me running

[Quote from a Christian rock song (by Michael Omartian? Randy Stonehill?) omitted.] Keep me running. On the go, travelling. Only restlessness will share my journey. Symbolic of my yearning to use that song here. Working. Keep me running, love that. Running is all.

662. Meaningless

The works mean nothing, i just like the way they sound. Sometimes i enjoy the pleasant, sometimes the unpleasant. Just ll placing words on paper. More lines filled with ink scrawls. Love it. Another Phono pages filled. Meaningless, but somehow pleasant and unpleasant. Dancing.

663. Keep the words running






1. I ended up by dropping French. The instructor suffered from migraines and a disinclination to teach first-year French.

2. A group of us from The Mustard Seed went there for a retreat.

3. Yes, this was intentional.

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