Les Semaines


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


Long Weekend

Another long hectic work week between a student meeting, our final meeting of the Dean Search Committee and our college's Recognition Day, and at last I'm living the long weekend life, going to Seattle's Folklife festival a few times, and going out to dinner with friends and another friend visiting from Vancouver, and tonight I'm going to hear more music and then read some of my poems with the Persephone's Circle group. Fun to match up my love of music with poetry.

I'm ready for some down time after what seems like a stressful forever. A busy forever. A tiring forever.

I feel ready to hole up with Jim and the cats and my novel and just dig ourselves into isolation so we can all concentrate on each other and nothing else. On the garden. On not driving the car so much. On working on what matters. On not being so sleepy tired and so physically tired all the time. On building up deep sources of energy like the kitten seems to have.

Added Monday:

So late yesterday afternoon in sudden heavy rain I walked to the bus and caught it in good time (a happy event) and went to Seattle Center to the Folklife festival. Ran into a couple of friends right away, though not the ones I had arranged to meet up with, and only later caught up with the friends I had expected to.

Sat through an interesting but slightly sweet singer-songwriter, then Susan Court performed again. Sadly, she started a little late so it felt as though her set had been cut short, because she and the band were doing one of the best performances of hers I've been to, and the acoustics were pretty good (generally I've heard her in fairly noisy places), so I was disappointed when it ended so soon. She gets stronger as a performer each time I hear her, and she now has a cellist and a percussionist with her, and the interplay of the three is getting good, too. I heard them Saturday for a longer set, which was fun but outside and there were a lot more distractions.

Afterward I wandered with Annemarie in a way that would have been aimless had we not gone to QFC and bought bottled water. We did listen a bit to a lively Celtic band and watch the crowd, too. Then we collected Damon and his friend and in another sudden heavy downpour caught a special shuttle downtown to the Pike Place Market and the Alibi Room's downstairs performance space where I met up with Willow. I read four poems after Rebecca Pearcy's set and before Tiger Zane. It was fun, though a little difficult as the room is quite dark and I had to hold the book and manuscript I was reading from up high to catch the bit of light behind me so I could see to read. I just read four poems, "Late Night Talking" and "Washing at Sunset" from Spells for Clear Vision and "Furious," and "Anything You Say" from Blood Memory. It's strange how I get when performing poems I've done so many times before--it's as though I've partially memorized them, just enough to get carried forward into a strange zone where (especially in the dark) I have trouble to remind myself to keep reading ahead. I wish I had the kind of memory that would allow me to memorize the poems. Still, once I got the hang of that particular mike, I had fun.

I really did love being part of a musical performance. I hope to have the opportunity to do it again some time.

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


Made many copies of a homemade cd of an altpunk band by some people I know (know disbanded) called The Gardenias. It was fun to hear them again, and more clearly than I ever heard them in the loudspeakered buzz and noisy drinking establishment places I'd heard them in live. They were pretty damn good.

Other than that it has been a week to listen to dozens of things. Jim played DJ one night playing dozens of old favourite songs one after the other and last night we had a friend over who had never seen our music collection and so I was playing song after song for him to hear a smattering of artists he'd never heard before. That is fun, since you always choose your favourites of those, or at least a favourite since sometimes it's so hard to choose.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Debra Doyle and James D. MacDonald's young adult fantasy, Knight's Wyrd is the story of a young man--just become a knight--who finds himself drawn into odd political and magical events as he begins his new life. A sage tells him his destiny, that he shall meet death before a year has passed and shall never have the title he should inherit from his father, so he decides to go north to meet and release the woman he has been betrothed to from her family's promise. Along the way he meets with adventures and after he meets her she disappears... This is a complex story full of action but also full of portent.

Jonathan Lethem's As She Climbed Across The Table has a totally different tone--wry and humourous in a slightly askew world. The physics faculty has created a hole in the universe and become engaged in trying to figure out what it is. It swallows some things and not others, and the main character's girlfriend, one of the physicists, becomes obsessed with Lack, what they call the void. The main character, desperate to get her back, gets involved himself with Lack.

last week's reading § next week's reading


Didn't finish a draft of the poem mentioned last week in time for the workshop but finished the first draft of another that had been waiting in my mind to be tapped onto paper. This one is about Machrie Moor on the island of Arran off the west coast of Scotland, which I have twice been to. It's caught between being a journal entry and a lyric, and the workshop group was helpful in showing me where it worked and where it failed. As always, more drafts to come to get it closer to right.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

February 1977

696. Unfortunately not

Dorm-ir and fin-ir are not conjugated the same. Isn't it a pity? Oh, isn't it a shame? [1] I'll probably forget, and play child with my verbs. French is too big for me; i need more time to sort out all the rules i get every day. I don't want to quit, but it looks more and more like my only option. Woe.

697. No knowledge of French

I have no knowledge of French. When i read it, i can understand it, but translating from French to English, Je me flunks, tu te flunks.... Not too fun. I want to know! If i only knew what help to ask for. Just magic--or no work in my other classes. Dream on!

698. Evil

Rankin on the existence of evil Actually, Rankin on Descartes on the existence of evil. Now it is Phono on Rankin on Descartes on the existence of evil. Evil exists, evil abides, much like rock. living a death, living a death through the living. Caught that?

699. Free from French

In a while i'll be free from French: no more translations, no more Maigret (now i'll never know what happens!) Anyway, now maybe i'll have a little more freedom to pass creative writing and everything else. Maybe. [2]

[3] 701. A horse!

"A horse! A Horse! My kingdom for a horse! Where have i heard that before? Perhaps last night at the PLay (Richard III. Good ole Shakespeare with many scene changes. Hah!

702. Bad lack of poetry

I've got a bad lack of poetry these days, in fact, you might say i am rather uncreative. And badly so. Where are the hundreds of poems i used to churn out? What has happened to my imperfections that i must leave them to be revealed some other way? Only Phono exists, not poetry. [4]

703. Might have noticed

You might have noticed that i missed out chapter 700. In fact it doesn't even exist. Not intentional; just one of those things. Anyway, chapter 700 would have said 100 chapters from the beginning of November to the beginning of February. Life is tough! (ha ha chapter 700! You exist only within the limits of 703!!)

704. Circle in a square

In every square there is a circle. Because--the sum of the interior angles (each 90°) is the 360° the same as a circle. Cosmic! Organic! What a geometrical thrill! Much like the winged horse that got lost in philosophy (as do we all).

705. Psychological difference

Approach and avoidance. Psychology is mostly boring, mostly silly theories that crumble at a touch. Crazy ideas that don't follow. Psychologists have the same idea as philosophers--they all want to find a general rule that will define it all. That is a hope and is far away while they keep looking at the wrong place. Looking within the much and not at what's underneath. Purity in the central creation, the beginning.

706. As we plod

As we plod through creative writing, i wonder if any of us can write after all. (Except Harold, Harold's our star [5]). What's the use of trying without inspiration? [6] But inspiration doesn't come every day and that's what we're trying for. I wish something would happen and my poetry would be resurrected. Oh joy!


1. Quoting George Harrison's song "Isn't it a pity?"

2. We had until February to drop year-long courses. Hard to abandon that much time put in, but I did it, and was glad that I did. That professor should never have been teaching first-year French.

3. Don't know why, but 700 is omitted entirely. See #703.

4. I think I was still only beginning to realize that diary entries and lineated Phono-type stuff wasn't poetry.

5. Heh. Harold is still a friend. See his website. My first publication was a chapbook that was a joint project with Harold.

6. You can see I had a lot to learn.

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