what I'm thinking and doing § what I'm listening to § what I'm reading
what I'm writing § retrospective: The Phonosnout
I've been thinking all day about what I would write about this week. What sorts of things I've been thinking and doing. Well, mostly I've been working on The Ectophiles' Guide to Good Music because with my recent busyness it has really gotten the short end of the stick.
A couple of times recently people have asked me why I continue working on The Guide since it takes so much and effort, and what are the rewards? Well, nice email from some of the artists reviewed (and nasty email from fans or managers of artists who get unfavourable comments and occasionally from the artists themselves). I got thanked on Emily Bezar's most recent album, which surprised and delighted me, and of course it was due to the early support The Ectophiles' Guide gave her. Hers was one of the first pages there.
It's a lot of work to search through all the ecto messages, get permission to quote from the people who haven't given me blanket permission to quote them, then sort all the messages into files and then add the material to the files that exist and into the raw files of artists we eventually will include. We also now get discs sent in for review--some of which are wildly outside the realms of the ectophiles' main tastes--and I have to type up the bones of the entries for them, find a reviewer, hassle some of the reviewers to actually send me their comments (I have a couple who haven't sent their comments in and they're over a year late--ouch), then paste the entries together.
It used to be that creating the original files took a lot of time. Now that we have over 400 entries it takes more and more time to update the files with new comments, new albums, and new information.
Still, I hang in there. I enjoy having a project that doesn't use up too much of my mind and yet is still creative. And the big truth is that music has given me so much that I like to give a little something back to it, which--since I can't carry a tune or play more than a few notes or chords on any instrument--is this project.
I've also discovered a few artists through discs sent in for review, like Susan James. Pepper Acton McGowan and more recently Hand to Mouth. This is a wonderful reward of doing the work. And it's fun to send an artist a check for a disc, saying that I liked the review copy enough that I had to have one for myself.
Telling artists who are already included in it about The Guide has been fun, too, and has generated some delightful exchanges. That's a nice perk.
So that's why I continue a project that takes many hours, sometimes in one week. Why the Ectophiles' Guide continues to have material added to it (I don't do all the entries, but I do almost up the updates and many of the entries). Despite the fact that if I were A Real Writer all I'd be doing is working on my novel.
last week's thinking and doing § next week's thinking and doing
Besides still loving to listen to Jorane, I've been listening to Sheila Nicholls Brief Strop, which is indeed stroppy kinda angry/wise woman-yelling/yearning at the world. I like her lyrics, too, except when she waxes too didactic (only in a couple of the songs).
last week's listening § next week's listening
Freda Warrington's The Sapphire Throne is even more gripping than the first novel in her The Jewelfire Trilogy, The Amber Citadel (described in my April 16th entry). I can't describe the plot as it is nearly all spoilers for the previous volume, but I'm very impressed and anxiously looking forward to the release of the third in the series, as this is a sequel which builds on everything in the previous volume rather than simply continuing and deepening the story. This does indeed deepen the story but in all directions: the characters, the world, the plot, the magic, the evil, and the good, all are revealed as ever more complex than they appeared, and the story, even though it shifts between various perspectives, is so enthralling that for the first in a long time I found myself emotionally affected by an epic fantasy novel.
Charles de Lint's Forests of the Heart was good, but I'm not sure if I wasn't in the right mood for it or if I am just burned out from reading so many good novels recently, but while I enjoyed it, this one just didn't seem that deep to me, and seemed a little too much like the rest of his recent novels, though I did enjoy that there was a lot more time spent in the world of myth. This is about a group of people in Newford who get tangled up with The Gentry, a group of spirits who have followed Irish immigrants to the New World and who now want to take over the land from the native spirits. I think I know what seemed to dilute the novel for me--there were simply too many main characters so the individual stories didn't have the impact they might have had he gotten a little deeper into fewer of them. That, I think, is what I missed in this novel. Still, enjoyable and certainly with magical moments.
last week's reading § next week's reading
I had been neglecting The Ectophiles' Guide to Good Music of late and so I put some time I might otherwise have spent writing this week playing catch up.
In other news, I had a poem accepted for the next Pontoon anthology put out by Floating Bridge Press, and received a nice-sized check for my forthcoming commentary "Incense: Robin Skelton's 'Burning Sticks, Mallorca'" in Arc.
last week's writing § next week's writing
About the Phonosnout
707. Upon the hill
Let's go chasing dreams upon the hill. Climb the winding path through the tall bushes, following the way to the top of the hill. The dreams, there? Dreams are to abstract to be at the top of the hill. But i'll chase them there anyway.
708. Lately, i'm amazed
Lately, i'm amazed that it's all true. So it is. But i am amazed, if not shocked, and i wonder (as always) what's going on? But the main point of the whole story is no matter how long you wait, or how long you search, you won't find me there next time. 
709. Hushed the room
Hushed the room and silent when the knock came on the door. You came in and told me the most amazing tale i have ever heard. So little to reach for, so hard to understand. I can't get from it what you want me to. I've tried, and i can't believe it, but something... I don't believe your story, but i must believe your eyes. 
710. The wind
I love the wind, it invigorates me, makes me sure i'm alive. When the wind comes, i wake up, and let it whip my hair into fury.
711. If i were dying
If i were dying, i would reach out to people and clamp myself onto them like a parasite. Try to suck the life out of them into me, and last as long as i could. Then, tragically, i would waste away and no one would ever mention the way i clung to people, but would only say i courageously clung to life.
Somehow i am still in limbo from my last depression. Not down anymore, but not up [quote from Larry Norman about not being up or down omitted]. Even my emotions exist within a limited range. I am not very anything. Not even very bored or very interested, or even very indifferent. Limbo exists like a cage. But i'm not even very trapped.
Excelsior!! I have made a Discovery. Looking at my writing from two years ago, i "came to realize"  that it is better than anything i've written in the past six months. I am regressing (in more ways than one). The caterpillar dying before it reaches the cocoon. Or maybe the caterpillar has gone to the cocoon and come out a caterpillar. I'm not sure.
714. Too far gone
I'm too far gone beyond listening to pick up on what Rankin is saying now. If i tune in, it's far too late, and means nothing. I've missed the important details that lead (led?) up to what he's saying now. I'm to busy dancing on the other side.
715. Phono-escape from philosophy
This book has become a marvelous escape from Philosophy, otherwise known as Ennui 100. If there is a triangle it is 3-sided and it exists. Excelsior! F'rout! Whatever happened to all those frickets?
716. Phil. 100 (February 11, 1977 edition)
Rob! Stop taking notes, it's beginning to scare me!! Now, I wouldn't want to scare you. But if i don't take notes, all this valuable info would be lost, and sucked out into the atmosphere by the air conditioner. I have just lost 1-1/2 minutes of valuable info--all these resources (i.e. Rankin's saliva) are being wasted. Obviously it is a great pity. Is there really something there i'm missing? I thought that was existentially impossible. This class only exists in my mind, and i'm moving out and leaving it behind (my mind, that is).
The above is only a necessarily existential judgement. To deny it involves some kind of contradiction. What kind of contradiction. Be more specific, Rankin. Sorry, Phono.
Phono doesn't mind. Existentially speaking, Phono will expand to suit any situation. It(?) might even write "There is God" on the greenboard.
I've got it!!! Rankin in one of Phono's better jokes. (Frankly, Scarlett, i don't get your scam).Bill says today is a non-intelligible doodle day.
If Rankin is one of Phono's better jokes, then I don't like her/his humour. Perhaps it's just that i am not sophisticated enuf to understand and appreciate it. But I hate having to have jokes explained, so I will laugh & pretend I get it.
Existentially speaking, is Bill correct? Phono is not responsible for Rankin. Phono is only responsible for the joke (what joke?). Bill is one of Phono's better non-intelligible doodles (as are we all).
There must be at least as much reality in the total...? cause as there is in the effect. Therefore if Phono is responsible for Rankin, PHono is Rankin's long lost mother/father.
Phono has suddenly denied all responsibility. (I hope he/she doesn't get sued for m/paternity>)
1. A smattering of song lyrics to make up an entry.
2. Is this last a quote from somewhere? It rings in my head like one, but I don't recognize it.
3. This is an actual note in the text. It says "used in cheap mysteries and Harlequin Romances."
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