Les Semaines


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


Miscellaneous Bits

Like last week, much of this week's story is in the writing section. Or perhaps in the listening section as I've spent many hours listening to discs, removing some from our cd inventory, copying the disc info for those going out the door for The Ectophiles' Guide where necessary (and adding many files there), and creating a massive list of discs we will have for sale. I'm only about halfway through them all, too. We have way too many cds--hence this purge in the first place.

I've spent another day in the Clarion West classroom, thinking how very little I've been pushing myself for the past few years--in many ways I've been coasting, being so generally comfortable in my life and my job--which I guess is why I've taken on two big new challenges for the future. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, it looks like I'll be teaching writing workshops again starting in January and it also looks like I will be doing administration for Clarion West. Some work to keep my more on my toes.

There's probably more I should be doing to challenge the set patterns of my mind, but I resent things that I think will eat into writing time, and I seem to be a person that requires a lot of downtime. An amazing amount of downtime. And sleep. Not having to go into work is heavenly for that. It still hurts a bit to get up, but nothing like it normally does, and I don't seem to require caffeine to get through the morning (though I still love weekends when Jim makes me a mocha for breakfast!)

We got a barbecue this week. It's the first one we've had since we lived in Montana over a dozen years ago. It's funny how we'd forgotten the details, like how to time the coals right to cook things quickly, but we were smart enough to get one of those chimney things (ha! we bought one this time, whereas before we just used to use an old tin) so we don't have to use those horrible, stinky, polluting lighter fluids. So far we've done hamburger and teriyaki chicken. I look forward to more!

I haven't mentioned Sophia in a long time, so I just thought I'd say she's really turning into a lovely cat. Of course she's a kitten and is sometimes delightfully, sometimes irritatingly energetic, but she has a delightful temperament, and learns quickly. The only thing we don't seem to be able to quite break her of is biting, though at least she does it--mostly--gently. She's also growing more affectionate. Zach still thinks she's mostly annoying, but he does flick his tail when she's bothering him, which she cannot resist.

I still miss Maddy, but the climbing roses we fertilized with her ashes are both blooming right now. There's one at each of the gates to the back yard, and I feel rather like she's guarding it. She always was territorial and a good watch-cat.

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


I have been listening to lots of discs that have been stuck on the shelves of my cd racks and there are so many we've decided to sell (and give away) that it's almost ridiculous. I had no idea we had quite so many cds that we were unlikely to ever listen to again. Of course, that's what happens when we have so many cds that we love to listen to--the not-quite-up-to-snuff or the just-like-another discs get less and less attention until they never get played and aren't likely to be. I just never thought there would be so many, as I always take time to decide whether to keep anything I buy, and despite what Jim thinks, I really don't take that many chances on discs. A lot of these, though, are follow-up discs from artists I liked but now realize that one disc from that artist is enough. (If I have a strongly preferred one, and the other one doesn't much call me, it's just not going to get played.) And there are a number of discs where I just like one or two songs on them. Those really aren't worth keeping unless I really adore those couple of songs because again they won't get played for just a couple of songs.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Vivian Vande Velde's Dragon's Bait is a young adult novel about a young girl who is condemned for being a witch (her neighbour wants her property to expand his own business and so accuses her). As a result she is tied to a stake as an offering to a dragon. Much to her surprise, the dragon doesn't eat her but shapeshifts into a boy about her own age, and tells her he will help her get her revenge on the neighbour and on the cleric who condemned her. I always find the plots of Velde's novels interesting, but they always seem a little too thin and earthbound to really feel like the magic takes off.

Will Shetterly's Chimera is a futuristic take on the thinly tough-shelled soft-hearted noir detective. This takes place a little over a generation or two in the future, when genetic and computer engineering have created three servant classes: human-enhanced animals called chimera, AIs, and humans who have sold themselves into indentureships (or have been placed there by being convicted of crimes). The story begins when the detective is approached by a chimera passing as a human, who needs him to help her find out who murdered a well-known scientist, the human who had set her free. The chimera is accused of the crime but has a tale of a fantastic escape herself, and has an earring she wants the detective to hide for her.... It's a complicated (but not confusing) story, and seems both complex and simple at the same time. It was a fun romp and kept my interest, but I kept hoping that the main chimera would seem just a little less human. I guess part of the point of the story was that chimeras were human, but for me it cut back on that sense of wonder.

Now I'm reading the new Harry Potter. Fun. More next week.

last week's reading § next week's reading


Had a mid-week crisis of faith, wondering if writing a contemporary fantasy is really what I want to do as I love children's fantasies so much and found writing my Bryony novel so much easier than this--it just flowed and the plot unfolded far more naturally--not so many twists and turns to make me worry I didn't know what the heck I was doing. But as I keep saying, this novel won't let me go, and even when I wasn't trying to think about it, I found myself thinking about it, and realized the next turn the plot needs to take. It helps that I'm finally moving into the next chapter. For a while it feels as though I would stay in the one chapter I've been working forever...well, forever.

I also had the fun experience of having to do to the zoo to do research for the novel, as I was working on a scene where the characters visit a zoo, and I wanted to pick up a couple of details I couldn't remember from previous visits. I should have gotten a receipt to use for my taxes! (But I did have a good time, too.)

I still need to figure out a good daily schedule for writing so I can be a little more consistent. My inclination is still to start writing when Jim goes to bed, but I have enough daytime commitments off and on that I don't want to turn into a entirely nocturnal being, and switching back and forth gives me jet lag. I would really like to set up a pattern that I can keep up in September. that would be almost too wonderful. And my progress might be faster if I did. I wish my mind didn't get more creative (at least it feels that way to me) after 11:00 pm.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

March 1977

762. Tomorrow

Tomorrow i got to see writing prof about Phono. I'm a little worried. What will he say? What can he say? Will he find it possible to speak about Phono? Is there anything to say for Phono, doesn't Phono speak for him/her/itself? Phono doesn't like being called it. I wonder if Phono will like what Lillard says about him/her/ Poor Phono. Poor Lillard. [1]

763. Again (again)

In philosophy again (again). Bored again, tuning Rankin out again. Harold's sitting beside me making sketches of Rankin, Rob's beside him, taking Fanatical Notes, Bill's beside him, doodling, and there's a girl beside him Listening Intently. It's going to be one of those days. I talked to Lillard this morning. He said nothing except carry on--which is what i expected. Good morning Phono

764. Aha!

I think i just missed something. Rankin made a point and i missed it. (Quite likely.) Oh dear. He asked a question and now there's silence. I'm busy doing what i do best, hiding in Phono. He can't get me if i hide far enough. Harold just drew the form of the Philosopher.

765. The Resistance

Bill! You've been listening! You're awake!! Has Rankin said anything?
     Manikins stay upright with their eyes open. The inference cannot be made that they are listening. You should know me better than that
     Long Live the Resistance!

Anybody have any other suggestions for subversive activities, or survival methods? Rob? Harold? Bill?
    [Harold:]Ya see. Ya digg one big hole.
    Ya gotta use a big shovl.
    Ya dig Ya dig Ya dig forivir and ivir. Ya dig thru th floor of Cornett bilding. Ya tunl out and dig and dig and dig. Ya wind up
    halfway up the
    Malahat. Ya stopp diggin. Ya follown ths? Thas good.
    Anyways, Ya git ta da tip of de Milihat an you cme up. Ya got a big hole that goes all de way ta Curnat bildng. Ya throw rocks 'n' tourists inta da hole intil it's almost filled. Then ya cut down a fir tree or a fur tree if you wanna spel it rite, an' ya use the branches and make a roof fer yr hole and live there 'n' nivir cme out fer ever. Ya see.
    --bill bissett

    [Rob:] Well, Bill, or bill oh hell... the class is over, or under, or whatever. I know where pain exists. In this course.

766. Phono-ing in Philosophy

I seem to do most of my Phono-ing in Philosophy. SOmething about Philosophy... the boredom or something... inspires. Boredom has inspired Phono-ing more often than any other stimuli--probably Phono is a Psych experiment. Curses! I think my stomach's going to growl... maybe not. Rob & Jerry keep looking at me. What am i doing that's so conspicuous? It's bugging me. I hope i don't blush. It's okay now--i've got a hair curtain up (long hair is wonderful) and they can't see me very well. Rankin's hair looks great today--he's arranged it into a peak.

767. I think it's time to run for cover

Yes--i think it is--where is cover? Where is my one-way ticket for all my yesterdays? [2] (Not that i want it.) I guess Phono is the one-way ticket. [Long quote from the song noted omitted.] Wonder-wander. I entirely forgot i was in Philosophy. Phono is a good cover to run for.

768. Psalm 68

God, thou art my God and i shall seek thee earnestly... while i'm in a dry & weary land where there is not water--my soul thirsts for thee.
     This is indeed a dry & weary land, and i do indeed seek water (Lead me beside the still waters... thou restoreth my soul. Maybe that's why Phono covers have a thing about water.

My poetry lyrics

Look at my poetry i have discovered (thanks to Lillard) that it is not "poetry" at all, but is "lyrics". [4] Maybe i should sing them, learn to write music. When i was twelve i wanted to be a songwriter. I don't know. Maybe i'll write books full of lyrics--but who would want to read them?--"a poet who reads his work in public may have other nasty habits" [3]

770. Whimper

Yes, my poetry is not poetry, i'm not a good critic of other people's poetry (Prufrock, though i love it, slipped right by). Bad state, feeling useless.

771. After the weekend

Nice weekend!! Tim was over--so nice to see him. (Nice, what a word). Anyway, had a good rowdy weekend (Clockwork Orange with Rob.) And now i'm getting a sinus cold. Great. Fun and games. A dead Monday after a fantastic weekend. [Quote from Randy Matthews, Christian rocker, about the heat in hell on earth, omitted.]


1. Poor Lillard indeed. What was I thinking? I guess because my highschool writing teacher had enjoyed reading it, and in fact gave me the school writing award on that basis. Still, you'd have thought I'd have learned better.

2. References to Al Stewart's song "Carol" off Modern Times.

3. A quote form Heinlein's Lazarus Long

4. I wonder if I didn't under stand lyrical poetry vs. song lyrics? No, I knew the difference even then. Of course, Lillard was right--my poetry then was more influence by pop tunes than by real poetry.

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