Les Semaines


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



Recently I've been thinking a lot about how utterly obsessed I was with guys when I was a teenager and a young adult. How most young women are obsessed with "catching" a men and everyone everywhere with partnering, whether they're looking for someone of the opposite sex or the same sex and whether they're looking for someone for a long-term relationship or a quick fuck. It's really amazing how driving this force is and how it underlies so much of what it means to be human whether we like to think we are a noble race above such things or if we think it is something to revel in.

How so much of what we are comes down to the pure biology of our race looking to continue creating itself.

In this we are not at all unlike viruses.

Or animals. Or any other living creature you can name. But we don't like to think of ourselves that way.

As a young woman I knew that I was fixated on men--it was especially clear when I was fixated on Paul for those long years. Not of course that I didn't have other relationships or that I didn't know how bad Paul was for me, but Paul was the first boy I "fell in love" with, and that was so extremely powerful for me that I couldn't shake it. Not only did I "love" Paul, but he was the first boy I really wanted to have sex with. Not that sex didn't come up with other boyfriends. I had already been through the date-rape experience when I was sixteen, and I slept with another boyfriend after that because he seemed to want to so badly and that was a pretty good experience--he was a sweetheart--but the first time I really really wanted someone was Paul.

I can still remember times when he walked into work to see me when I wasn't expecting him and the instant I caught sight of him my stomach went hollow and my face flushed. That was love for me--that, and the overpowering need I had to be with him as much as I possibly could to the point where I knew I should stay away from him but I couldn't help myself. It wasn't that he was a great lover--of course he wasn't, but that had nothing to do with it. The erotic charge between us was all in my head and it was powerful stuff. I remember that feel more now than why on earth I was attracted to him in the first place.

I wasn't a particularly unusual girl or stupider than most but I did really stupid things for "love". I watched my friends do similar things. Some of them. I watch some of my friends now who still go through that craziness and I'm glad it only happened to me once quite that powerfully. While I like being crazy, I like being sane more, and while I like living intensely, I like it based on something more real. I like my eros based on something deeper now than that gut attraction--or at least I want that gut attraction based on something deeper.

I think a lot about this when I read the journals of young women out there and how they each deal with that biological need to partner up. And I think about it as I write my novel, especially as the main character has been burned so badly by life when she was young that she misses out on the whole thing for a long time, and the novel is partly about how that bites her in the butt.

It does tend to do that, eros, doesn't it?

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


In a busy week like this I don't really listen to anything well, but I have still been listening to the dreamy lovely sounds of Basque, the odd eclectic sound of The Galerkin Method, and various bits and pieces from a couple of new discs that arrived this week: Seely's new album and ani difranco's new single "Swing Set".

last week's listening § next week's listening


Only one book this busy week: Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible. While I've always liked her work, the only novel of hers that I loved was Animal Dreams, which I reviewed back in 1992 for the feminist journal, Calyx. That is, until now. I loved The Poisonwood Bible. It is the story of what happens to a missionary family who go to the Congo (Zaire) just as it is demanding its independence from Belgium. The family consists of the zealot father, Nathan, whose guilt at being the only surviver of a battle in the Pacific in WWII and his all-consuming blind fundamentalist faith has left him unwilling to ever quit anything or to see or understand anything beyond his own faith; Orleanna, the mother who has let Nathan drive her forward--into marriage and to Africa; the eldest daughter, Rachel, self-centered and as blind in her own way as her father while obsessed with the visions of a American teenaged world; Leah the elder twin who at first strives for her father's approval then gradually realizes his limitations as the reality of the life around them in the village and the larger world of Africa impinges on their world; Adah the younger twin whose physical disabilities make her slow to the outside world but whose inner life is rich with quirky ways of looking at the world, a vision which helps her to be the first to see her father's limitations; and Ruth May, the youngest, who is the first to learn to speak the local language and to interact with the villagers, and whose childishness makes her the biggest victim of Africa's dangers, first by malaria when she spits out and hides her quinine pills for months.
     The story is told through the individual voices of all five of these women in the days long after these events and follows them into their lives and the paths they each choose after they are forced to leave the village of the father's mission. The Poisonwood Bible is one of those books that it is hard not to love. It has indelible characters, a setting that to most of her audience is exotic, the political background of the larger issues of what has shaped the Congo and Africa as well as how those political issues affect the village (and the larger scene as the family's world becomes larger), the social milieu of the village and its people, and Kingsolver's human and humane touch as she tells this story.
     I wasn't sure I was so interested in reading a story about Africa and colonialism, but this is compelling, fascinating story.

last week's reading § next week's reading


Ugh! Yes this week did interfere with my writing. Where did the time go? I got all the reading and decisions made for the Hugo House Disappearances contest, I dealt with the disc sale stuff, I got things done at work despite my computer limitations, but I didn't get another word added to the story. This is wrong.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

October 1977

852. Psyc 220

This is bad. Bad & getting worse. I don't believe this. I don't understand. Self-esteem low, moderate, high, extreme. Gotcha. Oh help. Cooper-Smith, Rogers, this is unreal. I am unreal. For sure, what else.

853. Cliff say something, anything [1]

This jolly lady certainly is complete in her inconsistency. Can you imagine the amount of contradicting synthesizing trash which controls her personal views and amoral attitudes? Sorry, i have a limited imagination. This is beginning to sound like my Philosophy 100 course. All our notes wound up like this.

854. Randy Matthews

There was a Randy Matthews concert yesterday afternoon [brief quote from his lyrics omitted.] Interesting, rowdy. A little old lady walked out. We had a good time. He didn't sing "Oh My!" So i did this morning on my way to classes.

855. Life stress

Hello Phono. I'm in Psyc again. This is rough. The prof is going to mimeograph the notes. Why? So i don't have to pay attention obviously. Life stress. This class is full of the life stress of boredom.

856. How's life, Phono?

Well, Phono, how's life?
Life? Life? Yes, i have experienced life.
You have? When?
Yesterday. Yesterday i experienced life.
Well, i went to visit a friend.
And that is life?
Yes. I went to visit Gerry.
Does she have anything to do with life?
Oh, well, goodbye, Phono.

857. How's life, Cliff?

Well, Cliff, how's life?
Humbling, but still incredible.
This is true. I am experiencing it. Somehow, even in this room there is life. (Hard to believe that it's here [i.e., Ell 168] but it is). (I think.)
The only life one can exist truly in this class is to either mentally argue (or even verbally) or the present communication.
The only life in here is to start subversive activity in the back row. Underground rebellion 220. (The Christians in the lion's den: Lions-2, Christians-0.)
On more serious grounds have you noticed how ol' Swartzertruber believes in a synthesis of existence rather than that of "personal responsibility" and absolutes in any field of existence. Is she ever demented.
The only prof i have ever met who is more demented in Rankin of the Philosophy department. This is nothing compared to him. She is a bit, well, not there, maybe. I think she's talking 15 feet over, under, and/or around me.
Personal experience, we're getting somewhere!
But where?)
Taking the esoteric value in an ontological order one can conclude that she makes as much sense as this.
This is more of a tautological argument, is it not?
It is amazing how sarcastic overtones on everyday items makes her sound somewhat authoritative regardless of her twisted "Lib" background.
She is trying to relate, to get into the university student's level, eg. premarital sex, divorce, homo- & bisexuality, women's power! Past is out. Freedom (binding, enslaving freedom) is in!!
She is really a housemouse, and would be happier at home looking after her kids. She is really a housewife the Psyc department put in here as an experiment to see how much we would believe. And how much garbage we would take. [2]

858. Watching a film

[Scrawled:] Oh Phono, i'm watching a film. It's dark, Phono, so forgive me if i don't follow the lines and weave all over the pages, i'm sorry (not i'm not). But this is pure ______, it really is, there's nothing to it, it's terrible. I'm really supposed to believe it! (They really do think i'm dub--they're dumb if they think i'm that dumb.) Paranoia will still return again.

859. Movie cont'd

[Still scrawled:] Movie cont'd, still weaving across the page. It's nice to be free of the little blue lines for a while. (I'm too much of a conformist to do this all the time without an excuse. (Jam Tart. [3]) Directed & photography by....

860. Morning

I woke up and hit morning so hard it hurts. (It does!) Actually i never quite woke up at all. Not yet. Maybe not ever (can i bear it?) No, no morning, just leave me alone i can't bear it. It's morning. Good

861. New refill

New refill in Phono, new (more?) boredom in Psyc. Progressive increase in stability as they get older. Stability? Harold told me this morning that i am unstable. I had to agree with him. Falling in love for five minutes at a time with different guys is hardly a sign of stability. (Yes, but i enjoy myself, it makes life interesting, it makes life.)


1. I don't remember Cliff at all now. I have this vague impression of dark curly hair and a slight crush.

2. Gods, I am the epitome of the undergraduate snot.

3. Jamming out = chickening out, thus someone who chickens out is a Jam Tart. Get it?

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