Les Semaines


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


Dreaming October

The weather has taken an autumnal turn, and so has my mood. Up until the middle of last week it was sunny and warm, and I only need a light jacket on my way to work in the morning and never during the day, and one evening it was windy and autumn had blown in, gray and rainy. The leaves on the lilac tree outside my study window has suddenly started turning yellow, and the weeping birch across the street is bright orange.

Other clues: we had a rainstorm; we lit a fire in the fireplace Friday night; the furnace came on today; the cats were seen cuddled up together this afternoon; before 6:30 during Daylight Savings Time we turned on the lights.

Another clue: I alternate between wanting to curl up with a book in front of the fireplace and buzzing with ideas about things to do. October always feels like this.

Oh yeah, and all the students are back at the U.

Caroline wrote about how autumn has always been her favourite season because it's tied up with the beginnings of the school year and how exciting and invigorating that is. It used to be mine and I still like it, but spring and all the new growth and the promise of longer days suit me better now I'm older and less needy about proving myself deep and dark and angsty and looking toward the darkside. Heh.

I'm enjoying autumn and the rain and wind, but I'm not looking forward to winter. The thought of it makes me tired, and autumn makes me think of winter. Sheesh, maybe I'm going to turn into one of those people who need to go away for the winter. A snowbird, which is what the people in Florida call all the Canadians who go down there for the winter.

But I'm trying to set all that aside and just enjoy October and be energetic and get thinking and other important stuff done, like promotional things for my book and some writing dammit.

So, fall: falling down, falling in love, falling in lust, falling in line, falling leaves...and those damn salmon pushing their way upstream despite killing themselves to get there. When I lived in Victoria we had an annual trip to Goldstream to see the salmon run and it was always amazing and alarming to watch: the pink flesh would show through the shreds of the fish's skin as they pushed up through the shallow waters, the banks scattered with their fragile flesh and white skeletons and the waters murky with milt. How's that for autumnal sex'n'death?

And the first week of university classes is over and so things will be calming down at work. Yay!

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


If, like me, you didn't like Heather Nova's last studio album, Siren much, you can take heart from her new live disc (not yet released in the U.S.), Wonderlust. Heather Nova has always shone live and she knows it (hence the fact that this is her third official live release), and she definitely does shine here. This is most material from Oyster and Siren but even the Siren material sounds good, which confirms my belief that it was the production that ruined Siren (well, I also had some acoustic versions of the material on singles that also confirmed this). Anyway, this isn't startling different than her other live discs and it contains yet another live version of "Sugar," but I'm not going to complain--I love this.

Another brand new disc that just arrived in our collection is Gjallarhorn's Sjofn, which is a collection of updated Finnish/Sweden folk music. I really liked their first collection, and think I might like this one just as much.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Mary Gentle's The Wild Machines is just as good as the other books in this series (see my May 7 and June 25 entries for my comments on these). I really enjoyed this (can't go into the plot too much without too many spoilers so I won't, but I will say that I couldn't imagine myself interested in a story about mercenaries, yet here I am champing at the bit for the final installment). The story feel very realistic, and so the magical/unexplained bits have just that much more power. Impressive. Now I wish the final volume would just be published already.

The other book I read this week was Matthew Woodring Stover's Heroes Die. This is something I hadn't expected to read or like. It was a book that I got as a freebie at World Fantasy Con (at the same time I got the first volume of Mary Gentle's series). Looking at the cover, the title, all the blurbs on the back I thought this would be something I would put directly in our "books for sale" pile. And while this isn't something I'll ever read again nor is Stover an author I'm going to seek out, I found this book quite clever, the concept--there are two parallel worlds with highly defined social structures, the one most like our own future sends actors to the other, more fantasy-like world with camera chips so people can pay to experience their adventures--interesting and rather fun. The main character is an assassin, a fighter and killer, and his marriage to another actor has recently gone wrong, but now she's in trouble in the other world and he has to get the studio to send him in to rescue her. Really, an entertaining read. It would make a great movie. Hollywood, are you listening? I can see Arnold Swartzenegger in the lead.

last week's reading § next week's reading


Well, the good news is that I got my grant application to the Canada Council completed and mailed off before the deadline, and I think it's my best project description ever. As part of getting my writing sample ready, I did some tweaking to several of the poems, but I didn't really do much writing. Yesterday I'd planned to get at least an hour in, but my computer started acting up so I spent the hour instead finishing Heroes Die while running Norton Utilities repeatedly.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

October 1977

872. Now i gotta

Yesterday P.K. Page told us we had to start a journal. So i guess you're it, Phono. I throw all my spare lines into you. Poems that were never poems, lines in my head, people, observations, etc. Lots and lots of etc. I've got lots to say but no time. Got to start scribbling more often. Remind me to tell you about the time....

873. Unloved, unwanted

I've got so many friends. People i like and some i love, some i hardly know, but am growing with. I owe so many letters. I don't like the title of this chapter. I've got so much work to do, i don't know what i'm doing sitting here babbling. Oh my goodness..

874. Let's...well, maybe not

I might give a few words to Phono about water nymphs, about Actaeon. I might tell of the shower of gold, or of the white bull...but more likely i will speak of sleep and yawns and stoneboats far beyond my reason. Of friends and hating and loving and not knowing which, or why. I might not.

875. Season work

There is so much to do and for once i am doing it. I am getting things begun before it's too late, but still living under pressure. Midterm and essay season, i had it too slack and too lazy last year--this year i care more, hurt more and try more. Seat more. Faustus and Social Work now. Then English and Homer and Cynewulf and behaviour modifications et cetera on forever.

876. A journal

P.K. told us to keep a journal for Creative Writing, Well, Phono, you started as a journal for Writing 11 and i guess you'll do for 201. I'll just have to keep you around more and catch more thoughts. Sounds okay, but too often i forget you're here.

877. Nowhere, nowhen

Oh, PHono, i'm getting so restless it hurts, hurts a lot (but i can handle pain). THere's so little of anything about, so little i can get a handle on (and i have no self-discipline). Oh Phono let me out, let me get away, i more some more perspective, some more something. I kind of in love with something that will/can never love me, and i need to run around somewhere else. Nowhere, nowhen.

878. Trivial

Everything seems so trivial beside my need to Get Away. I've lost all my funny in the past months and there's not much more left. Too much Harold in me now--oh well, i'll grow out of it/him. Soon? [1]

879. No excuse

Oh sweet Phono, i'm here and i have no excuse. After midnight, me, my pen, a candle and paper, in no particularly order--full moon tonight and last which means nothing except Marijke dancing in the snow, Marijke who is not Marijke except that she in me, watching. [2]

880. Candle

My candle casts a strange pattern, causes strange shadows to grow on this page. Nothing is colder than a candle after midnight; nothing is warmer. I'm tired, but, as always, can't sleep for dreaming i'm awake. And some shadows follow me across the floor, some silence frightens me.

881. Prisms

Something about my candle reminded me of prisms, i don't remember what. It doesn't matter what. Snow & Marijke, a strange messy poem, even worse is something about no autumn here. And a point, probably Pachena [3]. Where i've never been. I remember the bay but none of this has anything to do with prisms. I had better try again to sleep.

882. Hell

This is hell, nor am i out of it.
          Mephistophilis, Faustus Act II Scene ii.


1. Heh. Harold did have a huge influence on me and though he has a sense of humour, he's also more serious than not. And I needed to take things more seriously anyway, at least take my writing more seriously.

2. I had the real Marijke in what was a breakthrough poem for me in the previous year, and she became a kind of magical character in my poetry, and, come to think of it, in Harold's. Sort of an all-woman.

3. Pachena Bay, a point on the west coast of Vancouver Island at the very north part of the West Coast Trail. I had been to the bay the previous January, but not to the Point.

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