what I'm thinking and doing § what I'm listening to § what I'm reading
what I'm writing § retrospective: The Phonosnout
There will be no thinking and doing this week. I mean, who can think or do? It's autumn and all about staring at red leaves and the contrasting sky beyond, and getting wistful about how powerful the colours are. It's about lighting fires in the evening and staring at the flames and getting lost in them.
It's about comfort food. Tonight I cooked a chicken and rice in consummé casserole that my mother used to cook a lot, and the very taste of it made me feel warm and wintry and inside.
All the Hallowe'en leftovers are gone, and the days are short and the last few days have felt almost...cold enough for snow. It's the time of year before the panic of the holiday season; the time when you can watch how everything is getting itself ready for the cold.
Friends are having horrible relationship problems. They're not my details to go into, so of course I won't but I'm feeling sad about it all, and sad that of course there's nothing I can do. There are also several people at work how are sick. Two are undergoing chemotherapy, another is doing alternative therapies, another has taken the autumn off to recover from a illness. After one of the staff died last spring from lung cancer it's beginning to feel like our building is a cluster of illness. A friend lost her father last year and now her mother is dying of cancer and has only a few months, which reminds me so much of Robin and Sylvia dying within a year of each other. I still miss them both very much. (I studied poetry with Robin Skelton in the late '70s and later he and his wife and Jim and I became quite good friends--they both died a couple of years ago.)
We got a phone call on Friday to tell us that last Saturday Jim's father, who is 81, had fallen off the pulldown stairs to his attic, and had fractured his pelvis and torn the cartilage on his ribs. We phoned him yesterday and he sounded quite chipper despite the pain, but still, it's scary.
Autumn makes me think of these things. It makes me worry that my parents are getting older. I'm going up to Victoria to visit them next weekend.
I'm trying to concentrate on the fact that my rosebush is still producing roses, that there are fires and chicken casserole and damn bright leaves still clinging to the trees.
But thinking and doing? Bah.
last week's thinking and doing § next week's thinking and doing
I've still been obsessed with Terami Hirsch's All Girl Band, playing it at least once a day. And the new PJ Harvey, which Jim has been playing for me at least once a day. That's a wonderful rough pop album, full of great PJ Harvey vocals and for the first time I can really hear the Patti Smith influences in her work. A great album.
last week's listening § next week's listening
Suzanne Fisher Staples' Shiva's Fire is about a child who causes peculiar events--when she is born there is a devastating tornado, and later music sounds when she lights a fire, and fish follow her when she goes near a stream. She has dancing in her bones, and eventually a guru comes and takes her away to a school where she can become the dancer she was born to be. I found the glimpse into Indian culture fascinating and well-executed but towards the end of the book it was full of loose threads and felt sloppy to me; however, I did feel that the ending of the book shone. Overall, good but a little muddled because of that patch towards the end.
Jane's Yolen's Passager is the first slim novel in a children's trilogy about the childhood of Merlin. It posits Merlin as a wild child, abandoned in the woods, where he almost forgets human civilization. He lives alone well over a year, and then, through curiosity, follows a falconer home. This is beautifully written and evocative, and left me wanting to read the rest of the trilogy.
last week's reading § next week's reading
Just when I start to think I am a fraud and a liar whenever I talk about writing the novel, something comes clear to me and I start working on it again. That happened this week yet again.
I just got asked to join an SF fiction crit group and am thinking long and hard about whether I'm ready to make the commitment this one requires.
last week's writing § next week's writing
About the Phonosnout
January - March 1978
Here's a poem from me
when I have nothing to say 
Here's a poem from me
for chapter nine thirty-three
(My words fly up
'Til He fills my cup)
934. This is silly, don't read it
Still visiting the Lady of Shalott on her little island. I wonder if she has a ferry. She is a fairy? O dear. A fairy that dies (I didn't think they did ever die, those fairies)--old fairies never die they just fade away (to the mainland).
935. Tirra lirra (getting worse)
Lancelot--"Tirra lirra," by the river sang Sir Lancelot. He sounds like the fairy. O dear, I shouldn't have said that, not at all couth. The Knight in shining armour. [Quotes from the lyrics to Harry Nilsson's "This is the town" song from The Point omitted.] Sir Lancelot in Camelot. [Quote about Guinevere having green eyes from Crosby Still and Nash omitted.]
936. Libby say something
Try a dialogue--how bored are you?
What do you mean by bored?
What would you like me to mean?
Do you mean "mean" or "signify"?
Which would you rather?
Do you mean I'm mean?
Well, could I be saying that you signify?
Do you think we got off the original subject?
Could that be the problem?
Problem? Who said problem?
Didn't you say problem?
937. A young man
A young man, a rare and friendly one, has just told me he can't read Kant. I was beginning to say that this is life. Kant is tough to handle, as is can't. O my.
938. I really
I really should read some of the things I need to read, I mean it really would help, like be of some avail, as I have a midterm in a few days and also a project due on the same day, both of which need a great deal of work which I have not yet done and had better do before it's too late although I really don't reel like it anyway. Really.
Hey, Phono, you feelin' neglected? I 'polgize. It's that ruff time o' year now an' I gotta lotta do. It's true. I ain't lyin'. S'march an' times are tuff. Last midterm tadday. I'se glad, but I got two essays, a policy papper and two projects still ta do. Life's tuff, poor me. I'm the one that's suffrin' from neglect. Ain't it tha truth.
940. Trying to see what I can do
Well, hello, are you trying to see what you can do? 5:30 to write an essay, now I'm running on excess adrenaline at 10:30, o dear there's so much always to do. Always. I just hope I have time to catch up on this sleep sometime.
941. Working anger
I've got to work this anger out of me, this bloody black anger that turns me to steel. My God it hurts, and it's ugly so take it away. It's that black frustration when you come across the random evil in the universe. Or the plotted evil, when you wonder who's plotting. How can there be pain on this gorgeous day? Running into walls can always hurt. I can guess.
942. Y'got me
[A mishmash of quotes from The Beatles "A Day In The Life" and Elton John's "Grow Some Funk of Your Own" omitted.] I did die last night--working on an essay until 5:30, three hours sleep, and I'm not properly attached to today. Y'got me.
1. First instance of a capitalize "i" that wasn't the start of a sentence. Another affectation overcome.
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