Les Semaines


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


Sophia Update

Had a great weekend visiting my parents. We didn't do much. I mostly helped Mom work on her computer and I fixed a few things for her, brought her a new mouse and worried about how strange her iMac seems to be compared to everyone else's--her is quite a quirky machine, while everyone else I know with one finds it quite straightforward. All I can think is that much of the weirdness is caused by her use of archaic software so she can go back and forth between her iMac and her ancient laptop.

Anyway, we talked and visited, and watched videos of the opening of the new Bighouse up at Alert Bay--she was invited to the ceremonies for that by a friend who is one of the tribal members there--the same woman I wrote "White Lies" for in my book Spells for Clear Vision. Anyway, it was wonderful seeing all the First Peoples' dances and their pride and delight in the new building (tempered by their sadness at losing the previous one). And to catch glimpses of Mom and her friend in the crowd. Their dancing is so simple-seeming and yet evocative and intense and complex.

I also did a little Xmas shopping but neither Mom nor I are shoppers, and Dad didn't even join us for that part.

So now I'm back home and preparing for giving a reading tonight at the local Barnes and Noble bookstore, and I can't think of much deep to talk about. So I'll write about Sophia.

Sophia is the Furry Mouse Toss Queen. She has also become quite affectionate, rubbing against my legs, begging for attention by putting her front paws on my leg, sleeping against my side and on my lap, sleeping on my feet while I'm working on the computer, and spending much of the night between Jim and I on the bed.

She is gradually rejecting all other games except chasing the stick end of the dangling-feathery-thing toy (she much prefers the stick to whatever dangles from it). And she'll occasionally chase one of the jingly-bell balls. She also loves paper bags and furry mice in and out of them.

The other day we got a box that had a bunch of newsprint in it and for three days she was having the greatest time with it. The newsprint is now in shreds on the dining room floor and the mouse goes in and out of the box, round about and under the paper bits, especially the paper bits under the stool in the dining room, which requires all kinds of acrobatic moves from the rungs of the stool to chase under and over and round about the paper. Quite a noisy but impressive game.

Oh, and we have a battery-operated ball that keeps itself moving and rolls erratically around ricocheting off things. It's about a 5" radius. She loves that almost as much as furry mice. We go through a lot of batteries as occasionally it gets stuck and we don't where it is so it runs itself down. Don't tell Sophia, but I got her one for Xmas with a fake fur weasel attached to it so the weasel seems to be playing with the ball.

Sophia, a paper bag, and the battery-operated ball.

Sophia subduing the dining room carpet that we bought in Turkey in July 1999.

Sophia and Zach are now friends, mostly. At least when she's asleep.

Jim just came back from grocery shopping, which we usually do together but he's doing me a favour by letting me get this finished, so I have to go and help him unload, then get ready for the reading.

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Spent a few days listening to the easy listening pop radio station that plays all day at my mom's place. I managed to screen it out when it was bugging me.

last week's listening § next week's listening


In the midst of reading the latest installation in Kate Elliott's Crown of Stars series (more on that next week) I read a young adult novel by Laurie Halse Anderson, Fever 1793. This is about a young woman during the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia in 1793. It's a harrowing story, beginning with her hearing about the death of her best friend from the fever. She's a little rebellious and naive, and the events of the epidemic, which was clearly cataclysmic for the city, change her utterly. A well-written novel which brings the period and events to life. Highly recommended if you like historical novels.

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Wow! I found out just by looking at the site out of curiosity on hearing that it had just been launched that Blood Memory was (and maybe still is if you check it out quickly) Editor's Pick on the The League of Canadian Poets' webstore! Apparently it won't be up for much longer as they've decided not to have any more Editor's Picks, but it was up the last time I checked. Just in case i comes down today, here's what it said:
Every year a couple hundred poetry books don't appear on the Governor General's nomination list. Many of these books are the favourites on any reader's shelf. A favourite on my shelf right now is Neile Graham's Blood Memory. These are highly-crafted poems about the timelessness of our lives, tied through womanhood to an eternal life which takes place within us and around us. With excursions to a Scotland of which we are all citizens, and intimate excursions through the stages of life, public and private, and with a fascinating series of poems for two minds within one person, which can be read together or apart, this is a book to grow with.
Whoo hoo! And there is still will be for a while a page on the book itself where the book is for sale. With some of my comments about it, and a great review.

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Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

March 1978

943. Mind wandering

[Quotes scattered from The Beatles' "Fixing A Hole" omitted.] Nothing can stop my mind from wandering. I'm mind-wandering over a different kind of landscape, learning soil and grass, learning tree...somewhere.

944. My

There's too much to be done, too much pain, oh my dear own self!! Someone's pasted Piglet on my window [1].

945. Cohen waves goodbye forever

The last man on the last day will look into the book, and all he will see if Cohen waving goodbye. Goodbye. [2]

946. As the song goes

[Quote from Pink Floyd's "Welcome to the Machine" and "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" omitted.] Wait, they tell I'm going crazy, but I've already been there, thanks. I'm quite serious, you know. Trust me.

947. Creating language

First--there are those who create and those who kill. We have, on the side of the Creators, a limited number--Hesiod, Homer, Shakespeare. On the side of the Destroyers we have most of the others: certainly Pope, Swift, Keats...the yard goes on forever. Bara! and let there be light (and there was, and will be). God created with a word, those are mighty big footsteps to follow. Let us learn about Bara! Let us have (in our tiny way, a piece of bara, let us create.) [3]

948. Getting back to my initial

Getting back to my initial argument--G. No, now I'm getting silly. Harold told me about creating and killing words. Dictionaries kill. (This is yer basic fact.) The problem is indeed, in creating. The oral tradition became written by Hesiod, Homer...then it was done. Everything after became nails in the coffin (give a few exceptions). Soon Harold say literature will create a revolution (change in people's thought). To work this out we need good storytellers who won't tell anyone what we're doing. Subversive activity!

949. About all this

Now me, I'm wondering about all this. I mean, people have been so separated from literature by the disgusting things of our culture--eg., TV, disco, Harlequin romances, all those things our brainless society loves (liberation!) How much can literature do now--but I guess that's where the storytellers come in. They grab at you and don't let you go until you're done.

950. Barbarians

Who know but that we're not total barbarians on the verge of some great change in civilization, equivalent to oral tradition becoming written. Written language becoming what? Internalized? Tasted? Felt? Mah goodness, I just don't know where we go from here. Seems to me that we're going somewhere (though not back where we belong.)

951. Oooo

Oooo what a lucky man he was! My, my. I'm following the good ole A.M. (ancient mariner) down into the slimy pits of hell (where you rot & burn). Oh A.M. who are thou? Having a good fool around with everything--oh dear, looks like my refill's kinda running out. I am not a lucky man. I just tail the A.M. while he tells his tale about the meaning of the universe. The wedding guest carries on--a sadder and a wiser man, and I fade out into lighter blue and lighter blue. [4]

952. English project

O Lucy poem growing into Stephen poems for an English project. My sister has all my men on Sunday fer movin'. What's to say? [5]


1. Quote from Winnie The Pooh, somewhere

2. Not really certain what sparked this. Maybe this was around the time I was reading The Favourite Game and Beautiful Losers.

3. And sadly, 22 years on, I don't remember what Bara means.

4. Hmm. Harold as Ancient Mariner?

5. My sister was good at that.

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