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Les Semaines

00.12.31

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

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Happy Hogmanay

Hogmanay is the Scottish term for the last day of the year, or rather for the cake demanded by children on the last day of the year. I hope you are all celebrating (or recovering from celebrating) happily.

Christmas was fun and went well. The beasts continued to coexist well, as did we four beastly humans. We gave each other presents and cooked and ate and read and napped. A lovely time. Mom, Dad, and the dogs left on Wednesday morning, and then Jim and I slept as though we'd been missing weeks of it. I went to work on Thursday and Friday, and this weekend has been a continuation of sloth and rest and knowing I need to work, but not working. Jim did, and finished a poem this evening just as I was cooking dinner--the first meal we've cooked since Christmas Day, as since then we'd been living on the copious leftovers. All that's left now is too many cookies and chocolates, which will cheer us over the next months.

New Year's is a holiday that Jim and I nearly always spend alone together. Last year we were supposed to be in Victoria at the family reunion, but because the cloud cover was too low for us to fly out in the floatplane, we were home alone as always. I don't know why we decided that's the way we like it, but it is, and so here we are again, about ready to celebrate another New Year's. Two more years on the odometer since I started this public journal. The 2000 odometer rollover was celebrated, but now we celebrate the start of the new millennium, without fear of utilities failing, only the prices of them going up and up here on the left coast.

I don't believe in resolutions, but I always have hopes for the new year and regret not accomplishing enough in the previous year. But that's not enough.

In many years this has been a horrible, sad year. Two coworkers died of cancer this year, with both it started as lung cancer and with both they died quickly. Maddy, my cat, died of lung cancer this year. (A pet is not comparable, of course, but her loss was hard for me.) It seemed that a lot of people I know had similar things happen this year--a series of deaths of family members and other loved and known ones. It seemed as though in some ways the year was a series of bad news.

That's why I'm glad that Blood Memory is going to be officially launched, both here in Seattle and in Canada, in the 2001 calendar year. To start building something new for this year and positive and much to look forward to.

I hope you and yours are building toward this new year with similar steps forward.

Now I'm going to upload this and celebrate New Years' in the proper and traditional way.

Happy New Year to you. Happy Hogmanay.

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Listening

I've been obsessing with a disc Jim got me for Christmas: Pentangle's Sweet Child. It's a re-release of a mixed live & studio album from 1968, certainly originally a double album since it has 22 tracks. It features John Renbourn, Jacqui McShee, Bert Jansch, Terry Cox and Danny Thompson at their early best. A really wonderful collection of traditional, blues, and jazzy pop. And Jacqui McShee's stunning voice. Heaven.

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Reading

Well, the good news is that something finally happens in the ninth book of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, Winter's Heart. The bad news is that it's really hard to care anymore. After nine books of build-up nearly everything would seem anti-climactic, and let me tell you, this definitely felt anti-climatic to me. It was a great book to read over the holidays, because I didn't care if I read much of it, so I didn't stay up too late reading or ignore my family or feel much more than a mild interest in the characters and events of the book. There are only so many volumes you can read about characters pulling their braids and swearing using the word "Light" and so many characters always being seen as stupid and headstrong and so many women saying they're unable to understand men and so many men saying they're unable to understand women. You would think the author would get tired of typing them, but I'm guessing that either way too much of this is boilerplate or the author himself has lost control of his plot and characters. I suspect that both has happened. Still, this is one of the most popular fantasy series ever, so it has to have something going for it. We were visiting friends a couple of weeks ago and among the few books in their teenage son's library were all the first eight of these. (I discuss volume eight in my January 17, 1999 entry.)

From the ridiculous to the sublime, Jeanette Winterson's The PowerBook was a delight to read. Lyrical, clear, yet full of depths it read like a poem, incorporating the contemporary (the internet, email, and all those communication permutations) and the historic (invoking the historic layers of the city of London), literature (the tale of Paola and Franscesca from Dante and other sources), stories (told by the narrator), and more (the tale of Ali bringing the first tulips to The Netherlands) all in the service of telling a love story. Winterson has a way of writing that manages to be elevated while also being concrete and it never feels (to me at least) forced or artificial. She's a stylist of the utmost skills and still knows how to tell a compelling story, or in this case stories all knitted into one tale. High recommended.

Caryl Cude Mullin's A Riddle of Roses is another of those young adult fantasy novels that seems to have everything going for it, but never quite takes off. It's the story of a girl in a bardic school who decides she's too impatient to endure a year-long punishment and then resume her classes--she wants to go out into the world and learn to become a bard in that now-unconventional way. It's a tale with lots of wandering and various almost-charming episodes. She gets several travelling companions, including a "tree-twin" oracle, and various people give her helpful advice along the way. It's just not nearly as much fun as it should be.

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Writing

Rien. None. Nothing.

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Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

July 1978

977. My journal

Funny, even before reading Anaïs' journal I carried my journal everywhere, writing in it in spare moments everywhere, for four years. The problem was that I had tied myself to certain rules. Too many people read it, so I couldn't be real, masked myself. Now, through Anaïs I am gradually tearing off layer by layer the covering I had hidden myself with. I am becoming closer to naked in this journal though I am not yet. This reminds me of Paul's' & my strip poker. It is only when I realized I'm losing that I take it off. I lose but end up winning. Soon I will learn depth in here, I will each Phono depth (as maybe Paul and I will teach each other depth??) I will learn to expose myself without or with less shame. I parallel experience that I never realized was happening. How fascinating. How will it end? Hopefully in mental pregnancy (so I ma give birth to more writing) and most definitely oh so helpfully not in physical. Taking as many precautions physically so as not to conceive as I am taking mentally to insure the conception of new ideas, new writing. I wish to be prolific in that sense. (And that sense only.)

978. O hell

No one to talk to, resort to the journal. Was hoping for a visit from Paul Didn't come. Now I am desperate for someone to talk to, but there is no one. It's only eleven, and I know of no one I can phone .This is painful. I want to see someone. Almost anyone would do right now. Help. Who to talk to. Restlessness, tied with depression. (I wanna see, I wanna know.) Feeling heavy. Too heavy to write anymore letters. Oh Anaïs I know what you mean about people. I, too, am tired of warring with everyone. Pits of slimy hell. On the phone now. Peter. Cheryl. Jon.

979. To live

I want to live dangerously, excitingly, mysteriously, and most of all, fully. I want to enjoy every moment I am offered whether in solitude or with loved friends. I want to do foolish things, things that I know I will regret having done, but not the doing of the them. (To think "I shouldn't have, but how pleasant!") I want to drink strawberry daquiries again. This time à deux. I want to be foolishly (yet not blindly) in love. I want to be free of all guilt but the guilt of now loving. I am all "I" and all "want." They say you grow out of this. I hope. O well. Finished a disappointing Drabble [novel]. Can't write to Randy; I don't know what to say. (How 'bout bless ya, Randy, g'bye.) No, not fair. I am slimy.
     Went and saw Jon last night. Talked, dreamt, shared poetry. Wandered. Sometimes I think we are so alike, and sometimes I wonder what I like about him. As a rebellion from his divorce he often acted very childish, a strange rub off from living with Marty and Ray. His poetry shows a lot of potential growing under there. He's not sure how to let it out. This seems to be the main thing about him. He's afraid to open it up and to be himself, to let himself out of the bindings. This realization comes at a time when I too am straining at these bindings.


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