§

Les Semaines

01.01.21

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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Snippets

Here's a snippet of Neile from BB, a local bulletin board. Bryer is the name I go by there, which is the name of a cat I had in Missoula, which I got from Bryher, the name of the poet H.D.'s lover. The saying before the name is called a nick, and I don't remember where I got this one--probably something someone else on bb said. The sartorial*splendor room is where people post what they're wearing. I only occasionally do. I don't know why I saved this one, but I did and here it is for your reading pleasure. Oh, and cleo is a member of BB, well-known for praising people for having matching underthings.

I very rarely use the subject line. I spelled "today" like that for fun. Same with earrinks instead of earrings. I often pronounce the word that way, too. I don't know why, I'm just strange.

--------------- sartorial*splendor #3520   (16 lines)-------------

Date: Tue Jan  9 15:02:38 2001
From: show a little cleavage to the elevator man <Bryer>
Subject:

To-day:

black undies
black bra with a nice lacey Vee (cleo cleo cleo I match!)
black kneehighs
dark (forest?) green rayon dress
A runic writing sweater of various greys
earrinks with green dangling bits that match my dress (dunno if cleo
  cares about that kind of matching)
new black shoes that were an Xmas present from my folks (this is their
  first day out--the shoes I mean, not my folks)
slightly damp and not brushed recently enough hair
nine rings of various provenance
very sleepy jetlagged appearance (nasty insomnia)
a touch of freezing still left on the upper right smile (nasty dental appt
  hangover)

Here's one from tonight from the cats room on being told by a friend that her new kitten's name seems to be Ruby (I don't normally log on over the weekend, but here I am). The nick is from a movie review by another bb-er.


--------------- cats #5484              (6 lines) ---------------

Date: Sun Jan 21 21:08:15 2001
From: no breasts would be caught dead in this movie <Bryer>
Subject:

I think Ruby has told you her name.  She'll certainly gain other names,
but Ruby is the baseline.  Like Sophia is for Sophie Sofe Sofe or
bratcknik when she's being a little brat/bitch or Sophia Dofia when she's
being a doofus.

Cat nicknames are so much fun.

And here's a message I sent a while back to a writer's list about my study:

When we bought our house several years ago, I wasn't thrilled to have bought a
 house, but I was certainly thrilled to at last have my own study. 

It does double as the guestroom, though, so it's sometimes less accessible than
others, but when we have guests I usually don't want to spend much time in
there anyway, and we do have a ratty old laptop we bought cheaply so I can work 
elsewhere if necessary or on the daybed on my study when I want to. 

First off my study is painted dark green and creamy white trim. The room faces 
south, so it gets lots of light, so it's only dark at night. One window looks 
out onto the street, and the other through a white lilac tree across an alley 
onto other house. Mostly from the angle when I'm at my computer I see 
vegetation and the sky. And one neighbour's boat and car collection, but so it 
goes. 

The room is pretty tightly packed with furniture, between the daybed (has a 
trundle that pulls out and up from underneath for when we have more than one 
guest), the vanity from my (inherited) soft light green (! but it's okay, 
really, or maybe I've just grown accustomed to the colour) bedroom suite from 
the 1920s which I use as a desk, a standing lamp, my oak computer table, a 
filing cabinet, a tiny bookcase with my reference books, and a typing table 
which is usually stacked with paper. As is the desk. In the closet there's 
another filing cabinet and boxes of all kinds of stuff. Computer books under 
the computer table. On the walls there's a 1920s ad for Eno's fruit salts with 
a colourful fairy on it, a ceramic tile with clock hands, a framed reprint of a 
poem of mine, a tiny landscape watercolour, an old map of the island of Arran 
off the west coast of Scotland, a framed poster from a show of photograph from
the Crow Indian Agency in Montana from the 1910s, and a large framed print of a 
wonderfully lyrical design which was used for the cover of my second book of 
poetry (purchased afterwards). 

The computer table, where I do most of my fiction writing, is pretty packed 
with my computer stuff. My new computer monitor doesn't fit on there as 
compactly as the old one, but I still wedge the dictionary and thesaurus back 
behind where they're in easy reach. 

Also have a boombox right by there. I've learned to work while playing music 
because it helps drown out background noise that otherwise distracts me. All 
kinds of music from classical, but mostly alternative Kate Bush-type stuff or 
Celtic-y folk music, almost all female voices (a personal obsession of mine). 
My husband and I are both big music fans and have a large collection of discs.

Papers scattered everywhere. Discs on the bookcase and in front of the boombox
and under and besides the monitor. Cat toys all over the floor, including an
empty cardboard box for her to hide in.

I don't have any particular writing rituals. Sometimes I'll burn a candle or 
put incense in another room (I find it too intense to be in this small a room 
with it). I also tend to play computer solitaire games for a while when I start 
just to get zen-minded. They tend to get me abstracted and dreamy. 

There are some scattered views of Neile for this week.

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

Listening

New Basque disc! Yay, but it's short.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

I read Kathleen Ann Goonan's Queen City Jazz because I'd liked Crescent City Rhapsody (see my December 17th entry for my comments about that one). This is her first published novel, and is about a young girl raised in a post-apocalypse new Shaker community who is drawn to the nanotechnologically transformed city of Cincinnati. In an altercation before she leaves, her dear friend Blaze and her beloved dog are shot, and she uses technology banned by the community in order to keep them alive--but she must take them to the city with her in order to try to get help to save their lives. I found this an interesting novel, but much more confused than the Crescent City Rhapsody, and because I knew a lot more about the world from what I learned by reading that one first, I think I had a better handle on the world than most people coming to this first would be. I also felt that there was a long time when she was fishing around the city only learning very little bits of things and I found that a little tedious. I would say that overall I liked the book, but had I read this one first I might not have followed on her other ones. As it is, I think I'll wait until her next book instead of going back to read the one she published between the two I've read unless I run across a review that indicates it's more like the newer one than like the first.

I read another Maeve Binchy this week, Evening Class. I probably ought to have waited longer to read this one, since I didn't like it nearly as much as the one I'd just read, Tara Road, (see last week's reading) and I think it was mostly to do with proximity. I don't read this kind of novel often and reading two so close together made me a little impatient with it. This is the story of the lives of two people who start an evening class about Italian language and culture and about the lives of their students. It focuses one on character at a time, and of course you learn more about the characters laster in the story so each section isn't entirely focused on the character whose name it bears , but mostly. The focus here is on all the length of these people's lives and their intersection in the class and how the class and the following trip to Italy helps change their lives. A pleasant read. I do love to hear the stories of peoples lives but I found that because there were so many characters she was focusing on, some of the stories seemed to be given short shrift. Maybe that's just because Tara Road really follows the fortunes of two women and I could get deep into their lives and so in comparison this felt thinner. In any case, I would certainly recommend this to anyone who likes this kind of novel.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

Dammit, but that poem is moving slow as moles' asses. Truly. I look at it. I change or shift a word or two. Still wrong. I change them back. I can't concentrate. Truly pitifully slow movement.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

July 1978

986. World ends

Sister upset, she has found the end of a world. (I remember when I first found the end of mine.) Impotent feeling trying to console her, to alleviate pain that cannot be alleviated, merely endured. Lack of knowledge of what to say, to do. I merely was there. O hell. She's walking through the fire. (We all have.) [Quote from Bruce Cockburn about playing love songs again omitted.] Reliving my own ends. The magic endings that transform memories to fire. The fires that burn themselves into conscious life, that will not be extinguished, from which the pain never ends. Sympathy empathy as useless as butter. [1]

987. Journal finished

Finished Anaïs' journal last night. Glad to know there must be another volume coming, another eleven years in her life to cover. However, there is no telling when it will be published. I have now bought the volumes of Cities of the Interior. I am halfway through the Sealed Rom portion of Children of the Albatross. I read this two years ago when studying the prose poem form with Red Lillard. When X [2] phoned the other day it was strange to hear his voice. I couldn't imagine hearing his voice. He has broken up with Jocelyn but she is hanging on. Why did he ever choose her? There are no answers. I don't want to see either of them if they are still seeing each other in the fall, and if they are still apart I don't want to have to feel guilty about seeing him. I will refuse to feel guilty. Maybe I won't see him. Marvellous dreams, but I still have so much to learn from him. Besides, I am fond of him, would almost friend-love him if he weren't so self-bound. Yet that is part of his charm. He makes a marvellous friend but would make a horrid lover. It makes me feel sorry for Jocelyn for thinking she is in love with him. I am sure it is only thought despite her pain. I can understand it. I don't think she yet knows what love is. I wonder if there is love in the world. THere is. Must be. Not merely circumstance and infatuation.
     Laura came to see me yesterday after her trip with Derek [3]. She told me how she enjoyed her trip, how they enjoyed Disneyland, how Derek got sick one night, how there were a lot of kids on the bus, how the teenage girls all fell for Derek, how one family had four awful boys, how the tour guide hated the trip, how a man at the entrance to a ride through she was pregnant and wasn't going to let her on. She looks pregnant she is retaining so much water. She is on a medicine they use for leukemia, and will be for the rest of her life. Her skin is a normal colour (better than before when she had jaundice) and her face is plumper, dark hair growing. She looks almost happy. She always likes men to lean on her, and Derek does. He is only eighteen. They will probably marry in two years [4]. I wonder if she has leukemia; I guess she mustn't. She has been through a dreary nightmare, emerged the same. I don't know how to talk to her, from every nightmare I emerged changed. I never know what to say. I want to live in a world of artists and literature [5].

988. Day

Yesterday an incredible day. Up for Shakespeare class; then to work. Lunch with Steve Bridges [6]; work; guy from Sporting Goods visits (Rick); give Stephanie from Pets a ride home; dinner with parents; back to apartment; Paul picks me up; a few drinks and backgammon and cards and music; damn drunk; home; phone Jon; later a call from Randy (11:30); car wouldn't start, so walked; tracked him down, walked back barefoot, go to the playground, then turnaround, the swings (exaltation!); four hours sleep; crows woke me at 6:00 [7]; car still wouldn't start; mom over; got it started, drove to Beetle Haus, to class, shopping with Mom, home.

989. Storm

Lightning, thunder, yesterday during Hamlet. I long, frighteningly, to be outside and dancing in that heavy rain and wind. Exhilaration overpowering my lethargy. Wanting to leap out of the window to the grass. The beautiful slash of lightning against a charcoal sky, and the deep green of the trees. And Hamlet.


NOTES

1. The friend of mine whom my sister was seeing had broken up with her.

2. X shall remain unnamed since he's still a friend and probably would not like to revisit this.

3. Laura had been my best friend in the last two years of high school but we'd drifted once I started university and she started a full-time job. She had gotten quite ill with a blood disease that she would never name to me.

4. She did marry him, but not for another five years.

5. I don't know if I thought this would teach me what to say or if I thought in a world of art and literature that's all anyone would ever talk about.

6. A friend from high school who now worked in the paint department next to the hardware department where I worked. 7. There was a skylight above the bed in my grandmother's apartment and the crows liked to slide down it. Very annoying early in the morning.

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