Les Semaines


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


Trivial Me II

It has been an extremely busy week, so I thought I would fill this out since I've been meaning to for a while. If you're looking for something with a little more depth, you might want to read this week's section of The Phonosnout, which describes a very intense period in my life. I'm still not sure exactly what happened, but I think it was a kind of breakdown. I got through it, but it was extremely weird--as though I were coming to awareness every moment, so my thoughts were not continuous. It made doing anything an effort in concentration. I would be getting up in the morning and I'd think: "Oh yes, I'm going to work". And I'd take a few steps or go into the next room, and have to think again: "Oh yes, I'm going to work." Remembering everything I needed to do was a serious effort. Sometimes I could keep hold of the big thing but not the steps to get there. I'd start heading out the door and realize I hadn't dressed yet. It was horrible and yet intensely interesting. It wore me out utterly but also invigorated me. I remember it clearly--more than I remember most things from that time in my life. I was surprised, though, that I'd written about it as it was happening in my journal. I guess it was a way of keeping hold of myself.

Anyway, new survey, new & old answers. See my July 9, 1999 entry for some past answers.

1. What time is it: 8:51 PM PDT

2. Name as it appears on your birth certificate: Neile Nancy Eileen Graham

[#3 is missing from this survey]

4. Parent's names: Shelagh Vivian Graham and John Barclay Graham

5. Number of candles that appeared on your last birthday cake? 42. Took me a while to blow them out, too

6. Date that you regularly blow them out? October 8th

7. Pets? Two cats: Sophia, a year-old tortie-and-white shorthaired livewire, and Zach, a dark tabby-with-a-couple-of-white patches gentleman cat of nearly 15.

8. Height: 5'4", skyhigh

9. Eye Color: light blue

10. Hair Color: the should be colour! greying medium brown

11. Piercing: earlobes, one each

12. Tattoos? Nyet

13. How much do you love your job? Writing? I love it. The day job? Not much today. It's been a nasty week.

14. Birthplace: Winterpeg (Winnipeg), Manitoba, Canada

15. Hometown: Victoria, B.C., I guess--at least that's where I grew up.

16. Current Residence: The Ballard area of Seattle, Washington

17. Been in love before? Yup.

18. Been to Europe? Yes: The European side of Istanbul, and to England and Scotland

19. Been toilet-papering? Yes

20. Been toilet-papered? No

21. Loved somebody so much it made you cry? Yes

22. Been in a car crash? Only minor ones, thank the fates.

23. Croutons or Bacon Bits? Croutons, croutons, croutons. Why do you keep asking me this?

24. 2 or 4 doors: 4: like to bring friends along and make it easy for them

25. Coffee or Ice Cream? Coffee, at least if you count mocha espresso as coffee.

26. Blanket or Stuffed Animal: Used to be stuffed animal, now blanket

27. Dumper or Dumpee? I've been both; I prefer neither

28. Salad Dressing? vinegrettes of various incarnations

29. Color of socks: black

30. Lucky Number: 4

31. Place to be kissed: lips

32. Favorite Movie: King of Hearts

33. Quote: "Words weren't made for cowards"--Happy Rhodes

34. Favorite Holiday: Christmas. Yes, I'm a sap.

35. Foods: Cake! Let me eat it!

36. Day of the Week: Saturday: no day job, and not the threat of day job hovering over the day

37. Favorite song at the moment: Two Loons for Tea: "Carousel"

38. TV show: Farscape

39. Toothpaste: Tom's Fennel

40. Restaurant: Bengal Tiger. We went there last night with a friend. Mango Lamb Wala. Yum.

41. Flower: Roses, especially the big wonderful-smelling yellow-pink ones in my back garden

43. Sport to Watch: Are you kidding? I have a life.

44. Drink: Mochas, black tea

45. When was your last hospital visit? I don't remember. It has been that long. Probably when I got my tonsils out when I was five

47. What color is your bedroom's carpet? Mostly grey, it a kind of tweedish carpet, though.

48. How many times did you fail your Permit and/or Drivers License test? once each, dammit

What do you think of Ouija boards? I don't think of them.

50. Where do you see yourself in ten years? Here, or maybe back in Canada. Not far from here, anyway. Unless we move to Turkey.

51. Favorite vacation spot: Scotland

52. Have you ever been convicted of a crime? No. Couldn't get arrested.

53. Which single store would you choose to max out your credit card? Amazon. I'm sorry if anyone thinks it's evil. I adore books and records and I'm not that fond of going to stores.

54. What do you do most often when you are bored? Read.

55. What words or phrases do you overuse? I don't have any particular phrases right now. Just recently got over "whatever".

56. Friend who lives farthest away? Christina in Istanbul.

57. Most annoying thing? Not enough money or time to do things like visit the above.

58. Best thing: Contact with friends and loved ones

[a couple of questions omitted because they made no sense in this context.]

62. What time is it now:9:04, time for Farscape

And if you want something with a little more content, here's a little verse I wrote last June and emailed to a coworker.

O caffeine, how I love thee!
For thou lifteth me up in times of trouble.
In the slough of despondic sloth I cried out unto thee
and thou droppeth down dung from heaven to raise me up,
yea, even unto the heights of civil conversation.
I was lost in a sea of drooping eyelids
and thou blessed me with chemical eyelid props.
I wandered in a mire of weariness
and thou didst offer the mental equivalent of hip waders.
Yea, though I sometimes imbibe herbal tea
I will never forget the blessings
thou showerest upon me
thou anointest my head with consciousness
thou deliverest me from sleeping on the job.
I shall praise thy name for evermore
and I shall hold no other drug above thee.

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


Eliza Carthy's Angels and Cigarettes has just been released in the U.S. I couldn't wait, so I got a friend to send me the U.K. edition. It's really a wonderful, lively pop/rock album. Nicely put together. Her great voice and some good songwriting. Really a wonderful album, with only echoes of the traditional folk she has focused on prior to this album.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Ursula K. Le Guin is considered a master of SF, and for good reason. The Telling is her most recent novel, and from the first paragraphs I knew I was in a master's hand. The writing is full of compelling sensuous detail that wraps you up in her story. This is the story of Sutty, an earthwoman who has joined the Hainish diplomatic corps and is on a world that--in the decades of space travel time it took her to reach the planet--turned from a rich religious culture to one that has totally denied its past and is focused on producing, consuming, and becoming an advanced, scientific race. Sutty is lost, bored, and out of place until she is suddenly allowed to travel to a more provincial town, where she begins to see vestiges of the previous culture, and to learn more about what it offered its believers and how much the culture has lost. While this is a bit polemical, Le Guin is a good enough storyteller to make the wealth of detail and her interesting characters override any objection I, at least, had to the didactism. A lovely read.

last week's reading § next week's reading


Oh so cool, I just discovered that someone wrote a wonderful review of Blood Memory at amazon.com (thank you, whoever you are!)

This week (due to work complications mostly but also houseguests and commitments including the fiction workshop, Clarion meetings, a concert and a play scheduled) my 500 word/day, 2,500 words/week idea has been a little difficult to implement, but I'm not giving up yet. This was an unusual week. I hope.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

October-November 1978

994. Write to start writing
October 24, 1978

Not it's time to write and start writing. Say a lot to say, to get started saying because i have to poem. Quickly. Like lightning. So I can go to bed. I'm short-sentencing tonight. I'm tired tonight. This could be why.
In this vast whole I am a small part,
I move and live and have my being
From D. H. Lawrence's letters. I don't know where he got it from. Yawn! I am so tired. Pretty near collapse as far as I can tell. I'm boring and need sleep. Aye, I do. Randy, good night on the boat where you are. Enjoy. [Quote from Canadian poet J. Michael Yates omitted.]
     This is. The existential is. I must deal with being.
     (Being small?) I must have an important dream. To do that I must sleep (to sleep perchance to dream...) WATCH IT!! You're a lot smaller than you think!
     I'm losing it, losing my mind, loosing my mind. G'nite, g'nite, g'nite, gnip gnop. Rum tum. De dum. Shoo de do wah wah. I can't/won't ever write a poem at this rate. (Sorry Robin [1], but I died last night, goodnight, goodnite.)
     Slimey goddam. Quarter to one. Watery windows. Yes. Yes. There is water. May times count. The sunning mistake.

995. Yes!!

In this vast whole I am a small part,
I move and live and have my being.

996. Coming Unstuck
Thurs. Nov. 2

I have come unstuck, unglued, separate from the "I" of myself. All of those things I have done with a vague fear or superstition of, I have realized are legal, part of me, separate from I. Reality is not part of me, separate from I. Reality is not part of me it is me. Time is the same. Not real. I have truly lost all sense of the watch.
I have lost all sense of everything except being
This is. My god was a revelation. I can cope above and beyond this, but it is merely coping. Is all. That's it. Must remember this existence. Must remember talking with Harold. This is important. I feel now that I will always live in this state, but there must be a return. Odysseus ever returning. Yes.
     I will return to my identity, I merely want to learn this state before I do.
     This is all I have feared all my life & more.
     I have come apart
     To everyone else in the world I am mad
     but only I know what madness is.
     Time is so strange and accelerates and decelerates. I can't keep a hold of what I'm doing from second to second. I feel irresponsible, and i keep grasping truths about myself--truth? Could be falsehoods as easily. Yes, I am easily influenced. This separation (mind/body dualism taken to the extreme). This is day 2 of separation or night 3. Is this what D.H. Lawrence means by living in your blood? This frightening. I feel like a terrified young girl. I feel powerful and strong living over this. I am learning who I am. I hope when this is over I will remember the truth of this and not how hysterical it is. Opposite I mean, opposites that are irreconcilable and both true. I have my defenses on, I must be careful my body doesn't betray me. This requires a super awareness. Concentration about things I normal don't bother [about].
     Now I'm home trying to remember how I think, keeping waking up and thinking this must all be some kind of dream, else I really am going insane. No one's home and that matters to me. Randy never even phoned and that makes me very sure that he doesn't love me. I need someone to cling to now. Randy can't hear when I cry for help, like I did on the phone. He doesn't care that I need him here, or at least over the phone to be supportive. I am all alone.
     We all are all alone.
     I am beginning to realize that there never will be anyone for me. No one will ever love me the way I feel I want to be loved (Hell, I'm not even sure how that is!) God, I don't even know me, the me part of me. I got through the night of work. Amazing! I don't know how I carry on, but I do. I have no physical energy. I only do things by sheer force of will. It is only by will I force myself to obey the social conventions, eg., dress, comb hair. I have to force myself to play the game their way, or even to bother playing at all. What have I done to myself, am I really mad? Am I wandering around in that half-waking space? Am I physically so overtired this is what has happened? What is happening? What exactly is wrong with me? I've lost touch with reality--ok what (which reality what is reality. lost.) I don't normally feel this strange, lost, unformulated way. So disconnected from my physical self which lives in reality. I haven't changed through I thought I might now be able to write with my right hand, but I haven't changed enough. I keep wondering why I can't do it and why I even want to do it. Psychic scar from childhood, being left-handed, different?

997. I am still
Fri. Nov. 3

O my, I am still. This is Day 3, if these can be called days. We have decided I am going through an existential crisis. The "i"ness of me is being questioned. Holy cow. Harold helped me today.
     I am more aware of the small moves it takes to get through life. Suddenly they take a frightful amount of energy. This is a long stone. This is not what it is. Everything is frightening. I am learning how much I have to trust my instincts. I have to trust myself. I don't trust myself, not me. I don't even know the me to trust. My name. Harold and I burnt my name today
     I must do
     I have a poem to write
     Doing is important, keep this body of mine busy, chuffing up to heaven.
     My framework is over, I have to building a new one--no, not true, I don't need any more framework, I need to get to the core of what the framework's all about.

998. Day 4
Sat. Nov. 4

This is Day 4. Better, but still no continuity. Less surprise, less waking up, except maybe I'm still as bad, just getting used to it. Having a breakdown. Wow, hey wow. Loads better. Steve says I should get drunk. Harold says I should get laid. Nothing forthcoming in either direction. Can't write. Mind runs out before I get anywhere. I'm tired. That's all.

999. Day 5
Sun. Nov. 5

This is day five. I am still managing to concentrate, to do things as long as I keep jogging my memory. Things are still very difficult to do. I think that they always have been, it's just now in my divorce from myself that I realize just how hard these things are for me. Except they are easier because I am less aware that I am actually doing them--the problem is: will I be able to write two (2) good essays (trys essayer = to try). I cannot even write now unless I try. Interesting evening last night with Lorna & Ernie. Interesting, fun. God, entertaining conversation. Words from Randy but no presence. Can't see him. He's not there to see. (Sigh.) I'll have to go to church to see him, and I don't want to go. Church seems to me that largest waste of time right now, and I resent anything wasting my time. Time. This has something to do with time and despair.
     What I write here is boring.
     My thoughts are no longer realizations.
     I am going to write a play about a man chained to an arm. Two men were chained together escaping. One died. The other found it too much to travel dragging a whole body so he broke the rest of it off with a rock. He is unaware of the gruesomeness of his situation, he only sees what he has had to do. He can even use it as a weapon when he is threatened or cornered. The idea somehow appeals ot me (with the appeal of horror or terror).
     My cat just came in. My heart feels full. I could love anyone (Randy, Harold, Steve), My cat sat for a short while on my lap (cat sat on the mat). Little things I forget doing. Eyebrows. Yes.


Comment about writing this since grade 11, start Fall of 1974 and this being Fall of 1978. About my changes showing through this journal.


1. This was my first class with Robin Skelton, who turned out to be a mentor and a dear, dear friend. I miss him still.

last week's Phonosnout § next week's Phonosnout

Last Week § Les Semaines index § Next Week

Email comments, questions, and complaints to neile@sff.net § Neile's main page

4785 people have wandered through this week with me