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Les Semaines

01.03.04

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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Earthquake and After

Riding out the earthquake really was amazing. I was at work sitting at my desk when it started, moving like a small boat in the choppy, bumpy water when a distant ferry has passed. I saw a couple of people in my office start heading for doorways, and realized it would be a good idea if I moved to my office doorway, and so I did. The movement seemed to last for a loooooong time. I would say 45 seconds or so where we were. It was fairly smooth and gentle, though strong--not jerky as other earthquakes I've heard about.

I just rode it out and watched everyone else. I wasn't particularly terrified or anything, though I did get a huge adrenaline rush. We were a little stunned when it finally stopped then did the usual chatter and I turned the radio on to find out more about what had happened, then phoned a neighbour to ask if she were willing to go over to our house to check for gas leaks. Funny, I just assumed the cats were fine. She agreed to do that and that since we weren't supposed to tie up phone lines said she'd only phone if something was wrong.

I was glad I'd moved away from my desk because a few things fell out of the cupboard next to it and would have fallen on me. While it was nothing that could have really hurt me, I would have had a few bruises.

The damage where we were felt really minimal and the UW machinery reported it as only 4.6 at first so I wasn't worried that there was much damage, and later was surprised at how much there was in the Pioneer Square area, though it makes sense as that part of town was originally tidal flats (there are stories of toilets in the early buildings there not working during high tide and them having to be built on platforms above the floors to work at all) and a lot of the buildings are made of brick.

Jim was outside in the parking lot next to the building he works in, and saw the asphalt rippling. He was glad to be outside when it happened.

We sort of went back to work (sort of meaning it was hard for any of us to settle down) and then our building was evacuated just on principal but after about 20 minutes outside we were told that if we wanted to go back in, we could, so I did. There were no visible cracks in our concrete building at all, and I never heard it groaning or anything during the process, so I felt pretty safe doing that, and besides, I wanted to get back on the UWBB and to the radio to find out what else was happening.

When I got home I found out that three things had fallen (our Londo and G'Kar Babylon 5 action figures [those who think it's odd that I own action figures, well, there's only the two of them] and an empty, antique Scotch bottle of my grandfather's) but nothing was broken and our pictures were a little askew but that was all. Oh, and after Jim got home about 5:00 Sophia went the wildest I have ever seen her. We actually had to give her a basement timeout to get her to calm down. It was kind of funny (for us though not for Zach who suffered being the target of all lot of her wild energy).

We of course got lots of phone calls from friends and family in other areas and plenty of e-mails from friends (thank you!). I even heard from a few people I haven't heard from in years. My mother phoned and said that they felt the quake just as strongly in Victoria as we did here. Amazing! That's one quake that really kept its power.

I must say it feels very strange to be living in a disaster zone, especially when it touched my life so very little in any permanent way.

The next day was rain and storm, then a glorious salmon sunset. Jim and I stared out our window at it. That kind of sunset should have meant something, or maybe it didn't need to, being so beautiful.

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

Listening

Listening to a new live First of June disc and apparently they have an even newer new album, which I'm really looking forward to. First of June are a piano-and-female-vocals -based band from Ottawa, The singer's voice is very Tori-Amos-like but the songs have their own charming eccentricities and I really like the bands's overall sound and their ability to create a catchy song.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

Wow--too busy to complete even one book this week. I guess I outdid myself last week.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

Starting looking at my ancient young adult fantasy novel, as I was reading in Locus that in the wake of Harry Potter several new SF and Fantasy YA lines are beginning. I'd like to do something with this novel, as I'm still quite fond of it. So now I will be getting it ready to take to my fiction group, which met earlier today.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

July - August 1979

1017. Agony
July 27/79

Here I am again with new words (pen) new day. Salal poem, I'm waiting about the door. The ubruptness of visions. Darkness of visions --> interpretations left open --> there. Potency. Poet does not intrude on the hallucinatory image. Death and Taxes. Poet at the door; people wanting the fugitives that are nearby; talk about the weather. Content. Let it do its own work. Emotion = symbols are those eflourescences are those memories that footstep over out heats & produce emotions. She is deserving & has lost him forever. Self-denial. Why does you heart beat thus? Life? Lack of strength--what makes your heart se beeat? What man is at your side? Chuchulain has returned from the dead --> the statue is still --> masks 7ampl the statues --> something statuesque at least about the play --> we, though astonished are dumb the moment he has looked at you will turn from the statue --> astonished that you have done this --> a passing word. Word.

1018. Left within the vision

No exit--the trap door drops, and it is empty
The heart still beating--I conjure you
The function of static
[Parenthetical quote from Neil Young about castles burning omitted.]
tether the pony to a distant post
leg-legged fly about silence--moving
moves upon silence, the mind/fly on water
the thickness of the salal. Salal.
Looking for Adam. Measurement from God.
Profane pefection of mankind
Limestone
[Yeats' epitaph omitted.]
Lead & the swan
strange heartbeat has to do with the divine
poem has a straonge heartbreat
more powerful than that of mere mortal discourse [1]
a word; a passing word.

1019. Mass
Aug. 7, '79 (Seattle ferry)

All this mass of people breathing, wating behind me. There is so much language chortling gasping breathing down my neck wanting to be fashioned in some manner, in some work. All these people, knocking waiting asking to come in. Wondering about the coming home with all this breath behind me.

1020. The bitter end
August 11/79

On August 8th I was informed of the bitter end. Adam has his Eve, and they are blessed again in the garden. I am Lilith, the screech owl, gone to the other side. Here I wait with eternal patience for news of their fall.
     Lilith, I am lilith, abandoned to nurse my pride. [2]

1021. Stained by the Dark of Summer [3]
August 12/79

I wade into salal
and vines
berries reveal themselves
in kernals that roll down my arms
I twist in the sharp leaves,
step deeply, never sure of the earth beneath
It is summer,
and I sit on its thorns
counting the withered berries.
Dust drives my feet
and settles into the cracks of my body
I call, and it echoes nowhere
my vboice absorbed by the thirsting ground.
If I kep walking, I would arrive
on the rocks above the cemetary
above the highway
but I have already walked too far
into summer, it has cut me deeply.

1022. Visit
August 25/79

It was not far to his place; I went smallboat [4]. I visited Harold in Cawston and there is so much I have to remember--the mountains in the darkness, the light and the lightning, fishing in the rain, the taste of the trout, the heat, following Diane in the vineyards, Harold picking rocks, his cabin, Naramata, crawling up the river, the grasshoppers, the corn, the grapes, dinner with Sally & Wilfred, the wind at night almost lifting the bacin, the long drive and the smell of sagebrush, the petroglyphs and the age of the mountains. 5

1023. Here it is and I am
August 26/79

This is about all there is, with application in many and all directions. The day today, it would have been an anniversary--but isn't 6. So today is an almost anniversary. Here it is and I am. I'm not in pain, but if I really piecked at the wound I could be. It is early morning, and there was the spectacle of the sun coming up, and now it iaa all grayness and silence. I a have only noticed, now that I am back from Cawston where the mountains are a cardle, how much sky there is here. Cawston is now Cawston, it is the Similkameen. It is the cradle of the yellow mountains, the sagebrush, the orchards, and the river, Naramata is the lake, the chalk clay cliffs, and the mountains stepping back away from the lake. Light has a different quality at both places. The sky is different, the mountains tell you it is night. Your day runs by the mountains primarily, and secondarily by what they do to the night. The mountains shimmer in the haze, and you feel as htough you could put your hand through them, yet they are there wihtout question. Here it is, and I am. Without question.


NOTES

1. A revised version of this line appears in my poem "Cassandra" in Seven Robins.

2. Randy broke up with me to start a new relationship with a good Christian girl named Eve.

3. This is very rough first draft (crossings out and arrows and all) of the poem that later became "The End of the Long Season" in Seven Robins.

4. Allusion to A.R. Ammon's poem, Visit.

5. Harold married Diane a couple of years later. Sally & Wilfred were Harold's neighbours and friends, and lived in the house he'd grown up in. Sally was a poet.

6. Had we not broken up, Randy and I would have been going out for a year.

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