Les Semaines


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


What is in my pocketses?

This is my really big pocket that I carry around, my drag-around-with-me-to-work-and-all bag.

It's off-white with green lettering, on one side saying "The League of Canadian Poets" and their address and a list of bookstores, and on the other side saying "Books of poetry are also books about journeys, science, survival, war, horror, bravery, nature, spirits sensuality, pain, healing, madness, music, magic, paradise, friends, legends, childhood, women, men, & love" in various dramatic fonts. Inside that:

  • 2 ancient (1997!) New Yorker magazines to entertain me on bus
  • rattling nearly empty tin of Grether's blackcurrant pastilles
  • transparent white plastic envelope to hold stuff I carry to work or take home from work (currently empty as I just took out my paystub that has been sitting in there for days. No, wait, there is something in there:
    • Clarion West business cards
    • a banquet permit I bought from the liquor store for the reception for the big lecture I'm missing on Thursday)
  • green plastic envelope that I use to carry stuff to and from the Clarion West office (currently empty)
  • tin ancient lip gloss made by Village and probably well over 10 years old (yes, I know I should toss it)
  • battered black leather purse bought at Pike Place Market many many years ago, containing:
    • fish scale nail board (remember those?)
    • nail clippers
    • Chinese folding scissors
    • plastic hairbrush
    • comb
    • 2 pens
    • Handspring Visor (new so now no datebook, address book, or notebook)
    • wallet:
      • various coins (about 31 cents)
      • some folding money (mostly ones, alas, adding up to about $9)
      • credit cards
      • ID cards, including Resident Alien card
      • stores' buy-12-get-1-free cards
      • extra house and car keys that I put in there in the days when I was always forgetting my keys at work which I rarely do now thanks to carrying these extra keys around
    • tape measure
    • mirror
    • tweezers
    • packet of nasty stiff facial tissues, worse than the sandpapery ones from work
    • tin of caffeinated peppermints
    • forgotten unopened tin of chocolate mint Velamints (whoo!)
    • dental floss sample from dentist
    • tin of ibuprofen
    • cute sewing kit I bought at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul
    • Inside two small interior pouches:
      • safety pin
      • various small paper clips
      • moist towelettes
      • SHOUT spot remover towelettes
      • various bandaids, mostly small, clearly have been in here a long time
      • covered hair elastics
      • 3 Pepto Bismal tablets
      • 1 barrette
    • Inside large exterior pouch:
      • 2 quarters
      • 1 dime
      • bit of white beach glass from friend in England (hi, Lisa!)
      • paper clips
      • grotty paper from Certs
      • half-eaten roll of Certs
      • Elephant Lube lip balm in rosemary lime
      • covered hair elastic
      • one unused kleenex (I'm glad I got rid of any used ones before I had to catalog them here)
      • 2 pens
    I think that's everything, though I didn't do an exhaustive search.

    Coat pockets:

    • more kleenex
    • large wad of keys
  • candles
  • light
(See poem below.)

I wonder if it's true that you know a person by what she carries. I shudder to think what all this says about me. I know that it is clear that I like to be prepared.

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


Still listening to the delight that is Eliza Carthy's new album, angels & cigarettes, which I finally added to her page on The Ectophiles' Guide, First of June's new album, Kristin Hersh's new album, Sunny Border Blue. And the other day a new disc arrived for review for The Ectophiles' Guide, Simon Wilcox's Mongrel of Love, which i think I just played four times in a row. It's rather jazzy in the Ani Difranco vein, and I just put it on for run #5 (or so). Not me, I'm not obsessive.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Sumner Locke Elliott's The Man Who Got Away was another book that was recommended on rec.arts.sf.composition, because of its interesting structure. I recently read Edens Lost (February 11) and so I was sort of prepared for this. This is a fascinating concept: a man escapes from his life and slips backwards through time to relive it. The book begins with his wife realizing he's gone and coping with his loss, and then the book shows scenes from his life as he slips in and out of them, gradually revealing more and more things about himself. I found it intriguing, and might have enjoyed it even more had I not had so very little reading time recently and so I could only read a few pages just before bedtime. I suspect this might be better read as straight through as possible.

last week's reading § next week's reading


"I don't know why I wanted to be a writer. It's like having homework all the time."
     --Sara Astruc of Perfect Way

Boy that line hit me hard because it describes how I feel so much right now. It's nagging at me and all the time I feel as though I am pushing a deadline.

My fiction workshop got cancelled this week so today was a free day. You'd think I'd have done more with it, like writing or our taxes.

I wish I still had some of that energy and joy displayed in Phonosnout these days. Though I still whined about writing, poems kept popping out of nowhere. I know they could do that now if I gave them the chance. I should give them the chance. I will give them the chance.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

October-November 1979

1038. Sunday morning
October 21st

Drinking guava juice and reading Gaspard de la Nuit--trying to wake without cursing. Working. Last night I argued and was as contrary as I can be--baiting a friend of Russell's--but I learned a lot about what I do believe and how different I am from the mainstream. I never realized. I thought with my basic suburban middle-class upbringing (except the people--I know few "typical" people) that I would be really little different from other people--now I know how separate and apart I really am (and must be). Nice to know that I'm different; wish I were more so. My opinions are my own, and are products of everything that I am and everyone I believe. (Yes, I believe people.) I also never realized how contradictory I am and worse/better -->how it doesn't bother me. It was fun.

1039. Saturday afternoon
October 27th

Back at, forever at, work again. I've got to think about writing a Cynghanedd (Draws, not Gross, at least) when my mind is unpatterned. I have to try, and I want the best, well, and, yes, done. Parties, O, so dull (especially last night) but Linda's friends aren't. There was a case of segregation, separation, time wasting. Got to get more ready to send out. (Poems.) My mind, my life, and poems. Poems busy mattering through my life and into my mind. Poems busy growing, sprouting (fallow for the winter).

1040. Cynghannedd after much pain
October 28th, Sunday

Not too sense-making, but at least (and this is what is important) existent:
     With sounds like rain, I rub your wounds with sand
     so raw they bleed. Now the pains are with you
     all night, and fall like the rain will not end.
     In the air of winter you have no other view. [1]

1041. After daylight savings end
Sun. 10:05 pm

I have to work 'til 11:00, which feels so like 12:00. This is another endless evening. I phoned Harold to talk about Cynghanedd and just to talk. I don't feel like doing any reading. I have worked hard to turn my mind off all night.
     I want to do nothing--I don't feel like doing anything ("Sleep?" She asks hopefully). O, Mr. Bill, you weren't on last night.
     I work with my fountain pen, learning to use it properly, to learn my own hand. I just like to write. I would like to write a long poem, a long good poem. SO much of the problem is laziness and mind being off (unplugged). my messy hand. This is not so much journal as babble to fill in time and space, waiting. My eyes sting with time, and smoke, and dust, and.... Goodnight, I would like to be able to say. "Why does this pen miss so many lines?) I can overhear the TV speaking about a Church (Bible quoting) to promotes the use & importation of marijuana. Oh, interesting--strange. Sunday night & this babbling has, yes, fulfilled some sort of function, yes, it has killed 16 minutes.

1042. Checking our pockets for candles
October 31st 1979

     Looking for some kind of light
     we find each other in this cave,
     this birthing dark.
     We check out pockets for candles
     or matches, finding neither
     we link hands and begin the crawl
     into the thick darkness
     Our footsteps echo
     in some kind of stone ravine.
     We can only travel forward.
     discovering faces
     unmasked by the darkness, (we are still in the writing.) <-- Title
     we discover our own faces,
     our own hands checking our pockets
     for candles. [2]

1043. Fighting Flu
November 2, 1979

Mostly certainly, and with great fervour am I fighting fever, trying to kick it out of my body (go away!!). I'm so tired and dizzy. (Sizzle.) I like to be feeling well. I like to feel awake--wide awake & energetic. (But I rarely am.)
     This is such a night, and i have to work two more (but I've only 45 min. left). This was a good & interesting shift tonight, I pray that the next are.
     This is such a night. I wish that the places that are taking off so near the building were taking off with me in them. That would be the nicest, best, & greatest. Away, I'd like to sail away...O, yes I would.


1. This is actually not a Cynghannedd. I'm not sure what it is.

2. A very similar version of this poem appears in Seven Robins, and is indeed entitled "We are Still in the Writing".

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

3251 people have wandered through this week with me