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Les Semaines

01.04.29

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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Another Busy

Another busy week. It's getting so it would just be easier to note when it isn't a busy week. Somehow it's not so dramatic, though, to simply say "Whoa! What a quiet week!" or "life has been wonderfully calm and relaxing!" "I've had time to catch up and feel like I'm on top of everything!" (and other myths).

Thing is, I'm one of those people who needs a lot of downtime. A lot of downtime. Some people get their strength from being out and being social but I find being out a lot just uses me up. after a busy week I'm just out of resources. None there. Today I feel like a wadded-up kleenex, and it's the day before another work week when I'm supposed to feel at least a little re-charged. After so many years of Sunday being writing day, don't make any appointments or plans day, having long workshops on Sundays is messing with my energy resources.

So, this week. Monday was a poetry workshop. Only three of us (out of a group of seven) made it, and only two of us had poems. But I had a brand new poem. That was nice. We still didn't get home any earlier because we socialized and weren't quite as on task as we are when the whole group is there. Anyway, I was pleased with the help my poem got, and so very pleased to have a new poem.

Tuesday wasn't too busy a day, which was a good thing because the vegan chocolate cake we had at the office for a co-worker's birthday didn't agree with me. And instead of dinner and a play on Wednesday night that was cancelled and we went and had sushi at a local restaurant with Tamar instead. Jim is kindly tolerating our taste for sushi, and, I hope, even starting to like it himself. At least he doesn't order other dishes when we get sushi and he eats it so maybe it's growing on him.

Thursday and Friday were simply errand-running, trying-to-accomplish-something days. I think. I can't really remember.

Saturday night I was on a panel in Redmond, at an event called Write Out Loud!, talking about crossing genres in my writing. There were six of us talking about crossing from SF to fantasy, romance to fantasy, thrillers to SF, historical to SF, poetry to genre fiction. When I was first asked to be on the panel, I told the moderator that I kept poetry and fiction quite separate, then I spent my time talking about the similar themes (the interest in mythic patterns in particular) between my fiction and poetry, and how "Furious" was published as a short story in an SF/F magazine and then reprinted in Blood Memory as a prose poem. It was an interesting discussion going back and forth, and then we all read for about 10 minutes. The talk afterwards with the audience was interesting, too, and then a bunch of us went out for drinks to talk even more. That was fun, too, but I didn't get home until nearly midnight, and then had to get myself to West Seattle (forgetting that the best route there was closed for repairs for damage caused by our February earthquake) in time for a fiction workshop. There we discussed the first chapter of Bryony's Needle, my young adult novel. Now I'm home and have cooked and eaten dinner and am hoping to make a slightly early night of it.

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

Listening

I've been obsessing again with Splashdown, playing blueshift over and over. And Veda's Field Study. And generally annoying Jim any way I can.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

Amy Tan's The Bonesetter's Daughter seems, like her other novels, to be closely (especially emotionally) based on her own life and relationships. In fact, the photograph on the front cover is of her maternal grandmother, and the part of the story parallels mentions of her own grandmother and mother's story. The story is two narratives: first the tale of contemporary Ruth, dealing with her partner, her partner's daughters, and her mother who is beginning to show signs of Alzheimer's; the second story is the tale her mother wrote down of her mother's and of her own life. Ruth is a ghostwriter and can periods when she literally cannot speak, but she needs to deal with her mother's ills and deal with the awkwardnesses of her own life. Well-written and an easy, interesting read, I enjoyed this novel but suspect that shortly--as with Amy Tan's other novels--I won't be able to remember much about it, or even whether or not I've read it.

I also completed the last in Lloyd Alexander's Prydain series for young adults, The High King. This is the tale where the threats from the lord of the underworld, Annwn, reach their peak and the people of Prydain are forced to their utmost abilities to save their country from him. This series gets steadily richer and more powerful as it goes along, and this is a fine conclusion to the series. I must say, though, that sometimes the quirks the characters have in place of well-rounded characterization really got on my nerves.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

I finished a poem! This is another poem about Scotland, this about remembering meeting a farmer when we were parking outside the remains of a Pictish hillfort. Didn't have time to work on much fiction, but will have to gear up again to turn chapter two of Bryony's Needle into the fiction group by our Wednesday deadline.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

December 1979

1057. My Christmas poem for Robin
December 5th, 1:10 am

     December
     The year goes out like an
     old bitch, stiffened with age
     Christmas is her
     last litter of pups:
     the hope she leaves behind
     that is part of her destruction.

1058. That's it
December 6, 1979

That's it for the 5th, now for the 6th...after the girl finishes typing out her first on a long list of assignments (an effort that only takes 8 hrs. to compleat [sic]) she washes her hair and dresses up in her pretties and goes to Robin's party (Yay!). Gets quite drunk has a great time talking and come homes and doesn't want to sleep (Y'know, I cudda danced all night...). Drip. There is so little to say when you've typed for either hours then gone to a party. I found out how Robin and Sylvia got married, which is rather a French farce--they were both married to different people, their spouses fell in love with each other, and they were feeling left out and so Robin said, "We'll be wed." and they were. I also learned how Jeni Couzyn & David Day got married. Jeni was in Victoria for a reading and was complaining that she hadn't a man. She wrote a spell for a husband and met David at the reading. Nice spell (shall I try it??) [1]

1059. Seventh
December 7, 1979

This is the seventh of so many days, and is the last day of classes of the quickest session I have been through. O pressure, pressure. After class I went downtown and bought ten Malahat Reviews and two used copies of Pat Lane's books (Albino Pheasants and Unborn Things). Nicens. Then went with 3 girls and worked on a take-home exam, had a great time, went for a cider afterwards. Great stuff. Had a fun time, and got some work done (so much more, O hell). So now, now, I wander through the days with a more than glazed look on my face, knowing war is hell, and even peace ain't so great, and my cat has left dirty pawprints on my bedside table and on the record changer dust cover, and my parents are asleep upstairs, and you're probably asleep in in Vancouver, and Michael's probably asleep at home, and hear I am scratching away at this paper, saying nothing worth saying, and I am sorry I'm boring you. I know I must be because I'm boring me.
     Good night.
[Quote from Larry Norman about death being conquered though others sleep omitted.]

1060. Gillain
December 8th 1979

Yes, here I am again--like I always am. This is the place that makes me want to scream right now. I feel as though I'm doing my time, my sentence, my punishment. I do like the money, though, that is the all right parti. (O, the ungrateful wretch that I am). I spend so much of my days now stretching myself out after the cramping of my mind and limbs. Gillain is quiet tonight, even with all the extra people here for the Saturday night A.A. meeting. Did I mention that I made Robin a Christmas present--I wrote out a quatrain that I had written for him (actually a Clerihew) and framed t. ("Robin Skelton / Had quite a pelt on-- / Covered with either suit or hair / From his here unto his there.") That was fun. It was a good party as I already told you. (I have discovered that I rather like parties, especially this type of one.) I must be growing up, tastes are changing. In Giradoux's Electra he talks about "becoming oneself." Both electra and Aegisthus go through this. I think I am in the process of becoming myself, though of course there are times when I am more myself than others, and people with whom I am more myself than others. More and more of the time I am more and more myself. Except, of course, Giradoux means something slightly different than that I am describing. This hardly matters. Ah, Girardoux's beggar-god in Electra. marvellous. Altogether, one of the best plays I have read, especially for this course. And the Eumenides that grow up before your eyes....

NOTES

1. I gather the marriage didn't last long, though.

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