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Les Semaines

01.07.29

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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Last (Sixth) Week of Clarion

Sunday was a slow day. I was supposed to drive Ellen to the airport (and have a chance to say goodbye to her) but Leslie ended up doing it since they were in an area pretty close to the airport. So my day was a little quieter than I'd thought and so I actually got last week's entry up on time. A few hours early, even. Amazing. I headed over to the dorms about 4:00 to give a box of computer parts to one of the students who is shipping them home to use and to share with local writers, then I met with Leslie briefly, and then we had our usual Sunday meeting, talking about all the things we need to do to wrap the workshop up, and then Jack Womack came upstairs and met the students and talked to them a while about characterization. I was surprised at just how delighted I was to see Jack. I guess it is because I do tend to see Ellen every couple of years at conventions and have seen Geoff and Pat in London and Geoff has visited here since Clarion, but I haven't see Jack in the five years since he taught at my Clarion.

Monday was my tits-in-a-wringer day. Sorry, that's the way I think of it, and so I might as well say it as it is. In other words, I had my every-other-year mammogram. I can't believe I never mentioned in 1999, which was my first one, but looking through my archives, I don't seem to have. I guess I was being delicate, but the event was highly memorable because not only was it my first one, but I've spent the intervening two years dreading having to do it again as I was in such pain for a week after last time. Luckily it wasn't bad at all this week, as the pain last time made me really grumpy.

Spent much time catching up on Ectophiles' Guide stuff this week, organizing the discs that have come in for review and finally sending out a list of the discs to The Guide's reviewers.

The last week of class was low energy, the students having already had burned out on the whole event. Only one student missed one class, but another was rather late, though in the long run that doesn't really matter. I just wish the one student who skipped class had told someone that was what she was doing. People had seen her in the morning and then she simply never arrived, and we had a bit of a panic until the Campion Tower desk person was kind enough to go upstairs and check to see that she was all right.

Jack was great in the classroom, his usual sardonic, damn smart, and funny self, talking about endings of stories and his new work as a publicist and a bit about writing novels. At his reading, a rarely seen member of our class made an appearance. Not only that, but his article in Paranoia magazine was immediately followed by that of someone else I know. Coincidence? No, a personal message to me.

But someone the week slipped away and was over soon soon soon. Clarion Graduation was fun but I can't talk too much about it or there will be no surprises for next year. The students had a wonderfully funny song to sing about their experiences and about the class, "The Clarion Blues". We packed up the classroom and took everything away to be stored in the office. The party that night was the bittersweet one where people can't believe it will be years again before most of them manage to be in the same physical space again, and it's unlikely the class will ever be entirely together again. A painful night but fun, too.

Saturday we all met at the dorms at 10:30 (more like 11:00) on our part and packed up the dorm stuff and sorted through all the food that was left and moved the dorm equipment back to the Clarion office. Several of the students were around still, but seemed to be pretty absorbed in the whole packing and saying goodbye efforts and I felt as though I'd already said goodbye to everyone a few too many times.

I hate goodbyes.

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

Listening

Not so much listening this week.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl is receiving some buzz to try to capture the Harry Potter (see my July 23, 2000 entry) market. It has a glittery, eye-catching, fantasy-driven cover, a website, a puzzle in the book with prizes, promises of a movie to come, and everything that Harry Potter didn't have when it started out. It really doesn't deserve all this hype. In fact, though it will probably make a fun movie, the book doesn't deserve any hype. The biggest problem with this book is that there's no one to connect with or to root for. The main character, Artemis Fowl, isn't particularly likeable or fun and his actions certainly don't make him sound particularly intriguing even as a villain. And none of the people who oppose him are inviting, either. This may be because the author doesn't give us enough of them and a movie might serve to give us likeable actors playing those roles and so be better than the novel, but the novel is a boring tale of a young (12 years old) rich, smart (they tell us) entrepreneur who inveigles a copy of the faeries' secret book and uses what he learns there to swindle gold from them. He is opposed by a group of faeries called the LEPrecons (clever, eh?), a special force that serves to keep faeries away from human and keep the faeries' world secret. Someone with a copy of their book is thus, of course, their greatest fear. This really should have been good and fun but wasn't at all. Blah.

Patricia Veryan's Practice to deceive is a romance set in Jacobean England right after the battle of Culloden when all Jacobean supporters were being persecuted. Our heroine has fallen in love with the younger son of a friend of her recently deceased father, and her evil uncle has taken over the estate as her older brother is missing and presumed dead. But her uncle has a prisoner he's torturing downstairs in his study. It's her lost love! I'm sorry, but I found this novel awkwardly written and so it couldn't ever quite hook me in, despite my sympathy for its setting and period and the Jacobeans.

Georgette Heyer's The Grand Sophy was tons of fun. I've recently (see my March 18 and July 8 entries) read several of her other books and enjoyed them much more than I thought I would. This was was probably the most pure fun of them all. It's the story of a family turned around by the visit of a cousin, the Sophia of the title, who is known to some of her friends as The Grand Sophy. She's spirited and willing to manipulate people for their own good and for the good of others, and this of course causes all sorts of problems for the family.

I also sort of scrambled through Herbert Read's The Green Child because I was only half-interested in it. It's the story of an Englishman who becomes the benevolent dictator of a state in South America and then returns to the U.S. to find a woman, the Green Child of his youth, a strange young green and alien woman who withe her brother (who died shortly) was found near the moors. She's not human but was absorbed into the community. An odd and interesting book, but for me not absorbing. More full of its ideas than telling its tale.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

Sorting through critique versions of the Bryony's Needle chapters so far. Another writing prep activity. Writing prep activity is writing.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

February 1980

1114. I bin sick                                                                              February 7th 1980

Yesterday I was struck down by mighty blow. All I did was sleep. I couldn't wake up at all until 7:00 pm, when I stayed awake for five hours and slept again until 10:30 this morning. I even had a temperature, but it's gone now, and I feel quite normal today, 'ceptin' I don't walk very well yet, and have nothing to say. Flu-mindless I call it. Food don't taste right and I don't know what to do. I feel well enough that I should work, but can't get up the oomph to do it. The radio is crooning gooey awful love songs in my ear, making nausea one of my symptoms, and irritation the other. I really don't like this station. I should turn it off, or change stations of something, anything. I hate being sick, and I hate it when my fountain pen isn't flowing well, like now.

1115. Fog seeping into me                                                                      February 8th 1980

I had a minor relapse into exhaustion and mindlessness today. There's nothing wrong, but it's not right, either, and I don't know what to do with myself. I can do anything except get interested in anything or think today. I wonder if I can sleep; I wonder if I can stay awake. It seems I've been somewhere in between the two all day, but at neither end of the awake/asleep scale. I've been in a sort of half-doze today, all day, and I was so certain that I would just keep feeling better and a better. Instead, I've had a day of the same blah endless-feeling state. As though the fog that seeped through the trees on the ridge this morning seeped into me. I love fog, but not when it fills me. I'm thinkless, which is even lower than being thankless, and leaves me somewhere out in that white, looking for any sense of direction. Even gravity isn't strong on me today, and the white washes over my sense of being vertical, or horizontal, or...whatever it is I am, spinning in all this nameless white. I somehow have the feeling (or is it the irritated hope?) that I will eventually come out of this and all my direction will be clearer because of it, my up and down and my awake asleep. Everything will come sharper, in focus, in bright individual, almost surreal colours...but for now O this white.

1116. The fog crawls slowly back out                                                           February 9th, 1980

Rather like the beast from 20,000 fathoms, or some kind of creepy crawly leaving its slime inside of me. I'm waking up again, coming alive again. Soon I will be well and doing, able to kick sleep off me like the blanket I take off when I wake up.
     I will be in to dream again--instead of these silly dreams I've been having about things I could think about, dreams about things I can only dream about. Dreams that turn into poems, dreams that carry me steps farther into new territory.
     ...to keep exploring, to find the new territory, to learn it and move on. The process of adding up, miles adding and adding behind me but somehow inside me. My landscape drawing and filling me...filling me with words and images growing, gathering into poems...another one of my dream-rants about poetry...one o the things that all my thoughts, all of me boils down to. I boil down to a poem. hope I'm worth it. If I can write the poem that is me...better yet the poem that I can grow into, the poem that will take me into winter...sometimes in winter (from a letter to Brenda).

1117. Days of the Same                                                              Feb 10th - 12th 1980

These days I have been coming coming out of the fog, trying to gather my pieces together while fighting the mists. I have had to cope with working nights each night, trying to type, when my mind wasn't in the right mode--typing whole words backwards, and not noticing until far too late. I have been having so much trouble getting organized. I spend so much time at Gillain that it is throwing school into shadow, and when I go to classes I often wonder if Im really finished with classes, already graduated, and I only think I have a class. I must spend more time up there and get my work organized, because I have a lot to do, and not very much time to get it all done. The hardest is to disengage my mind from everything else, and get started...particularly on my poems. I want to get some out quickly, but have revisions to be done first. I am at home with much work to do before tomorrow's classes, reading and writing, and it's five past one already, and I'd like sleep. I have been doing too many hours at Gillain for my sanity, and it drains poor me to be doing all this--that's why I do such stupid things as getting the 'flu (how unreasonable I am). I am all bothered now thinking about it all ahead, and must start on it all.

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