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Les Semaines

01.09.02

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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The Last of Summer

Staying up late in the night is like being drunk. You're listening to music and suddenly hidden layers of meaning unfold. The good news is that you can usually remember these revelations the next day and sometimes it's not just the scotch talking. The revelation stay revealing. That's a good thing.

Late at night the mind is open, the instincts open, things can arise from the subconscious, bubble up like boiling water. If you're like me, that helps the critical mind subside and the words come freely. Editing them stops mattering and what becomes important is the flow.

I'm going to miss that. Going back to work on Tuesday means getting up at 6:00 means no more staying up to 3:00. Alas, alas.

Listening was a big part of my week. So was writing.

While I was listening to the new Two Loons disc, I was first taking the blossoms off the lavender I've dried from our garden. It's mindless work, perfect to keep the hands busy when you want to listen. Once that was done, I transferred the blossoms to a plastic bag, and had to pick the final bits of twigs and stems out. Tamar was over and we were talking and suddenly I had a flash from my wild youth, and started saying, "No stems no seeds, that you don't need..." and started laughing. It was just like cleaning pot. So this is what I do in my old age: it's dope no longer, it's garden herbs to make clothes smell nice. How the Mighty Have Fallen. or at least how the rebel comes back to ground.

Or something like that. We had a good laugh at the time.

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

Listening

Late night writing has inspired the re-introduction of many favourite cds, and I've been able to listen to them again in new ways. I can indulge in my desire to hear the same cd over and over. One cd I had pretty much overlooked when I got it has made a serious new impression on me: Bird York's cd Bird. She has an odd and delightful voice, but one of the most interesting things about the cd is that it full of dramatic monologues telling different people's stories. One of the songs, "Open Wide" about a young runaway speeding in a boyfriend's car caught that dangerous stage of life when the world is just opening before you so well it gives me shivers.

In other news, I got a taste of the new Two Loons for Tea's forthcoming album, just for about 24 hours (he didn't actually pick it up until the next day, so I had it with me on my late-night writing session, and a line from one of the songs now haunts that section of my novel).

Here's what I wrote to the ecto mailing list Friday night:

I'm sitting at my computer listening for the second time to the rough mixes of Two Loons for Tea's forthcoming album. I'm spoiled by living in the same city as the band, as Jonathan Kochmer dropped them off earlier this afternoon. The sad thing is that later on today he'll be picking up the disc, and so I won't be able to hear them again until...hmmm...October maybe? Probably longer than that, as he's off to California to work more on the mixes at Skywalker Ranch.

He's asked me not to make copies, even for myself, and so of course I'm honouring that, as he was generous enough to let me hear these in the first place, but it's hard hearing this now and knowing I won't be able to hear it again for months.

Those of you who have heard the first album know what to expect. This is clearly the next step in their musical journey. I would say that this is more or that this is better, except in no way would I want to denigrate that first album, which I love and can play to death with no worries of ever tiring of it. I would say there's more variety in this, except there's plenty of variety in the first album too.

The songs are catchy, enough that the second time through I can sing along a little (I'm alone in the house so I can risk that and the cats have thus far resisted being driven to suicide by my singing--I can't carry a tune worth a damn unless I sing into my own ear).

These songs are beautiful, memorable, earthy, light, and dark, all all colours, and they'll take you places as you listen.

These songs are edgy and familiar, carefully constructed and yet with a sense that they haven't been worked to death and allow for serendipity and the delights of invention.

I was taking lavender blossoms off the stems as I listened, which somehow seemed appropriate--spicy and powerful.

I can't imagine what else they're going to do to finish these tracks but it's going to be some album.

I can hardly wait.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

I've been working on the same long novel all week, but I did finish reading Starlight 3, which I've been gradually working on for several weeks. I wouldn't say this collection was my favourite of the series but that could be my personal dislike of things to do with religion, and stories with religious connotations bookended this volume. The stories were all interesting and above average in inventiveness. I enjoyed every one of them, but there isn't one of them haunting my head or giving me revelations. Maybe my head is already too full of such things.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

Every night I've been up late adding words to Gypsy Davey. I procrastinate as long as I can, listening to music and playing solitaire and checking my email and buzzing about online downloading songs or whatever, but then, eventually, I start to get tired and realize I have to get to sleep so I'll have to start writing so I'll allow myself to go down and crash.

Tonight is my last night of this, since on Tuesday morning I go back to work. To me, this is heaven. I work 11 months to be able to do this. I hope I don't stall out--I can see the end of the novel approaching, very much like the light at the end of a tunnel.

It has been interesting--my characters have insisted on making personal changes that I wasn't expecting--at least not like this. My main character, a physically and sexually abused woman, decided to break her chains. I mean, I wanted her to, but she definitely did it when I wasn't quite expecting...and it was a surprise to me but it was the right time. Interesting how these things take shape. I thought it was farther down the line, but there's still more to happen.

I just hope I get time to write what happens before 2010.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

March 1980

Fu dogs and Trina                                                                        March 5, 1980

Today was my workshop day, and thus a full one, finishing off "Watch What is Happening", rushing to class to hear Robin's lecture on W.S. Graham--a lot of déjàa vu from my essay--and then to Daphne Marlatt's reading (hypnotically the same voice throughout, the poems not my thing) which however helped me to get a poem in my mind which I ran upstairs to type out and run off and the duplicating machine. Then the workshop, which was good, we all got in a strange and perverse mood, laughing. Ann's poem was incredibly powerful; I envy her that poem. It has really stuck in my mind.
     This evening Trina had some kind of anxiety attack or something hysterical. Mom and Dad talked to her on the phone, and I went over with her favourite story "The Poky Puppy" and read to her. Jocelyn told her it was time to sleep, so I lay down beside her, and we whispered. She told me she heard the cars on the road, and turned over and put her arm around me, and we breathed very close to each other's faces. Finally I had to get up, so she would sleep. Then I went to talk to Jocelyn.
     The Fu dogs took a moment to catch my eye, but when I saw them it was as if they were blurry then came in focus and obsessed me. I knew they had a poem for me, so I brought them home and now they stare at me from the highboy.

1136. By Myself                                                                        March 6, 1980

Today I practiced being by myself, and the experiment was not altogether a failure. It's not that I had not been by myself in a while, it was just that I avoid certainly places when I am alone. I don't walk downtown at night alone anymore so I did it today. I don't go to crowded places alone, so I did today. I almost went to a movie alone, but decided against it because I probably didn't want to see the movie that much. (Pinter, which I wasn't quite in the right mood for.) Then I went to John's birthday party, and did things I'm not good at doing--talking to people I don't know, driving someone home I don't really like re-entering the party. These are things I felt somehow I had to learn.
     I had my session with Robin today, and I had to learn from that, too. Not to be disappointed that he wasn't as expansive with me as he was with Harold, accepting his not overflowing compliments and mostly accepting that he doesn't feel he should give me any more guidance. I am truly on my own now, and I will make or break me. Not that there isn't more that Robin could give me, but simply that I should be able to be objective enough to realize by own direction.

1137. A head and hope                                                                        March 7, 1980

A rather nothing day, but an evening with Ann, which was very pleasant. We just had dinner, a drink, and talk, and shared confidences. The last sounds awful--I mean we talked and she helped me deal with some of the problems in my poems, particularly the older ones.

1138. Stresstense                                                                        March 8, 1980

Today I am stresstense, and am unable to relax my mind, or to relax in any way. I'm not running around, I'm sitting here at work unable to move, only able to sit here tense and stupid, a lump on this chair. I wish I could run around and wear this off, but there's no place to go that's within running distance of this switchboard, so I'd best behave myself and remain her like a rhinoceros on this chair. Today I did some useful cutting out so that I may do some sewing in a few days. i find sewing very therapeutic, and when I am this tense I can use therapy. Sitting here isn't helping at all, and all my muscles are stiffening.

1139. Within/Without me                                                                        March 9, 1980

Today I am no longer in a panic, and feel relaxed about it all, though I still feel that I would like some exercise. I would like to walk in the woods for a long time and feel wild and mossy, but here I am still, again, at this desk.
     Now I write later, with a rather abrupt change of mood.
     I am trying to punish myself, make myself good and sick to erase some guilt that I feel. It is really wonderful what I'm doing to myself here. I never realized that I was quite so masochistic. It's something about the carpet cleaner roaring right next to me, and the mood I've been in recently (not bad, but pressured, especially about my plans and ideas and direction). I don't know anything about what is going to happen to me, except that I will be alone. And I feel it, I feel very much on my own and distant from everyone. I don't want to stay here, I want to move on but I'm not sure where I want to go. There has to be something I can do to get away from all the hard faces. I want to fold into myself. Why did such a fine mood turn into an anguish? I am indulging myself in ways I shouldn't, and I am losing my will, except to will ill on myself. This isn't good enough. I have to change my mind and times. It must be time to find another direction.

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