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Les Semaines

02.02.17

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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Still Sick and Other Dull Tales

Well, I'm still sick. I do feel better than I did last Sunday, when I couldn't even bring myself to spend enough time at the computer to write a proper entry, but not by much--the cold has been pretty much in a holding pattern for the last week. I'm still congested, coughing, and feel enough pressure in my head to worry that something's going to burst. But it is better than it was. Earlier this week I felt certain that someone was busy packing rags in between my brain and skull. The rags are still in there, but the packing part of it is done. Needless to say, some headaches have been involved. Much grotesque throat and sinus clearing and a distinct lack of energy.

You know, I really hate it when people spent a lot of time talking about boring ailments, and what could be more boring than a cold? So enough of all this. I'm more than tired of it myself.

But having the cold did mean that this was a pretty uneventful and uninteresting week. I went to work most days and sat in my office trying to appear like someone capable of work. I put on bright feverish eyes, propped my head on elbow so it wouldn't crash onto the desk, and stared at the computer screen as though it might possibly be telling me something. A couple of times I did actually accomplish something.

I took one more day off work when the night before I couldn't breathe well enough to sleep properly. I ate many Ricola cough drops. Okay, this is way too much going into talking about the cold again.

Let me try once more. I did read some books (see below). Some music that I had ordered arrived. But I haven't had enough listening time to feel taken with any of them yet.

Oh, and the other news is that Jim's got a cold now. He insists that it's mine but I keep telling him that it's his own, as mine had no sore throat and started immediately with the sniffles. He has the sniffles after three days of sore throat. Therefore, not my cold.

Illness! Leave our house! I cast you out in the name of the great goddess NeedToBreathe and with the force of the great god NeedToSleep! Out, I say! Out! Begone! And take your runny nose with you!

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In other news, Jim's name is finally up on the T.S. Eliot Award site. Soon there will be a picture of his book there. Here's a sneak peak at the cover art. Extremely cool, eh?

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I did spent Friday night out for the first time in forever. I went over to Tamar's to watch chick flicks (Sliding Doors and Guinevere), and eat a bowl of lemon sorbet.

Oh, and Monday night after work I went to a Clarion West workshop group meeting and astonished everyone with my ability to sound as though I had a clothespin holding my nose shut. Oh, and my need to leave the room to make disgusting noises. Wait, didn't I say no more illness-talk? I did, didn't I. Well, damn.

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Now that illness has been exorcised, I'm sure next week will be a little more interesting.

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

Listening

Ears still too plugged up to do much valuable listening.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

Diana Gabaldon's The Fiery Cross took up the last of my rest-at-home-under-the-quilt-with-the-cold time. A great book for that. This is the umptieth (fourth?) volume in her Outlander series. It's the story of a mind-20th-century woman who time travels back to 18th-century Scotland and falls in love with a Highlander in those troubled years. Yes, it's romantic and dramatic and all that, but it's also very realistic and charming in small ways. At this point in the series the main characters are in their late forties. Their children are adults. They're in the New World making lives for themselves. They're caught up in history and romance but in a different way, and this is in many ways mostly about how live was lived in those days with much interesting emphasis on how the 20th-century woman, who has trained as a doctor, attempts to practice medicine in 18-century North Carolina, and a mystery involving the man who raped her daughter and how to exact punishment on him, who exactly is after the wealthy cousin. Perfect for a down-time read.

Rebecca Lickiss's Eccentric Circles is about a young woman, an aspiring writer, who inherits her grandmother's house and its strange connection to faerie. A gorgeous young elf who shows up at her kitchen table tells her that her grandmother was murdered, and the fate of faerie depends upon the story her grandmother was writing at the time. While this sounds like a magical premise this was not a magical book. In fact, it was pedestrian and predictable, and made faery seem just as exciting at the young woman's day job in a bookstore.

Thomas King's Green Grass Running Water is about a large group of characters converging on the town of Blossom and the Blackfoot Sun Dance to be held nearby. It looks at all the characters, their interconnections and the histories that brought them there, including Coyote and the four mysterious Indians that escape from a home in Florida and travel to Blossom, the young woman Alberta and her two boyfriends, one of the boyfriends and his sister, who runs the Dead Dog Cafe, a man who has returned to his mother's house and lives there blocking the opening of a dam. I loved the individual stories and how they're interwoven here but wished the author hadn't divided his attentions quite so much--I wanted to hook into a few of the characters more.

Stephen King's Hearts in Atlantis was recommended to me as something that might help me like Stephen King's writing. This is a series of loosely interconnected stories of the 60s, some with speculative elements. The first was the most highly recommended one--about a young boy and his widowed mother when a strange older man moves in upstairs and something/someone is after him. This was definitely the best of the bunch. While I have no particular gripes with Stephen King's writing, and like the way he portrays relationships (though he keeps saying the same things about them repeatedly here) I'm still not drawn to read any more. Weird, as he's some people I know's favourite author. Yawn.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

My poem "Carnasserie Castle" just appeared in Grain magazine's Spring 2002 issue. I think I forgot to mention that my poem "Wearing Nothing But The Midnight Sun", which was an Editor's Choice in Arc's 2001 Poem of the Year Contest, appeared a few weeks ago.

Now I don't have anything else forthcoming, so it's time to get some more poems in the mail. It also would be a very good idea to finish one or more of those damn lurking stories and get them in the mail. But because of the novel, working on the stories feels like a real distraction. But I have so damn many unfinished ones. Sigh.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

September - October 1981

[In which I am living in Missoula, Montana, about to start attending the M.F.A. program. I have met Jim already, waiting outside Richard Hugo's office. If any time in my life felt like Real Life, this was it. You'd never know it from this journal, though.]

1249. Raining                            September 24, 1981

Raining again, it's
raining and I was
told it never rained
here--that's why I came.
I came to run hide from

The ocean, but at
night I can hear the
river whispering.
Its words come in waves,
bite as though salted,

pour into all of the
the wounds I'm trying to
to cover: listen, hear
the rain I being, you
know where I'm going.

We are all running
the difference is
in what we run from. [1]

1250. Truth of the moment (Febrifuge)                            September 25, 1981

What I'm really after
is this:
your ring at the base
of my finger
your hand at the base
of my thigh. [2]

1251. And now the fever                            September 26, 1981

A little drunk, and after an overwhelming movie, with Leonard Cohen and one burning lamp, time slows. The songs go on for just a little longer, and my ears are hearing clearly. [Various quotes from the lyrics of Cohen's album Songs of Love and Hate omitted.] O God I wish it would [love would call me] melodrama and wine wind in my heard...my mind where it is.
     Famous Blue Raincoat--did you ever go clear? I've never gone clear, only been more full of clouds each day. Clouds changing shapes inside me, changing me. Enough.

1252. Isis                            September 27, 1981

You'd have given me anything
but your name. What I wanted. If
I had stayed you'd have mine--not the
most equal of all exchanges [there's a big X beside this with "prolix" written]

Tonight you came to me in a
nightmare dream. Isis you called me, Ice-is:
fire is the name you once might have
given me. Fire the name I took.

So now you've lost me, you don't know
what I really want is this: your
ring at the base of my finger
your hand at the base of my thigh.

Isis: the name Achilles bore
when he lived among women. [3]

1253. Memory's Riot                            October 5, 1981

This used to be my favourite month, but I'm being very strange especially today after a few very good days, and I had the need to confess uselessly, what a wasted over-dramatic and untrue time--a tangled time in the deep past I just tangled more. All the myths we live with that are so true but so lost in time.
     I am writing such shit, trying to write myself into writing.
     The past little while has been so good but anxious, and now I have only the anxiety and a little depression--strange how such an old past can flood over me when I let it--I can still feel what I felt, and wish I could clearly articulate it.
Strange that all around you
was light, but your face was dark
--but that's the way memory
would have it--you the man
I've hated six years, for
taking what was mine
and creating blasting such
and ugly hole in my life.
After all this time I'm only
angry that you don't anger
me more--memory must
work that, too, but all these
years I've kept a photograph
of you, until tonight, and now
the stench of it burning fills
my lungs, makes me
hate again. Bastard, at least
you are dead to me now.
This says it.
Yours is memory's face, burning. [4]


NOTES

1. This is another piece of writing that never went anywhere.

2. I tried for years to get this into a poem, but never did. And I was in the voice of a persona--this is not what I was thinking, but what I thought someone else was thinking. Alarmingly enough, I didn't know that's where I was heading. I knew it wasn't what I wanted--I thought.

3. This never went anywhere, either, though I did swipe bits from it.

4. This piece never went anywhere, either. But it's about when I burnt a photograph I had of Mark, the man who date-raped me when I was 16.

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