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Les Semaines

02.03.31

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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After the Flu

Well, Jim did get my flu, and worst of all because things at work were so crazy he could only take a few hours off here and there, and basically had to suffer through it at work, while I went to my quiet job (it was the spring break week between classes) was allowed to slowly, calmly, recover. I feel really guilty that I brought this disease into the house and gave it to him when things were so bad. At least now he's starting to feel a little better. Having a quiet week in the evenings and at home this weekend really helped.

The week was pretty busy for me in other ways, though, as I was trying to catch up with everything, especially Clarion stuff, after being sick. Our application deadline is tomorrow, so things are at their height, applications are arriving in large groups, processing them takes hours, and there are tons of other related errands to run. I tried to take it easy because I wasn't exactly feeling energetic, but I managed to I got a lot done this week. Not caught up, but doing okay, especially with paperwork. Yay.

I did do one really fun thing this weekend. Yesterday my friend Annemarie, whom I don't see very often anymore, and I drove down to Tacoma to meet up with our friend Laura, who moved to there several years ago to go to law school and then stayed there, working for the State Supreme Court in Olympia. I really enjoy both her and her husband, and we decided to meet up at the Point Defiance Zoo. I had never been there before, and it was fun. Much more open and less polished than the Woodland Park Zoo, here in Seattle, which I love, too. We met at the elephants and spent a lot of time staring at the snow leopard (my favourite) and clouded leopard and the otters and the walrus and the red wolf and the fish and sharks and the Arctic foxes, one of whom was in glorious fluffy white coat, the other of which was spring-shedding dramatically and messily. It was fun wandering around slowly, chatting and looking at the (mostly rescued) animals. I know a lot of people have philosophical problems with zoos, but I greedily love looking at the animals and knowing that there are programs trying to keep these creatures in existence. The whole cage thing bothers me, but even a poorer zoo like Point Defiance is doing what it can to give the animals habitats rather than cages.

After the zoo we went to dinner, and quickly visited Laura and Jeremy's new house, then drove back home to Seattle. I was really tired by the end of it, and spent the rest of the evening doing nothing. But it was fun and worth it. Hanging around talking is one of my favourite things, and adding animals to that was delightful. The weather even cooperated! I think we may finally have seen the last of our snow. I hope so. Tomorrow is April!

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

Listening

Basically a quiet week with me recovering and Jim suffering. Neither of us really felt like listening to much.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

So once I had re-read Sherri S. Tepper's Mavin Manyshaped books last week, I had to continue on and read the trilogy about her son, Peter (King's Blood Four, Necromancer Nine, Wizard's Eleven) and then the final one about her daughter-in-law, Jinian (Jinian Footseer, Dervish Daughter, and Jinian Stareye). Damn, they are were good. Interesting world, characters, events. Some of it got a little repetitious, all read in a row like this, but I really enjoyed the stories and the world they created. Very entertaining and perfect for a tired girl getting over the flu and having to cope with the world again.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

I won an award for having the best poem in Arc magazine in their publication year! It's called the Confederation Poets Prize (my win isn't listed there yet). This is the first time I've won first prize in anything, though the poem that won this also was an Editor's Choice in their Poem of the Year Contest. Whoo hoo!

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

July-August 1982

[In which Neile is home in Victoria living with her parents for the summer between the first and second year of her M.F.A. at the University of Montana.]

1282. The familiar complaints
July 18, 1982

Already a month into summer, and I am just waking from winter (a prediction I have falsely made several times this year, but I've got to pretend it's true now because I simply can't stand the inaction). I've got to break through this pedantry of mine that makes me think only food, sleep, escape, and dream, when the largest part of my life is when I dream, and that almost totally lost on waking. All my familiar complaints. I've got to stop using the excuse of coming home to escape from thinking, or, in fact, doing anything more than the most rudimentary tasks (cooking, washing, eating...). Now that Jocelyn has taken her baby north [1], and the world no longer centres on her creativity, it must begin (for me at least) to centre on mine. An even if I don't produce an outpour of deathless material, I can at least feed it rather than my somewhat too expansive body. Aha, resolutions to be broken in an empty house. Anyway, I must write a poem in which Brüne [2] figures to some extent. I can at least work on the old poems. I can at least pretend to believe that my "calling" should absorb me. A beginning, and far better than this excuse for non-existence I have been living.

1283. How the world conspires
August 2, 1982

Not in whispers. Aloud
so you an fear each syllable.
The trees gibber in the wind.
The full moon. When the clock
beside your bed is silent
you hear it all, the words
sibilant, full, sounding
through the darkness of your closed
room, through the window glass. [3]

1284. Sleeping with Lambs
August 11, 1982

Last night, sleeping with my cat I dreamt of sleeping with lambs. Mean of them, in my bed. Brought there by a friend and sleeping [4]. Achilles [5] in and out of my room last night.
     Today much sound and fury and nothing. Bogart [6]. Achilles.
     Campbell River: Elk Falls and swimming there, part of the waterfall. Lady Falls and the feeling of falling into it--the spray and the rest and the water. The dragonfly. Looking for ease of water, we found only the bend in the river. Trails that end, twice. A road that ended at Gold River.
     These are notes for what i will write [7]. A scrawl into the future. August and something has begun again. Some will or some need to break silence and the track of my thoughts, ingrained and rusted. But last night I dreamt of sleeping with lambs.

1285. scrap
August 13, 1982

Your words with the clarity you owed me then. You owed me then.

1286. Saltspring [8]
August 23, 1982

[Quote from Joni Mitchell about immortality and being a chicken omitted.] I am not single-minded enough. Not set enough on my goals to be sure they are goals, using the excuse that I work differently than other people do. Now I am beginning to worry that I will settle for something very different than I have planned and will always feel I have let myself down, or that I never had it in my anyway (which is worse and which is the worse lie?) All this comes of having written nothing for so long for perhaps (and frighteningly) only the reason of laziness. Ah, the worse, the old complaynte. Riddle me this: and on.... There is some kind of answer in certainty.

1287. L'été
August 24, 1982

Sleeping with lambs. Not quite the dream you expected. And about certainty, the return of the waves. The deer, the river otters playing. Cormorants. Tide and sand in shoes. Tides soundless in the ears.

1288. Floating
August 24, 1982

Today floating in the sea in innertubes and strange tales of singing with crystals. Tuned to them as I am tuned to these days and as I am moving with them. Wondrous and large, these days.


NOTES

1. My nephew Alexei, born in early July. My sister had come down from Campbell River, where she was living, to have the baby in Victoria.

2. Brüne was my parents' dog, who was suffering badly from arthritis and whom we finally had to take to be put to sleep. I still miss her; she was the best dog ever. I never did write a poem with her in it, or at least I don't have one now.

3. Geez, maybe I should have been a horror writer. Anyway, this is another scrap of a poem that never went anywhere.

4. Now this, this did turn into a poem by that title, that is in Blood Memory, and can also be found in my section at The Alsop Review.

5. Achilles was my cat, that I had to leave with my parents when I went away to grad school.

6. The six-month-old part-Sheltie puppy I talked my parents into adopting. She was a very odd dog, a hyper dog, and made Achilles extremely nervous. He basically started to live in the woods behind my parents' house and only showed up for meals. He didn't like to go in the house where the dog was if he could help it.

7. I didn't.

8. Brenda and I were spending a week on Saltspring Island, staying in a cabin that belonged to parents of friends of hers. A lovely week.

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