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Les Semaines

02.06.02

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 Week That Never Was

,,,or at least that's what Jim called it for me. Sorry this is so late. I've only had scraps of time to write and try to put this together, and now it's all getting blurred up with the next week.

Tuesday morning I went to work early, and left early and drove Neal to the airport, then did some shopping and went home to cat-proof my study and do a little cleaning in the rest of the house to make it look as though someone in this house cared about rampant dustbunnies, though of course no one does, so the effort was rather pointless. Well, actually Sophia sometimes cares enough to chase them if they're moving. However, I did get my study pretty clean by washing the sheets and down coverlets and dusting and washing the floor, even under the bed (and everything else I could reach) or move without killing myself. I figure the can't-move-without-killing-myself stuff doesn't collect too much in the way of dust and cat hair underneath anyway, though that may be optimistic. Jim kindly did his usual cleaning, taking care of the bathroom and washing some floors, and moving some of the dust around.

My friend Judy (from my Clarion West 1996 class and whom I last saw at the World Fantasy Convention in November, see my November 11, 2001 entry) and her daughter, Melissa, arrived at 3:00. I had gone home after work to do some last-minute straightening up, then picked them up where the bus from the Vancouver airport dropped them. Drove up to Capitol Hill and checked the office mail, showing them odd views of the city as I did. Dropped off their luggage at home, and had time to race through Archie McPhee's and do a drive-through of Golden Gardens Park for a minute or two before racing home to dinner.

Dinner made and inhaled, we raced off to the library, delayed by the Fremont Bridge rising to let a sailboat through (a sailboat! and we on our way to give a poetry reading! how dare it delay us!). Whereupon, we immediately got to the top of Queen Anne Hill and lost the library. But gradually found it and our way, and breathlessly gave a reading. Jim went first, since next time he goes second. We both read exclusively from new work, for which we'd gotten the grants from the King County Arts Commission that prompted the reading. Yay!

It was lots of fun. I love giving readings. And without time to prepare I was able to tour people around my Scotland at whim, which I enjoyed. Jim let people taste all the different music he's been writing about, from John Coltrane to the Sex Pistols. Fun Fun Fun. Then after we went to Cafe Ladro for coffee and talk.

Thursday I went to work, and Judy and Melissa came with me then they wandered off downtown. And when I got home cartons of Jim's book had arrived! (See below--it's real--they're here! And at amazon.com and elsewhere as well.)

Friday was another workday and Judy, Melissa, Jim and I went to dinner at the Queen of Sheba (Ethiopian, which I had been craving for quite a while), then we dropped them off at their hotel, where Judy's husband and son had just arrived.

I don't remember Saturday, really I don't, though Judy and family were out on a sailboat just like the one they're going to be getting, but Sunday John Serna had a barbecue for Judy and family so we met the wilds of Kirkland and grilled dead animals on the coals and admired 4-year-old Emily's new swing and pushed her on it and talked and talked and talked.

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

Listening

Veda Hille has been singing in my head even since last weekend, especially the song "Yukon Ho".

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

Liz Williams' The Ghost Sister is set in world where a colony has been separated from its seed planet for thousands of years. When a ship from the seed planet comes to discover what has become of the people on the new planet, they are shocked to discover that the planet has not been adapted to the humans, but the humans have been changed to suit the planet. Half animal, and subject to uncontrollable hunting instincts, the people are torn by their dual nature, trying to be human and compassionate yet driven by their other side. A unusual and interesting story.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

Card for 5/29 readingOur Wednesday night event.

Human Cartography coverAnd on Thursday, Jim's book arrived!

 

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

August - September 1983

1338. Tree and light
August 13, 1983

All the tree isn't moves away
from it, becomes its image

1339. House of 8 rooms
August 20, 1983

You are in the darkest hallway
you have ever been in--your hands
feel like porcelain as you raise
them to touch whatever wall
lies in front of you. The wall
echoes like a door, so you open
it. The room is hardly lighter
than the hall and the air
stews with dust and the musk
of some flowers that breeds
and brews here. A man steps out
from behind you and takes your
coat. [1]
     After reading Fuentes' Aura

1340. Radio
August 26, 1983

LIstening to Jim and his music on FM--kind of fun hearing a so-familiar voice coming from the speakers. Especially after a day I exploded on--let all the rot out, just as Jeremiah let it out of his wound tonight--gushing. Yeck. A complaynte unto love and marriage. Sigh. All the old things again and still. And now Jim's music. Magic. Marriage is such a strange cage--sometimes barred, sometimes more open and free than possible. I expected no difference.

1341. Beginning of a bad
September 16, 1983

cold, and the thick head and chills that go with it. Cold brought from the east, probably from walking (racing) through Needle Park. Beginning to read Sylvia Plath's journals, discovering how much more articulate and desperate she was at eighteen than I--or perhaps the desperation has an equivalency. Jim's out visiting Jon [2], and I'm here feeling dense and listening to Kate Bush, whose music I love. Thinking communications in my soggy head--wishing someone would phone. No classes this quarter, nothing to take--only two I was interested in conflict with workshop and teaching. It's fall and time to think of school. I want at least one course. I wanted aesthetics, but it conflicts. Shit. The east--New York the best--books and art. The rest all new--in-laws and babies and being uncomfortable--not that NY was comfortable at all. Hot and sweating each night. Now back here in Montana, re-adjusting to the autumn in the air. I can't remember how to dress for it. I think that the cat is sick again with abscesses. I wish he'd stop fighting. I have nothing to say about myself. Less to say about marriage. I didn't feel married this trip--hardly felt connected to Jim except in NY. Kept wondering why I had to meet these people. All pleasant, but I had so little to share with them.

1342. All the king's men
September 19, 1983

Slowly readjusting to life here in such a distinctly new season. Snow today, and this house isn't as warm as I thought it would be. I feel colder than I thought I would--probably all psychological because of the drastic change in weather in a week's time--NY's 100 and snow here. I haven't yet come down with the cold, though I still feel a little strange.
     Plath's journals very interesting. I recognize myself in them so many times--that anger and frustration when not writing. Most revealing though the idea that not writing stems from a fear of failure--after all, if I'm not writing I can't fail, can I? I think my fear is of being minor--I know I can write poems that will be accepted by journals, and even have a book accepted (perhaps published, I'm not certain about Penumbra--fear), but I want to write what will disturb and enlighten--major work. No more trivial things. That's quite a demand to place on myself, and I'd like to say that that's what's drying me up. How can I ever write what will disturb and enlighten me, unless it is from totally outside myself? I feel that anything I can encompass must be too small. All my old work has the same tone and is all melodramatic. Melodrama is to be my nemesis--practical Neile. It makes no sense. I want to write better than Jorie Graham or W.S. Graham (all the "competition" I have within my own name! [3]) and all and all.


NOTES

1. Another thing that never quite became a poem or went anywhere.

2. Davis, friend and poet.

3. Two favourite poets. Not related to either of them.

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