what I'm thinking and doing § what I'm listening to § what I'm reading
what I'm writing § retrospective: The Phonosnout
Reading Jenn Reese's journal, I discovered a silly but fun game to play with the google search engine. Search for "[your name] is". So here's the info you get about me by doing that. It's a little spoiled by how rare a name mine is, and so many of the results really are about me. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure out which of these are. (A couple of times I had to change masculine references to feminine ones.)
- Neile is appearing down in the basement which is a very posh restaurant.
- Neile is dressed simply and functionally in clothing loose enough to allow her easy movement.
- Neile is founder and president.
- Neile is a writer and longtime ectophile.
- Neile is a professional writer and editor who teaches storytelling at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, where she is pursuing a Ph.D.
- Neile is now co-administrator of the Clarion West Writers Workshop for speculative fiction writers.
- Neile is a Canadian who now lives in Seattle.
- Neile is the beautiful daughter of an Irish courtesan and an unknown father.
- Neile is definitely the leader of our team.
- Neile is the author of 2 full-length collections of poetry.
- Neile is described as a favorite professor, not a spiritual mentor.
- Neile is the author of a memoir to be published next spring.
- Neile is great to dive with because she is just so damn relaxed underwater.
- Neile is perfectly right in her assertion.
- Neile is one of my dearest friends.
- Neile is getting used to incoherent answers.
- Neile is the bomb for everything that I like.
- Neile is the featured speaker for our Dade County meeting.
- Neile is an incredible trans-channel that I have a healthy respect for.
Monday morning. Very tired. And all kinds of ambitions to Get Things Done. Once again I will try and try. I hope, at least.
Mom is coming next week, so I polished the silver. It's something I would try to do regularly, but time escapes and somehow this sort of thing has become less important in my life. I praise the universe that I am not allergic to dust, or I would probably be dead, and all the dust bunnies marching around our house would never have been given life, and surely that would be a sad thing. For them at least. And Sophia, who likes to chase them.
I'm having trouble getting myself sorted out. Clarion both seems to not have ended yet and to have been over months ago.
I have spent a productive day writing. And a few more hours here and there.
I have spent many hours not doing much.
I have spent a day running errands.
My day running errands went like this:
- Up at 8:30. Whoo hoo!
- Check my email and read it but don't answer any. That's too hard.
- Hit the Nordic Trak.
- Check email again.
- Dress hurriedly and hit the road.
- Kidnap Jan from the office.
- Have a lovely, leisurely lunch with coworker Jan at Silence Heart Nest. Jan is a delight to be with. I wish we had more time to spend together just doing things like this.
- Back to the office: arrange lamps, check and answer email, answer some snail mail, organize the less immediate mail to be read and answered later.
- Go to contact lens place to return the wrong contacts that were shipped to me. They only have one (1) correct lens to give me. Sigh. I have two (2) eyes.
- Go to Silver Platters and spend the bountiful gift certificate Clarion West gave me for this being such a difficult, busy year. This is a true delight as I got something I otherwise never would have and have wanted since it originally came out in vinyl: Keith Jarrett's Sun Bear Concerts. They are the kind of solo improvisation he was doing in the late '70s. I thought it would be cool to get something big I would otherwise never have indulged in rather than frittering the money away on several discs.
- Go to library and pick up the books that have been waiting for me
- Go to the post office and mail my grandniece's very late birthday present, two copies of Jim's book (one to my sister and one to a writing friend), also very late, check the post office box and find two discs waiting for Ectophiles' Guide review (one of which is by someone that I returned a disc to late summer about this time because it wasn't something I was going to be able to find a reviewer for. This time I'm not going to bother--what a dolt. Did he not get the message that last time he sent a disc to us it was returned to him unreviewed? I can't afford to keep mailing things back to people who Don't Have A Clue.)
- Go to bank and deposit stray checks, get some cash.
- Walk down and admire cats at the PAWS cat shelter. Try not to fall in love with the tortoiseshell the helper is holding or the little black recent-mother cat. Don't even dare to really look at the kittens.
- Go to drug store and pick up wrapping paper suitable for baby presents. Suddenly many babies are being born to people I know. Be afraid.
- Go and get something chai and iced from Tully's coffee shop. Sit there and read for a half hour (luckily I have Nalo Hopkinson' Skin Folk from the library just in time).
- Race off to grocery store, pick up salad fixings and milk.
- Meet Jim at the car repair place to drop off my car there for the third Friday in a row, this time to get a bearing replaced that has been making a horrendous racket.
- Go home, make salad.
- Spend rest of evening unproductively reading trancejen's journal from start to finish. Keep going until finished. This means something like 4:30 am.
- Oh, and at about 10:30 listen to yet another car accident at the corner. This time the cars hit so hard that one of them lost a wheel. And the City still won't put in a traffic circle to slow people down. At night I hear cars going past at highway speeds and not slowing at any of the uncontrolled intersections. There are a lot of accidents. And what is it about Thursday nights/Friday mornings? Last week was the arson fire.
last week's thinking and doing § next week's thinking and doing
I have been re-obsessing with Two Loons for Tea's Looking for Landmarks this week. What an amazing album.
last week's listening § next week's listening
Read Stephen King's On Writing, which is a cross between being a writing autobiography and a writing advice book. It shows much common sense, and I like the sense I got of his personality. He seems like a no-nonsense kind of person, with a healthy (and not unhealthy) ego. I liked what he had to say. It didn't particularly teach me anything, but had sound advice. Well worth a look if you're interested in him or in writing novels.
Reading Alexander C. Irvine's A Scattering of Jades was a frustrating experience for me. This story is about a man whose daughter is marked for sacrifice during an attempt to re-establish the gods of Mexico, and through a flaw in the ritual there is a fire and his wife is killed--and so is his daughter, he thinks. But then, years later, this scarred girl continues to accost him on the street, calling him father. There's a sideshow healer at the bottom of the attempts to resurrect the gods. And an odd kind of golem-type creature, the chacmool. And the gods themselves. And the Mammoth Caves in Kentucky, and a slave who is a guide for people through the caves and an explorer. It's complex and the threads through it are easily lost. I kept losing them.
last week's reading § next week's reading
In my thinking about Gypsy Davey, I realized that I needed to deepen the beginning section some, and realized that there was a chapter I needed to add, so now I'm in the midst of writing it. I know the characters so well now that it's much easier to write than earlier chapters. I really do like the process of revising so much more than the first draft, when it's all new territory. Now I know what the goal is--I've already reached it--and so now it's just making the journey there better. I can do that.
And I had both a poetry workshop (Tuesday night) and a fiction workshop (Sunday afternoon) this week. I feel all critiqued out. I didn't submit anything for the fiction workshop because I'm working on the novel right now, but I did bring one of the poems I wrote in May to the poetry workshop (help, has it been that long since I've attended one? I guess so--things have been busy). Got some good help with it. It's called "Atlantic Pacific," about being from the west coast of North America and travelling on the west coast of Scotland. It's about ocean and home and history.
last week's writing § next week's writing
About the Phonosnout
My job fills my days and bores me, though it is a challenge of memory to remember everything I have to for that job. Anyway, it takes most of my days, and I have no time for anything but that and sleep. I keep thinking I don't know how I'm going to cope with this. There is no time for poetry of any kind. No room.
February 10, 1985
Why am I leaving the things I care enough about? People, letters, that kind of love I can lean into--there is no depth of love here. It's going to be bitter when it ends.
I keep lifting the empty cup.
Who wouldn't. To see what's in it.
What's left and there's nothing.
1386. Skiing the old Burlington Milwaukee Northern Railbed
February 10, 1985
Has nothing to do with it. Nothing
really except that the words came
into my mind when we were doing it
cutting through all the white,
that breaking over the side
of the hill, falling into the weeds
and into the river. The effortless stillness
of snow over snow and why were we
pulling ourselves over it, going
who knows where and why except
we were outside and into the air,
taking it in so deeply it filled us
wiping the snow over our sweating
faces and tongues, some initiation
into February and fresh snowfall
where no one could see us. And
going and going along the road made
for us, it was so hard to notice the
exact point to turn around but we
made it, and back to the ice fall
made of snow and ice and the moon
and our wishes that we could forever
be gliding over that endless winter ever
afternoon and be done with it.
The aching hip and we didn't reach the
tunnel after all. 
1387. Just a chance
I want to open up and write something new and larger than ever, but how? How can I stretch myself that way, and bare it all and not live up to it. How can I do it when I live this limited way, with job & TV & rock music & lunch hours & typing silly letters & applying for jobs I couldn't stand if I got & being such a narrow and closed thinker? I can't believe I'm applying for an NEA grant, but these futile motions are part of the cycle I'm working into, part of the ritual to make myself believe I can be who I want to be, there is a chance, just a chance.
February 10, 1985
Just finished a biography of Christina Rossetti--an interesting woman. In a way I feel a lot of sympathy for her, but in another, she was always so ill, and I can't share her faith. (I lost my borrowed faith so long ago--a few nights ago I read my journals and was embarrassed at it.) Anyway, there is so much beauty in things she wrote--my favourite, which I've known for years "When I am Dead my Dearest." She was very young when she wrote it.
February 11, 1985
A wet-snowed night in February, after yoga, bath and reading and I feel calm and relaxed. It also helps to know that my boss is away for the rest of this week. I can hear Bryer bathing in the corner. The one jarring note--Jim's got Monty Python on the TV in the living room. I have nightmares about moving out of this apartment, and I want to remember this place on nights like these.
1. I tried and tried to make this poem work, but it was hopeless and I finally abandoned it.
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