Les Semaines


what I'm thinking and doing § what I'm listening to § what I'm reading
what I'm writing § retrospective: The Phonosnout


Distractions Abound

Busy week, and much hot weather through it. Monday began with two painters we'd hired to sand down the highest part of the trim on the front of the house. It took them all day, as it appears never to have been sanded down since the house was first painted in 1937. Layers and layers and layers came off. Eight hours of work for two men, on such a small area. Amazing. As they scraped and sanded, I washed and vacuumed floors. It felt like it had been an equally long time since I'd cleaned properly.

Jim took the rest of the week off to work on the house, and picked Chuck up on Tuesday, and the two of them worked all day on stripping the paint off the panels around the front doorway. I picked Mom up from the Victoria Clipper and brought her home. She comes here to rest so we really weren't up to much. Wednesday, while Jim continued stripping layers upon layers of paint off the panels, we went shopping, first to a dollar store down in Burien, then to a drug store there, then to Trader Joe's for food.

On Thursday we went and picked up new trial contact lenses for me (I still haven't got my supply) and towels to cover the chesterfield and love seat where Zach sleeps on them.

Friday, Saturday, and today we've spent a lot of time taking turns being ballast at the foot of the flimsy ladder we borrow from the neighbours that is tall enough for Jim to first prime the high trim, then caulk it, then put the first coat of paint on it. Wow, it looks 1000 times better. It should, for the money and energy that's been put into it. One more coat to be applied on some other date.

My sleep has been all disrupted because of trying to write at night but having to get up early in the morning. I can't figure out when I'm supposed to sleep except I do know that I'm not sleepy when I should be and am sleepy in the mornings when I should be getting up. This is not right. I keep wanting to stay up late and work late but sometimes am too sleepy, or I manage to do it and then have to get up early to greet workmen or something. This is messing with my head.

No arson and no car wrecks this Thursday night, at least as far as we know, so maybe the chain is broken.

It has been fun having mom here. We've all eaten and slept too much. Except for Jim, who has been spending way too much time up high on shaky ladders.

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


Went to Robin Holcomb's disc launch on Thursday night at the Tractor Tavern for The Big Time. She was much more relaxed and seemed more personable than I've seen her when she played solo before--I think she prefers playing with the band beside her. She seemed lively and involved, and even sang two songs away from the piano, facing the audience. A night of incredible music, and I was thrilled to see her looking more happy onstage.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Though I haven't enjoyed her recent novels much (see my August 29, 1999 entry for my comments on The Black Swan) I decided to read Mercedes Lackey's The Gates of Sleep because it's a Sleeping Beauty story, and I love such retellings. I did like this one. At Marina's christening, her godparents offer presents, charms, but her estranged aunt comes in uninvited to curse her. Magician friends try to avert the curse and manage to mitigate some of its effects, but not all. Her parents then send Marina away to hide her with friends, artists of the Pre-Raphaelite style. But the aunt causes her parents to have an accident and destroys their will so that she's left as Marina's guardian and hauls her away from the life she has known to come to her parent's old home to live with her and her son. An interesting tale, but I never was quite clear why the aunt cared enough to curse the niece. She seemed to have a fine life without her. Ah well. I enjoyed the artist parts, particularly, and the nice system of magic that corresponded with elemental creatures.

last week's reading § next week's reading


With my mother here and all the goings on around the house, writing was a little problematic, but I did finish the chapter I was working on, all in a rush, late on Saturday night/Sunday morning with Mom behind me asleep on the day bed. So now I'm moving back on target, trying to get this section finished so I can get it to my beta reader, bless her.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

March - April 1985

1389. Just how big is the lie that God can swallow?
March 3, 1985

It's been a tough while since my parents left from their visit here.

1390. Night Alone
March 22, 1985

First night alone in months. Jim's out helping Dennis [1] print. I'm home being alone. And happy alone. With cats.
     Bette bought me a book of translations of Celan. Wonderful. Beauty and rage. Beauté.

1391. Sunday night
March 24, 1985

Sunday night a weekend dreamed away. I don't know what I would do with all those hours if I could wish them back. Something like what I'm doing now, I suppose. A little more intense than reading and sleeping. Bryer comes in and calls. I had to stop for a second and rub her. This page has sand from her feet and loose fur.
Walking out into the perfect open
nothing of this day: this
is what I fear--the sun
rising over the mountain
like your mouth on my breath
and me wanting to shake it
off, to run out in the the street
naked and laughing and free. [2]

1392. Confronted with a new page again
March 24, 1985

and more pad-prints and cat fur, but I bribed her away with cottage cheese. The cat again. Pen freshly filled, I go on again.

Snow still shines from the burnt patches
on the mountain. Otherwise the grass
has begun to grow. Otherwise the weeds
have started their furious expansion.
In town it's white in the morning by
noon the sun has made it waste away
into mud. So what for these days
we call spring, the streams still choked
with woodsmoke and the flotsam
the receding waves the winter has left.
On one street it even unveiled a cat's
corpse I'd rather it had hidden.

What a wonderful falsity of language with nothing to say--the falsity of my response to it here. O tra la. And how dare they. The words. Such a poet searching with nothing to say. Ah well. It was a strange storm this morning. We were awake and warm and drowsy and suddenly a squall of snow and sleet battering against our freshly unprotected windows in our wonderful sleep.

1393. Short
March 31, 1985

And Bryer leaves the world wide open.

1394. Walking
April 7, 1985

Sunday and home after a hectic social week. Slept a lot today, and I do all weekends. I wish I could get myself down to five or six hours sleep a night--then I could get more work done. Then I could get some/any work done. Maybe. A windy night in April. I've been reading some good poems but not writing any.

Music from open windows
swelling in the wind--walking
at night through town and
broken bottles and hedgerows
barely announcing spring.
Somewhere a man's voice calls
and calls but not us, we're
like cats and answer in our
own time. We're that proud
and proud of it. Meanwhile
wind and woodsmoke in our hair
and dust and streetlights in our
eyes, hidden like clouds. We'd
find the creek and wade in
though it's still ice from the
winter in the hills. Follow
the creek to the river, river
to the sea and keep going
our men calling and calling
we not coming home
till the adventure is over. [3]

1395. To sing love
April 7, 1985

yet to sing love,
love must first shatter us.
                        "Fragment Forty" H.D.
It's too many days together that broke us.
Winter that bound us in. Werattled together
like careless dishes, only more fragile and
cracking. But it doesn't matter now.
Spring wind is pushing in from the windows
and it's April and free. [4]


1. Lithographer and photographer, Dennis Kern

2. This eventually evolved into part of the poem "Washing at Sunset" in Spells for Clear Vision.

3. This never went anywhere.

4. Nor did this.

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