§

Les Semaines

02.11.24

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

 §

Bachelorette

Jim is off in North Carolina this weekend, so I am a bachelorette, or at least an acting bachelorette.

spiderwebWe had a couple of really foggy days, and on my way to work I had to stop and get my camera to take pictures. Unfortunately, it's hard to get these.

 

another view of the spiderwebHere's a view of another spiderweb on the same handrail. It's actually really amazing how many webs there are that you never see until days like these.

 

So it was kind of fun playing bachelorette while Jim was gone. I'd forgotten how easy it is to tidy up only after oneself, and it was great feeling totally free to follow my own inclinations as to what to do and when. I was mostly self-indulgent, working on the computer some, trying to write some. I got a lot of work done on The Ectophiles' Guide to Good Music updating files and such, and got a start on this year's holiday letter (if you'd like to receive one and I don't already have your address, email me). I fed the cats and provided laps, and watched episodes of Farscape, though no other TV. Given that I took Friday off work and everything what I got done wasn't too impressive, especially given that now it's time to start getting ready for the holidays for real. At least I need to, some of the rest of you might not agonize quite as much as I, especially as I really do like sending cards and giving presents and baking and having a holiday-ish house (this last I never quite manage to do before my parents get here--it becoming a tradition for them to help me decorate).

I went over to my friend Dixielynn's twice (!!). Once to help her make bombs. Bath bombs. In the shape of skulls. And then the second for a tea party where I hung out with a bunch of friends I don't see too often and shelled walnuts that her brother had sent her and ate cookies. And today I went over to Nisi's and helped with a big Clarion West mailing, which was kind of fun, but now my arms hurt some and so I'm going to close this and just let it be a little short this week. Not that I have much more to say, anyway.

Except I picked Jim up at the airport and he survived giving three readings in 24 hours, but now he has a sore throat. He was pleased at the attendance for them and sold books and visited with family, but is glad to be home.

And I'm glad to have him home and not be a bachelorette any longer. But I'm not sure why he has to lounge and floss his teeth on the daybed behind me as I type this. Ahem.

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

Listening

Wednesday night Tamar and I went to hear Niamh Parson at a local Irish Pub. I stumbled upon Niamh Parsons' music by taking a chance when I had some credit for selling used discs at a small local store. I didn't want to take their cash, and so I picked up one of her discs used. She has a powerful, supple voice that reminds me of Sandy Denny's, though rather than singing her own music and English traditional songs, she sings Irish songs. She was great live--personable and that lovely, rich voice.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

Almost finished another book. At this rate I'm going have quite some time getting through the huge stack of library books awaiting my attention. I've already had to send three back unread. I wonder how many more?

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

Tried and tried to get working but I just couldn't focus. And the story I'd really, really desperately wanted to place didn't get in. I sent it out somewhere else Saturday morning, but that didn't help much. Sigh.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

September 1986

We have moved from Missoula to Seattle and live in the wonderful Fremont neighbourhood. I have a temp job working for the City and Jim has a job working for Shoreline Community College.

1469. Working
September 7, 1986

I've been working on poems and scraps for over an hour now and it makes me realize that that's all I've written for a year. I shouldn't look on the bad side of that, maybe it means I'll be like Stevens, writing one, maybe two, decent poems a year. That wouldn't be too bad. I mean, I can think of worse scenarios.
     It's just that so few people value what I do. It's like society has decided it's beyond truth and beauty (not that I claim that for my work but I certainly claim it as my aim).
     God save me from the bitch and whine
     that's doubtless mine.
     A throttling vine
     a choking wine.

Jim works for hours, hard. While I work more casually, trying not to push myself into a position where I'd have to prove myself. 'Cause I don't want to know the answer I fear.
     Don't want to hear it
     Or get near it

Silly all this on a windy Sunday in late summer, all traffic noise and musing.

How we tease ourselves with these things,
meaning how I tease myself with these things.

1470. Not working
October 19, 1986

So I bring out the journal to hold what might escape me. As though I have no dreams, no memory and what can hold that A file of poems beneath my journal, Wendell Berry resting on Harold Rhenisch above, and sun streaming through the venetian blinds. In the city here.
     So we live the city life. In offices, daily, in our apartment, when the life outside the window is cars, though the trees outside chatter full of birds in the early evening as the leaves begin to turn.
     In the city the full moon as night before last and I didn't notice except I had trouble sleeping. I haven't found myself here yet. And I've been lost since moving to Missoula, haven't I? So little to show for five years. Husband and cats [1].

1471. What is Burning?
October 26, 1986

My mother is out in the rain.
My father shapes wood to his hands,
sawing, sanding, testing the grain:
it is right. I am the child
of their laughter, their dreaming
and youth. At my age I was
not yet born. Wind through the
trees behind the born, wind outside
and rain in their eyes, what
over this distance am I?
Stout heart heart of the south;
stranded daughter of fire
am I, sputtering, rained
upon, fighting upward.

1472. Continued
October 26, 1986

What is that world?
Green and yellow, new grass
and old. Leaves turned
and turning. October,
and the birds chatter
above the rain above the noise
of the traffic. This is hard brick,
concrete and the water settles
on it, we could hold it
and drink. And drink the taste
of the rain down small
inside us. We could.
But it's autumn, and wind
sets its boisterous hands free
to tangle chill in our
coats--inside, it takes them
more than a day to dry
and the rains outside collect
twigs and mud and the small change
of passage. One gold coin
to cross the Styx. One gold dream
for Lethe. [2]

1473. Beginning
October 26, 1986

Winter was the start.
The air so raw it has barely
begun being air itself. The earth
needed the blanket of snow to cover
its naked beauty as it commenced
its commencement, began its true
work of becoming soil and real
and touchable in the open power
of naming itself. Then to be uncovered
to say: am I. [3]

1474. Quick
October 26, 1986

Ah, love, thief of fire and dreams
I am what I was when we met
and now more. [4]


NOTES

1. I think I am being ironic here. I trust so.

2. Sounds nice, doesn't it? Too bad it means nothing.

3. Ditto.

4. I think I used this somewhere. Yes, in the title poem of Spells for Clear Vision.

last week's Phonosnout § next week's Phonosnout

Last Week § Les Semaines index § Next Week

Email comments, questions, and complaints to neile@sff.net § Neile's main page

2429 people have wandered through this week with me