Les Semaines


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



Dark. Rain. Wind. It's getting near Solstice here. As I type this, it's 3:15 pm and the streetlight is on. The window is streaked with rain. A perfect night to light a fire in the fireplace and continue our Christmas baking.

Saturday night they had a special series of Nirvana videos on and I watched them and though a lot about Kurt Cobain's genius and his pain. It was right before I went to bed. So I found myself dreaming, with astonishment, that for some reason Kurt has chosen me to be his intermediary with the world. He was going to pass messages on through me. I was meeting his family and it was painful and awkward and I had to keep explaining that no I didn't understand why he had chosen me but now that he had I had to get on with it, right? I was especially dreading having to deal with Courtney and found myself wonderful how Frances Bean was, because a lot of the message were for her. A very odd dream, but the situation is kind of a real life one: I had ben placed in an intermediary place between a friend and troubles she was having with her family, and having just watched those videos it got all tangled up into this new story. Interesting how the brain works.

In any case the friend/family problem is, I hope, in a set state, and I have been relieved of duty in it. So far as I know Kurt has decided against using me as an intermediary with the world after all, too. So I'm off the hook.

Besides writing a lot of holiday cards, Jim and I did a lot of baking this week. So did I, though Jim did the most of it, having done a huge batch of welsh cakes all my himself, baking up the poppyseed cookies I mixed up (they have to be refrigerated, so we usually do that the day before so I did that part). And we also for the first time made truffles. Interesting experiment. They taste good but are kind of messy. We need to take a little more care rolling them, I guess.

So in the midst of my boring life, here is more trivia about me. This is updated from a grilling I once had.

Minion Grilling

  1. We all have cusps in our life: focussing moments when small decisions have big impacts. Tell us about one such moment, and where you think you might be now if things had gone a bit differently.

    When I asked Robin Skelton about graduate schools for writing poetry, and he suggested I look into Montana because Dick Hugo was there. If I hadn't followed through, I would never have met Jim and ended up in Seattle. Montana was the only graduate school I applied to. I'm lucky I got accepted. If I hadn't, I suppose I would probably have moved somewhere--to Toronto or Vancouver.

  2. Suppose you are tired of the way your car looks (suppose you have a car, if necessary). You decide to get a new paint job. What will it look like when it's done?

    Like marbelled paper. In blue, grey, green, and wine.

  3. If you could have one domestic servant, what sort would it be? Butler, Maid, Valet, Gardner, Cook, Serving Wench, Jostler... And how would you address them, and they you?

    Wife. I would address her as "Dear". And she would be, she would do everything to look after me in all ways and bear my children and make sure they never bothered me. Sounds great doesn't it? Don't you want one?

  4. What sort of ice cream do you usually buy?

    Vanilla--to go on top of one of Jim's blackberry/apple pies.

  5. You're with a bunch of friends at one of their houses. Someone says "Let's play a game". What game is it likely to be? Would you participate? If not, what would you do instead?

    Mah jong. And I love it. Though I don't mostly like games much. I used to play pinochle with friends, too. Otherwise I usually avoid games.

  6. What dish do you usually bring to potlucks? If you're supposed to bring your own thing for the grill, what do you bring?
  7. I hate potlucks; I'm not sure why. I think because I'm an anxious cook and socializer. When I do have to go to one I never bring the same thing. When we go as a couple I like to force JIm to make a pie.

  8. If you weren't a (Christian {Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox...}, Jew, Muslim, Agnostic, Buddhist, Atheist...), what would you choose to be instead?

    If I weren't a pantheist, I would choose to be Wicca.

  9. Where do your parents (or suitable alternative) live? What mode of transport do you use to get there to visit? How often do you visit?

    Victoria. I take the Victoria Clipper (passenger-only ferry) most times and sometimes drive up to the Tsawwassen ferry. Twice a year a most. I really ought to go more often because I really enjoy my parents and it's not really that far. It's a time issue, I guess, and how focused I get on all the things I imagine that I have to do.

  10. What part of housework do you most like to do?

    Vacuuming if I must. I actually don't mind housework much once I get started, though I do have a tendency to get all excited about getting everything perfect in a way that makes it impossible to finish and things stay all half-done forever.

  11. Describe your academic and study style and habits.

    Study? Huh? Procrastination always. I always leave things until close to the deadline and then try to pull it out of my ass. That was okay in school. In life it's a little more difficult, as there are no deadlines. No wonder I get nothing finished, ever.

  12. How many majors did/have you gone through before attaining your bachelor's degree?

    Two--Teaching and Social Work. Ended up with English Literature and Creative Writing.

  13. Which letter of the alphabet looks the coolest?

    N. Because it's angular and it's the beginning of my name.

  14. What do you think is the funniest feature of human anatomy?

    Dangly bits. They crack me up.

  15. I just made up this word: "shinkle". What do you think it should mean?

    A shrinking wrinkle.

  16. Where do you stand personally on the ethics of personal resource consumption? That is, how far do you go to be ecologically conscious? Do you ever feel you should do more? Do you feel such issues are overemphasized or misinterpreted?

    Not as far as I should--I recycle what can be done fairly easily. I drive too much, but I do have canvas bags, carpool & bus to work as much as I can with my weird work schedule, got a more efficient furnace for our house and double-paned windows, etc. I do feel as though I should do more but like everything else I feel pressed for time. I think the issues aren't emphasized nearly enough.

  17. How many people at an ideal party?


  18. What is your favorite form of chocolate?

    Truffles: mocha or mint.

  19. What temperature do you like your bedroom to be?

    Cool. That's why sleeping in the basement works for me, especially in the summer.

  20. If something were named after you, what would you want it to be?

    A mountain, a forest, a writing scholarship or prize.

  21. How did you get that scar?

    I fell on some rocks while trying to net crabs off a rock breakwater. No, I wasn't drunk.

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


A good friend from The Netherlands sent us several discs by two artists: An Pierlé and Laïs. I'd had several samples by An Pierlé, so I knew I liked her, but I'd never located anything by Laïs, so I had no idea how much I would love them. They're a Flemish group, doing slightly updated but still in the spirit of traditional folk music. It's full of the same kind of harmonies demonstrated by one of my favourite traditional groups, Malicorne. Inventive and traditional, both. Yum.

last week's listening § next week's listening


I bailed on Michael Chabon's Summerland. Just couldn't get interested in it.

last week's reading § next week's reading


Nothing new, except I finished writing our holiday cards, pretty much.

Another short story rejected and back home, though I managed to bounce it back out in the mail.

I tried to get my head around revising a poem, but the brain just shut it out. I guess this is a bad time to try writing.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

January 1987

1487. Last night a dream
January 11, 1987

Last night a dream about a civilization growing in the ruins of this. Nomadic and tribal, groups would come to the ruins of the city to scavenge and my delight to find books (I could somehow read) and we would meet other groups there. I met a lover from another group and he came with mine. It was joyous and free, though the edges were frightening, too. A real and full life. (Maybe to become a story.)
     Another idea, but not from a dream: the story of the love come from the magic land from the lover's point of view--how she sees: herself; her magic land; her lover and her lover's land "reality"; the choices she makes.
     File these away for the perhaps time after Bryony's Needle. Only 4 chapters done. In almost a year. Well, I jus looked back and I seriously started in tin the middle of March last year--ten months for four chapters. Somehow I must speed up this process or for one thing I may never finish it, and for another it will be as slow as my process, with all the vitality removed by taking such ponderous steps from A to B. The characters and setting are pretty much established and now the plot needs to take over in the rush of feathers and dream. This out of a dream many years old now and recorded here.

1488. Breaking it open
January 11, 1987

Here is where we live.
In the hard shell of the known
darkness, the border is what
we have made. With our knowing
and with our fear of what
we do not know. Sometimes
we touch it and it reassures
us of our safely; sometimes
we touch it and the knowledge
burns that we are trapped
can stretch no further
and must recoil to where
we can safely live. Circumscribed.
     This is my answer.
Each night our dreams in
the darkness burn holes
and the fluid light enters.
Sometimes we carry it all
day. Other times we let
it evaporate, forgotten, or
shun it, fearing how we will
burn. And the holes in the ceiling
heal. reaching up both hands through
the holes of the dreams we wrench
open a splitting seam, and the
light shines down on us in a
shower of gold. If we are wise
we fill our pockets then, so
later just a wise little golden
light can warm us when we need. [1]

1489. Looking at the tracks left by the rest of my life
January 11, 1987

What I need to know: everything.
I am young, and the worst of living
takes my life away. Wasted and spent.
I should be walking in the mountains.
What mountains?
The only ones. Drinking water that will
purge all these poisons from my heart.
The purity of the cold sky burning
in my lungs. The ache of muscles
used well.
All or nothing at all I said.
So I live in the nothing. At all.
At the feet of all. [2]

1490. I look up
January 24, 1987

Winter and I look up and there's the orange "76" ball rotating in the branches of the bare tree. [3]
     I am thinking how portions of my life are already parceled--I don't want to do it anymore. Integrate and hold it all together. This means that should I ever publish BN I will use my own name. I thought not, but now I will.
     I will. What amazing words when you think of what the word "will" means. It becomes a kin statement to "Let there be light."
     I could handle a nap right now instead of facing the poems of the unknown page.

1491. Not writing Sunday
January 24, 1987

It's too oppressive, this staring at the blank page or not letting my eye fall on it. How can I have written when I never write? I fear claiming myself. Naming myself. Yet I tire of hiding myself deeper and deeper and what from? What into? O bloody hell, this must change. There's no choice anymore if I'm going to live (if I'm not going to now, there are many choices).
    The revolving orange ball. Cats asleep together.
I'm tired of wrestling--go.


1. Never went anywhere

2. Nope, nor this.

3. We lived across the street from a gas station.

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