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retrospective: old journal

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Les Semaines



A Wasted Week

Sick sick sick! Man, this cold that I started dealing with while I was in Calgary took over my life this week. I went to work Monday and Tuesday but was barely there. Pretty darn useless, but as it was the start of a new quarter I felt like I needed to be there. So I made it. Talked to the students who needed me. Unfortunately, I probably talked nonsense to the them. At least none of them complained. That's a good thing. Probably they couldn't hear me in the first place, as my voice kept coming and going.

By Wednesday I had laryngitis. So instead of going in to work, I slept. Went through another session with a low-grade fever, but it passed that day. For about five minutes I got all hysterical and suspected that I had SARS but when I actually had enough brain to think about it, I realized it was just a Horrible Cold and I could go back to sleep. So I did.

On Thursday I dragged myself in to work for two measly hours. It was all I could manage.

And I didn't go in Friday. I slept again all day. My voice was still coming and going, but I could yell at Jim when he got on my nerves. I clearly must have been feeling better.

He was kind. He borrowed and rented movies for me (The Importance of Being Earnest, Far From Heaven and White Oleander). He brought me juice when it would have disturbed a cat lying against me (and my own deep weariness) to get it myself. He went to the door and got the receipt for the delivered Chinese when I hadn't dressed all day and wasn't about to the go to the breezy door, anyway. So.

This doesn't make for entertaining reading on your part, does it? I meant to take a photograph of the blossoms popping open on our pear tree, but I'm embarrassed to admit that I haven't left the house since coming home from work on Thursday.


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



Been on a bit of a Virginia Astley binge as a friend was asking about her music. It's so dreamy ethereal pop and sweet but so light that it's not cloying as it could be in another's hands. Very difficult to describe.


last week's listening § next week's listening



Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman's The Fall of the Kings is a novel about a professor and the young nobleman who falls in love with him. They live in a world that is rather Renaissance-like, highly heirarchical, and adamant that the historic kings and their wizards were evils that the world is well rid of. However, the youth from th north believe otherwise, and the professor begins to find sources that suggest they may be right, while meanwhile his young novel lover is starting to have strange dreams.... While there were some things that I wish could have been explored more deeply (so, was the Land crying out for a King?) I enjoyed this, especially its evocation of the joys of research.


last week's reading § next week's reading



I have not been writing. Mostly this week I've felt happy to breathe without coughing. When I could.

No news on the submission front, either.


last week's writing § next week's writing


Retrospective: old journal

September 24, 1989

[Yes, this entire group of entries was written on this day.]

1563. Furious
September 24, 1989

I have just read Furious [1] quickly
and I am
I have just read Furious and how
quickly my mind clicks
over and over like a broken machine
Jim toddles out of the study
to pour tea and try to be silent
and O I am Furious.
I have read it
and I am.

1564. Seven book on my knee
September 24, 1989

Furious gone now, given to Jim
I have 7 books on my knee
four by people I've met
though Bronwen [2] is dead now
Bronwen is dead now a month
and how dare she I didn't know her
well enough to claim friendship
and it breaks my heart that she's gone
no more poems, no more of her
common magic and of her grace.

1565. Twelve for Susan [3]
September 24, 1989

1: Tomorrow morning you leave for Canada
     Going to bring your husband home
     like a dream like a child
     like a dream child
     bringing everything south of the border
     bringing everything home

2: And surely now your life can again
     Begin again--surely now
     Except there are borders to cross
     to bring him home
     Borders and fights and claims
     and what then?

3: Right now you sit in the sun
     Your suitcase packed behind you
     The cats watch you from the picture
     window not trusting
     the sun makes your skin warm
     and trusting

4: Sunday--and Thursday
     you'll be back and you hope
     all the fighting will all
     be over

5: Sun you your back like his
     hands; your skin browns
     though it's nearly October

6: You look down into the harbour
     Even Sunday the tugs
     are busy arranging our lives.
     Tomorrow, you think,
     Vancouver harbour and the changed
     light on a new city

7: Letters describing your pain
     are the ones you haven't sent
     the ones you don't keep
     And the replies: love him
     don't love him will it
     all be over soon?

8: The wind rises over the water
     the ferries carrying tourists
     last travellers north
     summer lasted long this year
     about to break into
     ruin; October

9: And it will all be over

10: And the rains will begin

11: This is nearly the last thing
     A reminder that the words
     sometimes mean the same things
     at these times: love and pain
     and having him back across the border

12: And we can all believe
     in happy endings--why not
     the wind across the border
     is the same the ferries that ship
     our bodies north and south
     across the straits. We are still
     always only ourselves and
     the stranger you bring home
     will be the man you love.
     To begin once again.

1566. Part of the Last
September 24, 1989

The last day of summer
and listen to the trees
They keep talking
say anything
whisper of storms
of rain
change on the land

Magical thinking: I think of magic
I think it or the lack of it rules our lives
How we can love and cannot
How we use one special thing time and again
and hate to abandon the stone on the beach
that stole a moment of our thought
into our hearts

1567. Maddy
September 24, 1989

licks my arm
the sun on her
white fur glistens


1. Canadian poet Erin Mouré's collection by that title.

2. Poet Bronwen Wallace, who had recently died of cancer.

3. Our friend Susan was going to get her husband who had gotten stuck on the wrong side of the border thanks to the INS. The marriage didn't last long. I guess I knew.

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