Les Semaines

February 8, 2004

what I'm thinking and doing § what I'm listening to § what I'm reading
what I'm writing § retrospective: old journal

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Two Weeks Together to Catch Up

Well, I cheated. I knew I was never going to catch up at this rate, so I just skipped last week. Forgive and all that. Better that than a totally boring entry. Though I don't ever promise lack of boredom. I mean, I'm not at a particularly dramatic stage in my life, and unlike some friends and relatives, I'm not addicted to drama, having found it more painful than not, and not being addicted to pain.

Work has been hectic and I've been buried in paper, as February 1st was our application deadline. After dealing with just our small number of applicants, I marvel at how the other departments in our college manage with 500 applicants. All the paper! Trying to get it in the right place! It took me several work days to feel as though I was in charge of the paper rather than it being in charge of me. I was so grateful that our applications for Clarion West are so much simpler and that it's not high season for them yet. In any case, I'm very interested to see who of this group of applicants we admit. It's a little odd to have even more a look into the shaping of people's lives than I have with the certificate programs and with Clarion West, since getting into a Ph.D. program or not is such a life-changing event. Clarion West can be and often is, and a master's program, too, but somehow this seems heightened.

I also rather wonder at those who don't really seem to make an effort to put their best foot forward and yet who still seem to want to join the program. Do they think it is easy to get it? That they will be let in on the basis of a glimmer of potential? It really is a competitive world for these thing, and even in a new program like ours it's pretty competitive.

Back many years ago when we were applying to Ph.D. programs we didn't have a clue, and were misinformed that the program we applied to was hurting for students, which it certainly wasn't, so we made an effort, but not as big a one as we should have. I sometimes regret that, but when I watch faculty politics I don't for long.

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

Listening

Last night we went to hear Anonymous 4's last concert in Seattle, as they've decided to disband. This is the third time we've heard them. (I recount the last time in my February 20, 2000 entry.) This was also lovely, brief, beautiful. Not quite as transcendent as our last experience, which I think is due to the fact that they were in a more usual concert setting this time. Still, so lovely. Sounds to lose yourself in, weaving gorgeously.

On recommendation from someone on the ecto list, I downloaded some samples, which I love, from Jesca Hoop's website. I've been playing them repeatedly. They're so catchy and unusual. They remind me a little of Rebecca Moore. Alas, she doesn't appear to have a disc yet, so all there is are these samples. Damn. I want more!

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

Sheri S. Tepper is a novelist that I have mixed feelings about. On one hand, she was a wonderful, inventive imagination and is good at drawing you into strange worlds so you feel you can see and touch them. On the other hand, she is frequently preachy and often lets that take over her tales to the point of losing the story. The Companions is one of these. It's the story of a far-future earth, where the whole world is taken up with housing humans to the point where there are no wild animals any longer and few pets because they use up necessary resources. Jewel is a young woman who loves animals, and ends up working for one of the few places where dogs are allowed to be. When political pressures leads them to close even those few places she goes with her linguist brother to study a new planet, using his clout to bring the dogs along. But they're not quite dogs anymore, and the planet is very strange. It's all involved with the elder races, a race that has disappeared, and two other war-like races who are working towards interplanetary war. While I was interested in part of this it took me four days to read the last 40 pages because at that point I didn't much care anymore. (See my May 16, 1999, January 7, 2001 March 18 & March 25, 2001, March 24 & March 31, and September 8, 2002 entries for comments on my other Tepper readings and re-readings.)

Tracy Chevalier's The Lady and the Unicorn is the latest of her novels where she creates a story behind the creation of a work of art. In this, she describes a possible scenario behind the weaving of The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries, taking what little historical fact is known about them and weaving a story around it. Here she describes the life of an artist commissioned to design the tapestries, the daughter of the wealthy man who commissions them who falls in lust with the artist, and the world of the weavers in Brussels who create the actual tapestries. I found this one interesting, enjoying the variety of characters, their world, and the insight into the creation of tapestries. Enjoyable. I read Girl with a Pearl Earring back when it came out but somehow managed not to comment on it here in my journal. In any case, I found it rather too static and liked this one much better. Loved the beauty of the movie based on it, though, which I saw a couple of weeks ago.

Susan Cooper's children's novel, Green Boy is the story of a boy and his mute brother who live in the Bahamas, and their favourite getaway island is threatened with development. They suddenly find themselves swept into another world where the city has almost totally absorbed nature, and the younger brother is hailed by an underground group as a prophesied hero. The two of them go back and forth from the real world to this, in both places fighting those who are taking over the natural world. At times a little preachy, I still found this story pleasant reading. Not as wonderful as some of Susan Cooper's other books, though, and certainly nothing to compare with the power of her The Dark is Rising series, which is one of my all-time favourites.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

I'm so easily distracted these days that while I think a lot about writing I act on it very little.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

The journal is still on hiatus. I hope to return to it next week, and start my journals from my trip to Scotland with Christina in August of 1991.

last week's old journal § next week's old journal

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