Les Semaines

January 16, 2005

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


How Lazy Can I Get?

You might have thought that last week was about as lazy as anyone could get. You would, however, be wrong.

This week I have fallen to new lows of laziness (laziness cannot, of course, be considered a high -- that would involve climbing). While I did get dressed everyday and had a very busy day on Tuesday (more on that later) everyone would be amazed at just how messy my lovely study is getting. And how I haven't done anything with so many things -- meaning how they're all just sitting around in various places in my study. Like beside my feet now, or half under the typing/sewing table, lying on the daybed or just plain On The Floor. Piled on desk and table tops goes without saying, right? Anything that can have anything on top of it pretty much does. Like the framed picture perched atop the row of books and the somewhat teetery stack of CDs for review. How about stuffed dust mite (www.giantmicrobes.com) on top of the tin box of Xmas presents my sister sent on top of the paper on top of the CD on top of the DVD burner on top of the boombox on top of the the tape dubber on top of the VCR on top of the filing cabinet with bag of ungiven Xmas presents at its feet? That's a pretty good example.

Also, I am so lazy that our house still has Christmas chocolate in it. From 2003. However, I did get dressed today.

Oh, Tuesday. Yes. That is the day I went to work. Well, I went to work every day this week. It's one of the two days I went to work and fell asleep at my desk (I hope no one at work reads this journal). Only for a moment or so before I forced my eyes open. I think I finally went and bought coffee on Tuesday, I don't remember now. I do remember that I stayed late talking to a couple of students which is my favourite part of my job but was also a problem as being late meant that I had to rearrange my errand schedule. From work I went across the street and bought a sandwich for lunch because I hadn't thought far enough ahead to make one to bring. Then I went downtown to a funky sardine can office building to a research office where they had me sign papers and asked me questions about my sex life in 1984 (luckily I remembered the year as it was Jim's and my first year of marriage and the year we finished our MFAs at the University of Montana) spit in a tube and pee in a cup and let them attach leeches to my arm. Well, no, really they used all the modern equipment to take some blood samples. And then they gave me a check and sent me home. Except I didn't go home, I went to the Clarion West office and picked up our first submission for the year's workshop. Then I went home and threw myself into the shower and got all clean and washed up and then I worked on my new poem trying to make it better and then I made dinner but didn't have time to do more than eat a couple of bites straight from the pot before I had to leave for my poetry workshop where we proceeded to deconstruct said poem (not really, they liked it and even laughed at the right places). Then home and collapsed to bed.

Such is my life. Though I don't participate in medical studies that often.

Other events: Devin came over for dinner on Wednesday while her boyfriend Dave was driving here from North Carolina. He left on Tuesday and arrived Thursday night which is some kind of crazy, especially given it's January. But now he's here. He and the other three sugar gliders, which I haven't met yet as they stopped by Saturday while I was out grocery shopping after my writing session with Karen because that night Tamar and I made pastitsio. Which was a lot of fun. I don't often cook with someone else, but it's a fairly time-consuming recipe and I thought it might be fun and indeed it was. As then we ate it and we ate some of the raspberry-apple sauce I'd made on Wednesday (really, really good when still warm with a dollop of the ice cream left behind by Karen and Barry last weekend).

Well, so maybe I'm not so lazy after all. Especially as I finally have an old journal entry up for you.

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


The Fiery Furnaces released EP, a collection of their b-sides this week. hat a lot of wonderful stuff! They're such a strange and interesting band. Experimental but traditional and melodic. They deconstruct their songs but build them back together like jazz does, only this is rock. A new progressive music (though this is so not prog rock). Hmmm.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Zilpha Keatley Snyder's children's novel The Unseen is about a young girl in a large family who rescues animals. She's in the forest and finds a white bird that has been shot by hunters. She collects it and brings it to her home where she hides the animals until they've recovered enough for her to release them, but the bird disappears, leaving only a gorgeous white feather behind. She tells this story to a strange girl at school, who tells her that the feather is a Key and shows her how to use the Key to show her what is usually unseen. Some of the unseen creatures are lovely but others are cruel and terrifying. Should she pursue knowing this world? It's fascinating and terrifying at the same time. This story held my interest, and I especially like how the author didn't over-explain her world, but I thought some of the character maturing was a little too tidy and her urgent need to have questions answered seemed to automatic after the first time.

When I couldn't sleep Thursday night I finished two slim but interesting books. Luke Sutherland's novel Venus As A Boy, which is the story of a young man turning into gold, telling the story of his life growing up in Orkney and ending up on the street in London. It's a strange and lyrical novel: the young man's is to induce ecstasy in those he touches. An interesting aside is that Luke Sutherland is also a musician, and we have discs by two of his bands, Long Fin Killie and Bows.

The other book I read in my sleepless night was Laura Williams McCaffrey's children's novel Alia Waking. Alia's one ambition in life is to become a woman warrior, but worries that she won't be chosen. When she and her best friend find and capture two of their group's enemies, the warrior group takes her in, but she begins to realize that all is not as it seems. A magical novel with a strong core message about being honest to yourself.

last week's reading § next week's reading


First poem of the year written and critiqued. Already I'm doing much better than last year.

Only about four hours' work on the novel this week, even including my coffee shop time. Need to try to incorporate at least a little work on it every day or I'm never going to finish it.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

Monday, July 29

Whiting Bay, Arran

Got up, packed, had breakfast, caught the bus and struggled to Waverly Station. Got the fast train to Glasgow. Then got to Glasgow where had a tough time getting through to the car rental people. I went to the loo (10p) then got luggage cart, then got back and I tried the number and finally got through. Then it took them a long time to get there. Then had to start driving. Not nearly so bad as I thought [1] Got good directions at a gas station --> Paisley --> Johnston and a couple of missed turns (noticed right away, though) and got to Ardrossan. Then waited at the ferry for 5 hours. Got there at 1:00, the 2:45 was full and we hadn't booked ahead so didn't get on, but we were the second waiting for the 6:00. So finally packed on the ferry like sardines.

Went to the top front and stood looking at the huge white jellyfish and the smaller (slightly) red ones and the colour of the waves. A guy was smoking too near us, so Christina went to be rude to him but he was really sweet back so we gave them a lift to Whiting Bay: John Scott and Harry the Viking. Nice boys. Drove round the water side road, past Holy Island, dropped them off and then to our B&B. Had tea, then walked along the beach, finding shells and rocks. Found ourselves at the path to the Giants Graves and so decided to walk it even though the sun was setting. First a long flat part then the 285 [2] stairs through the forest. Even though they're planted forests it was magical. First part (before steps) by a stream, then up. Some lovely views of Holy island and the beach. The climb was a killer for me, but worth it. One place two saplings like an arch over the path, and I could imagine a fairy tale starting. The stones themselves in the clearing were wonderful--all mossy and beautiful. I hope the pictures turn out because it kept asking for the flash. The Giants Graves were mystical and it was wonderful to be up there when everyone else had gone home. We only had a short time there but it was powerful--it was. Walked back through the forest. Stopped just before where it joined the other path where there was an old tumbledown storage shed so had to go in. Not much there, but a tree growing through veiling a hole in the roof. A little window, a corner where the rock had tumbled. Back to Silverhill North. Bath, scribble, sleep.

Giants GravesThe Giants Graves.



1. Meaning driving on the left-hand side of the road. This was the first time I'd ever done it, and it felt quite natural. Because I'm left-handed?

2. The guidebooks says 265.

last old journal entry § next week's old journal

Last Week § Les Semaines index § Next Week

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

3318 people have wandered through this week with me