Les Semaines

February 13, 2005

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


February All The Time

February always feels like a stressful month. Friends' family members and our family members have been having some scary (but okay so far) health issues. There's so much to do, onrushing deadlines, and it's a time of year that you have to be social or go crazy. Luckily -- at least as far as the February blahs go -- we've been having some lovely weather. They're predicting water troubles later in the year because the snow-pack has been melting because the weather has been so warm, though.

I'm getting bad again about getting things done during the week, and even during the weekends. Time seems to just flit by, and I find myself missing hours. I mean, looking up it's 4:00, glancing down then up again and it's 6:00. How can that be? It's not like I was doing much of anything in those two hours.

The week has been hectic because of work admissions and Clarion West admissions materials are coming in and we've started our series of countdown workshop committee meetings.

Socially it was a fun weekend. Friday night we met up with Karen and Barry and we grabbed a quick dinner then went to see Bride and Prejudice, which Karen and I loved and Barry and Jim tolerated, mostly for the eye candy. I just had a heck of a lot of fun.

Saturday Karen and I did our usual writing session. Later in the day Tamar and Jim and I met Zac at a really good curry restaurant, where we had a delightful dinner (mussels! lamb!) then went to see Million Dollar Baby, which was tough to watch at time (a woman fainted because of the violence) but involving and powerful. Afterwards we went to Zooka's for coffee and where Tamar and I had fun picking on Zac (though he did his share of joking and teasing, too).

Today I've been trying to play wake up and catch up and look at those deadlines. Guessing by the amount I've gotten done today, I'm not too impressed by imminent deadlines. Sigh.

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


I've been listening to a ton of discs quickly, while doing a disc purge. I've gone through four shelves on our CD rack and am starting the fifth and am on the Ds. Some discs I haven't played in a long time haven't aged well. Some I'd forgotten how good they were, and some I just can't figure out if I still like them or not. Some I like just fine but know I'd never play them. One rediscovery: Boa. They're a pretty obscure (of course) altpop group with interesting orchestration, catchy songs, and the lead singer has a stunning voice.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books has some wonderfully fascinating and memorable glimpses into another culture and into the world of literature. Nafisi, an Iranian professor of English literature who studied in the U.S., returned to live in Iran during the years of the Islamic Revolution. There she struggled with the world the revolution created and watched the sufferings of her friends, students, countrymen over the years of harsh restrictions and slight compromises the regime allowed. The book begins with a time when Azar had been expelled from the university where she was teaching, and so she secret gathered a group of her most committed female students to read forbidden Western books. While so much of this book is wonderful, I couldn't help wished she had followed through on the set-up and stayed closer to the story of these women, or that she had given the book some structure so I had a sense of what was going on when. Instead the book ends up feelings like all time is mixed, all events are mixed, and only periodically does she return to the group of students. A diagram of the book feels like a child's wandering scribble, which ended up wearying me.

last week's reading § next week's reading


I am still struggling with the poem I'm working on. I just haven't found the way into it yet.

I am also struggling with a chapbook I have put together out of the re/inventory manuscript -- I just don't feel comfortable with its shape or contents, and don't know if it's that I miss the full manuscript (which I never felt quite comfortable with) or if it's just that the kind of work including is simply out of my comfort zone. I wish I knew.

Of a batch of poems sent out four were rejected and one held over for further consideration. Damn, I hope it gets taken as it's a place a lot of people I know tend to read.

The fiction is going well -- I just wish I had more time for it. I'm really happy rediscovering what I wrote in this section. I feels right.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

Friday, August 2, 1991


After breakfast went to a couple of shops in Portree, bought cheese and crackers and nectarines (a punnet of peaches). Drove north, past the Old Man of Storr [distinctive pillar of eroded rock] (rainy, cloudy weather), to the Kilt Rock [a rock eroded into kilt-like pleats] (wind humming through the guard rail). Pastorals of Skye.

At one point we were stopped and a pony put his head in the car window! He wasn't sure at all that he wanted to move aside to let us travel on.


PonyThe impetuous pony, once he'd backed his head out.


Then clambered through the ruins of Duntulm Castle. Then went to the Croft Life Museum, then up a short drive to Kilmuir cemetery. Passed Flora MacDonald's monument, but Christina wound the knight outlined in green. Also a great piper's grave.


Knight's gravestoneThe knight outlined in green (described in a poem by Richard Hugo in his delightful book The Right Madness on Skye).


Continued south through Uig, saw what looked like a glen [one of my favourite poems in Hugo's book is called "Glen Uig"].

Then went around west. Saw the fairy bridge, but realized what it was too late and knew we'd return, so drove north again to Trumpan Church, or at least its wall. Apparently the site of a massacre of the Macdonalds, who were in the church, by the Macleods, who set it on fire and only one old woman survived. Also, there is a memorial to Lady Grange, a Protestant who tried to inform on her Royalist husband, and who was held in captivity 23 years and went mad. A couple of lovely medieval gravestones, one inside the church.

Back south to fairy bridge. Photographed Charlie [the car] there, then went to (~4:00?) picnic there. Spend a penny, tossed a penny. Weird sheep we named Harold and Edith started over the edge at us when we were being silly. Wrote Jim a postcard there. Lovely, green, beautiful.


The faery bridgeThe faery bridge where MacDonald lost his faery wife. Note the amazing colours. Note Charlie (our rental car). Photograph by Christina.


Then walked through the grounds of Dunvegan Castle, then north again to "Coral Beach" where found the nettled ruins of a croft, many wonderful shells, and a white crab. Looked for a souterrain but couldn't find it.

Back home among the midges and fish and chips and crash.

Other folk at B&B: a tailor's cutter and partner learning gold- and silversmithing. He on Saville Row.

[The trip to Skye is immortalized in my poem "On Skye" and the nettly croft in "Reconstructing a Life", the frontispiece poem to Blood Memory.]

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