Les Semaines

February 27, 2005

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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Pattern Recognition

I love finding the pieces that fit together, the patterns. They can't be too simple (most pop and sing-songwriter's songs) because that's too easy (though again sometimes things are too easy for a kind of purpose that I like -- it's hard to define).

Patterns are what I like in poetry -- in sound, shape, imagery, theme.

In fiction, too.

Even in playing solitaire.

My poetry is all about patterns. As is my novel.

Life isn't so tidy, but yeah, it's always interesting to find patterns there, too.

Sometimes I think we're like cats -- we get into certain patterns that repeat and repeat and repeat then suddenly we decide to shift for no reason into a new pattern.

Right now I'm in a work too hard at night pattern and am shortly going to shift into a series of visitors. Then Clarion West. These are familiar patterns.

Like the cards falling.

Sometimes stuck in a game I can't win. But sometimes the cards all just fall into place. Sometimes, best, I think I'm defeated until the very end when suddenly the pattern reveals itself and all the cards fall into place.

It's time for that now.

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

Listening

Got Tori Amos's new disc and only like about four songs on it. She's gone soft pop. Very little interesting in it to me.

So why am I enjoying the pre-release I found of Ellie Lawson's The Philosophy Tree? It's like a mix between Alanis Morissette and Dido. I don't really like either of those two much. I'll probably get tired of this but right now I'm enjoying it.

And Tori, well, since the raw power Boys For Pele I've always just expected too much from her.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

Gwyneth Jones's Life is a near-past moving to near-future novel about the life of a woman scientist, who makes profound discoveries about the nature of being male and female both her explorations both of her own life and in genetic science. Her life becomes a story of personal, sexual, and world politics, raising all the baic questions of knowing wht we knows as humans, how should we then live? It's a deep, complex book, a little unwieldy and both offputting and intriguing, just like life. A friend said she liked this book better than Geoff Ryman's Air. I didn't, but I ended up liking it in a more love-hate kind of way.

Philippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl is an historical novel based on the little-known life of Mary Boleyn, Anne's sister, who before Henry VIII married her sister, was his mistress and bore him two children. The story is about rivalry within the court and between the two sisters, about familial duty versus personal values. A fascinating tale.

Linda Berdoll's Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife was more of a guilty pleasure. It's a "sequel" to Pride and Prejudice in which Darcy and Elizabeth can't keep their hands off each other. More of a bodice ripper than anything and nothing like Jane Austen, but I had fun reading it.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

A busy week. Got out a grant application and a couple of other bits and pieces out the door.

A good week on the novel revision front. Still finding I'm very happy with the writing I'm coming across -- the ideas and everything. On the first of three runs over the last half of the book. I'm not finding any great gaps or unnecessary stuff so far, which is making me happy. I hope I'm not being too easy on it.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

Sunday, August 4, 1991

Skye --> Inverness

Ate too much at breakfast, where we talked to a couple from Oxford, he a viola teacher, she a retired physio-therapist. Left Portree about 9:15, drove to Knock Castle, crawled around in the nettles and sheep shit. Lovely bay, wild rocks on one side, grass growing right to the water on the other. Christina went down to the rocks while I waded through nettles. Back to Charlie, then to the ferry to Kyle of Lochlash.

Drove to Eilean Donan Castle--really lovely. Et salmon-filled rolls and went inside. Full of fun antiques (a grandfather clock Christina pointed out that had a ship moving aback and forth as it ticked--a castle it moved toward on one side and a tree on the other). The family had found coins and such there, and still live there in a little apartment sometimes.

 

Eilean Donan CastleEilean Donan Castle.

 

Drove on through the beautiful mountains again, grassy and high--the Five Sisters of Kintail.

Drove on to Loch Ness--no sign of her--and stopped at Urquhart Castle--tour bus blocked the road but we got in. Urquhart was beautiful--red stone mostly in ruins but charming. One tower where John Grant lived rebuilt. We wandered around there for a while. More funny round spiral stairs. Sunny for most of it.

 

Urquhart CastleA view of Urquhart Castle with Loch Ness behind.

 

Then went to a funky gift shop where I bought Nessie pens.

On to Corriemony--another of the chambered cairns, somewhat like those we saw in Kilmartin Valley. The top is open now, and we ate dinner (more salmon rolls from Eilean Donan) there, then explored. Can crawl throgh on hands and knees in the open centre, so I did.

Wonderful setting--green fields, trees lining the road as at Templewood. Cows nearby + sheep. (Saw the largest cow pat ever.) Crawling through, the stone under my knees sounded, felt, hollow. Lovely stone on top of the cairn with cup marks on it.

 

Corriemony CairnThe entrance of Corriemony cairn.

 

Drove then to Beauly Priory--really lovely ruin. Red stone again set in a graveyard (1800s stones the only legible ones) with huge, old trees. Inside the priory grass and more stones with bits still legible. Behind a grate there were effigies of Frasers, tried to take pictures but doubt they'll come out. Took pictures of some of the medieval stones, as well.

It was getting late by then, and so rushed into Inverness, settled now 9:00.

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