Les Semaines

April 17, 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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More of the Same

I'm weary of saying how busy my weeks are. They all are, by default. We're working on putting together this year's Clarion West class and it's an ongoing process. We like to be finished by now but we're not going to be for a while yet. We have made some calls, though, which is great. I love how excited people are! I remember begin that excited, and that scared. I wish we could invite everyone, but some people just aren't ready, and some people it's simply that we only have room for eighteen. It's hard.

This week was full of evenings out, for concerts and for a charming UW production of Haroun and the Sea of Stories. But three nights out in a row and I'm dragging at work the next day. I'm such a night person that I'm all wound up when I get home from these things and then the next morning I want to sleep sleep sleep. I think the thing I hate worst in my life is having to wake up (I also don't like to go to bed, but that's not so painful). For the last year or so, what I've been doing is setting my alarm for shortly after Jim gets up, getting upstairs, going to the bathroom, being greeted by a bouncing, cheerful Sophia there, hugging Jim good morning, then going and sitting on the loveseat under a down comforter, having set the timer on the stove for as long as I can possible manage to let myself doze off. I use that timer because you have to actually go over and touch it to stop it and otherwise I'd just go back to sleep.

Fun thing about the concerts: saw two old friends I was happy to see at the Regina Spektor show. Tamar and Jim went with me to that, and Tamar and JoAnne went with me to the Jorane show.

Sophia is being quite friendly these days. Cuddly sometimes even, but she seems to have discovered in the last month that being petted actually feels good. This has clearly been a surprise to her, and she doesn't often want to be petted, but now she actually seems to anticipate it with pleasure rather than dread sometimes. Sometimes she doesn't run away or cringe when we come up to pat her. She also comes by and asks to be patted more often. Right now she's weaving around my legs; she loves me right now because the CD drawer on my computer is out. She loves to watch it go in and out.

Zach continues in his demanding, endearing ways.

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Listening

I went to two concerts this week, Jorane at the Triple Door and Regina Spektor at the Croc. The venues could not have been more different. The Triple Door was amazingly civilized--too civilized. We had dinner there, foofy drinks, a curved booth with a great view of the stage, the concert started on time, and all. The Croc reeks of beer and cigarette smoke, you have to stand and peer, shifting behind tall people to see the performer.

Both artists were great, though.

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Reading

Pauline Holdstock's A Rare and Curious Gift is the U.S. title of her Giller-nominated Beyond Measure. It's the tale of a community of artists in Renaissance Italy, including an painter's daughter modeled on Artemisia Gentilleschi (indeed much of the plot revolves around biographical details from her life), a dandified sculptor, a scientist, and a female slave whose skin is marvellously (and alarmingly to the superstitious folk of the time) mottled black and white. I liked parts of this but found myself a little annoyed at the drama borrowed from Gentilleschi's life drawn into this different story. I found it jarring.

Nancy Farmer's children's book The Sea of Trolls follows a Dark Age peasant boy when he becomes apprenticed to a bard, then shortly afterwards is captured by Vikings and taken back to their country as a slave. When the leader of the raid discovers he is a

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Writing

This was another annoying week where the only writing I got done was during my Saturday morning session with Karen. Which was good, but I need to be more disciplined about getting work done during the week, no matter how much pressure I'm under on other fronts.

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Retrospective: old journal

Friday, August 9, 1991

Stromness, Orkney

Got up at 7:00 to call Jim and the line was busy so came back to hear the phone ringing--turned out to be Jim. Had a wonderful quick chat, then back upstairs. Then breakfast.

Christina did some of her work and I wrote postcards and a "Still Warthogs Run Deep" card to Jim. Couldn't remember the name of Franklin's other ship (other than Erebus) so walked to Login's well (Terror). Stopped at the museum on the way back and Christina went on back to the B&B. Found interesting info about an Irish ex-convict John Graham [my father's name] who had saved a chipwrecked captins' wife who had been taken captive by the aborigines.

Came back, then worked till had lunch at Inn around 2:00 (very hectic, waitress dropped one salad), ten went on another wlk to find goodies. Found them, and met yet another person at the bookstore, a former teacher of classics who has come here to write poetry. He advised me to buy George Mackay Brown's book--a poet who I'd noticed lives in Stromness. Went back, had a sleep, and got to work a bit.

Then at 7:00 went for a long walk along the beach road past where we'd been yesterday. The tide was in and coming higher. Sat on a wonderful wave-worn section of the beach & planned a calendar then walked on where the waves hit our feet.

I stayed on the road, though Christina tried the beach a little. Approached the cemetary at an orange sunset. Could see it shining through little gaps in the stone fence. As we approached the cemetary, its silhouette against the orange sky was amazing. Wandered there a bit. Found only one skull & bones one. One Ellen died young warning others.

Watched the sunset, felt the wind and a bit of rain. Finally, slowly danced out way back. Pretending to be guard & prisoner as we passed Winston Bloody Churchill's bunkers to get by safely.

Town jumping. Got chips & a weird pseudo-Indian pattie. Yummy. Now tea.

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