Les Semaines

October 16, 2005

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


In Which I Turn 47 At The Beach

These last two weeks have been a conglomeration of emotional ups and down. Is this what being 47 is like?

The up was way up. Being at Rockaway Beach on the Oregon Coast was heaven. We stayed in a very comfortable motel, The Tradewinds. The room set-up worked for us to have two days of writing sessions there. And just outside the sliding glass door was sand, gulls, breakers, sky forever. It was my birthday and I spent it writing. Bliss. I came home with a clarity I haven't had in quite a while.


Jim, me, shadows, sky, beach, breakersJim, me, wind, shadows, sky, beach, breakers

gull prints and shadowsGull prints and shadows on the sand.


The down is a profound disjunction in one of my deepest and oldest friendships. It has thrown me an emotional curve that has overwhelmed me. I feel like part of my definition of myself has come undone. Reconciling myself to this is hard, but I've also decided that I can't try to keep it from changing at the expense of my own sanity and self-respect. When I say this feels like breaking up, I'm not exaggerating. It doesn't come as a total surprise to me as I suspected that something was seriously wrong, but I didn't expect this. It is extremely painful.

Sorry to push it all together in one entry. We were away until Monday, I had a day-long Clarion West board retreat yesterday, I've been selling my sweet old car, Sophia had an emergency vet visit because she has a bladder infection, Jim had to give a poetry reading in Bellingham, we had dinner with and attended the poetry reading of an old friend, I went to see the Wallace and Gromit movie with Devin and Tamar, Jim went to Tacoma for an evening, I had dinner with Tamar and Zac and we watched Lost, Jim and I have been watching Firefly episodes, the Chronicles of Sloth are too embarrassing to delineate.

It has all just been too crazy and busy, and I'm grieving. Boy, am I grieving.

That's all the news that's fit to print.

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


Karen and Barry bought me the new Fiona Apple. I'm loving it. It's not so very different from the songs leaked earlier, some improvements, one song ("window") I think I liked a bit better before, but man it's a terrific album. Lively, emotive, great vocals, strong tunes and lyrics.

Carina Round's The Disconnection has also felt profound to me this week.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Lisa Tuttle's The Mysteries is a wonderful tale of solid real-world that touches the fey. It's the story of a man who finds missing persons, who has managed to lose several people from his personal life. Searching for missing people has led him to some strange and fey places. When he goes looking for an attractive client's daughter missing in England he's led to consider mysteries again.

Sarah Monette's Mélusine is an adult fantasy novel (some sadistic sexual behaviour) about two young men who lives have some strange similarities. One, however, is a mage and has become lover to the king's brother; the other is a thief. The mage's past is about to catch up to him and destroy him, while the thief's world is also about to come apart. Mélusine is their city, layered with all kind of magic and betrayal. This was a mixed bag for me. Parts of it I loved, parts I found frustrating. The ending in particular was unsatisfying, and I suspect it is because this is the start of a series, but nowhere was that indicated.

last week's reading § next week's reading


Delighted to have had another poem accepted by Strange Horizons.

Working on the first draft of new poem, this one about Hoy.

Pleased with all the novel revisions done at our Rockaway retreat and this Sunday morning at the coffee shop with Karen. A draft of the synopsis is done. I'm closing in.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

Wednesday, August 14, 1991
Hoy & Stromness

Had 8:00 breakfast, ate very slowly. Went to find Sarinder [poet we'd met while visiting Stromness, he also was visiting to meet with poet George Mackay Brown] to change day of coffee because better weather for Hoy today. Found him on his way to the Post Office.

Caught the 10:00 ferry. Fun. Pretty calm, wind, passed old wreck.

Got minibus driver to let us off at the Dwarfie Stane. Boardwalk through bog. We were the only ones there, so I peed behind it and admired the graffiti, then went inside. Lovely, eerie place. Stone hollowed inside so smoothly, ledges at side compartments, ledge over door. Pillow. One side storage, the other cairn. Sat in there and wrote Jim a postcard, humming, singing. Had to write in there and make noise. It felt necessary. Sound amazing. A big white stone on the hillside. The stone that stopped it likes in front. On the way back along the boardwalk, Christina took lots of pictures.

Dwarfie StaneThe Dwarfie Stane. So-named because in local legend it was a dwarf's home.


Then the driver picked us up and drove us to Rackwick--beautiful bay, but only farms there. We headed off to the Old Man of Hoy, past a ruined farmhouse with a beautiful white cat, past sheep, up and up a really steep hillside (didn't think I would make it up because I thought there was more like that--I expected it to be like home, like the west coast trail or something, but not at all. Once I made it, uncertainly up the hill, it was pretty even and just keep going. Amazing tableland: heather, heather and rock

Reached the promontory out to the Old Man and said hello. Too many people there, so we went farther up to have our picnic. Beautiful, amazing place.

The Old Man of Hoy from HoyThe Old Man of Hoy from Hoy.


Found our way back slowly, taking lots of pictures of heather and cliffs.

Minibus came soon (patted mackerel tabby cat) and left us at the pier. Ferry late. Sat and talked a bit to a Scot from Stirling now living in France and his girlfriend. Eaten by midges.

Ferry finally came. Rode home. Got fish & chips (bajie burger for me), stopped at gift shop and got more cards, came home and ate and I slept most of the evening away while Christina jumped. Read her events of here, got us to Skye and she sleeps. Me, too.

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