Les Semaines

January 15, 2006

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


Riddles Wisely Expounded

I'm alternating between blocks of time when I'm buzzing around accomplishing dozens of things and times or incredible inertia when accomplishing anything beyond a good nap is past my reach. It's a New Year! I should be doing! being! creating! organizing! cleaning! I should be a better, more perfect version of my last year's self! I should take a nap.

On various email lists I'm watching old arguments play out again. The ease with which people misunderstand each other is amazing. I myself just bit my lip and didn't get into an argument with someone whom I know from experience simply is just never going to understand what I'm trying to say. Why is this different? Besides the biting the lip and not arguing part. Am I misunderstanding him? Why don't I think so? Why do I think he's just not as smart as he should be? Because he won't think my way? Why should he think my way? Well, at least I shut up before getting into it.

Everyone around me is complaining about the rain, but I'm loving it. I admit, I don't go out in it much, but I much prefer rain to simply gray skies. I like rain in my hair. I don't love getting soaked, but if it's that heavy (which it usually isn't) and I'm going to be out in it that long, I take an umbrella. I don't usually need one, though. And we have been getting brief patches of sun, which seem especially wonderful because of the rain. Everything is soaked, though. As Jim pointed out, it's a good time to weed because they just lift right out. Rivers and streams are high. My road to work seems to go through lakes rather than puddles (which makes sense because the road is called Northlake).

By the way, I am no good at riddles until you tell me the answer. I wonder at these:

What is longer than the way? Love. What is deeper than the sea? Hell. What is louder than the horn? Thunder. What is sharper than a thorn? Hunger. What is greener than the grass? Poison. Who is worse than ever woman was? The devil.
What do they mean? Why does answering them gain the maiden who answers them a husband (the riddler)? What a strange means of courting, though I always approve of someone being interested in intelligence. Or cleverness, which is also a good thing. But what do these particular things tell him?

What kind of riddles would I ask a potential mate? Something about laughter, peacefulness, companionship, talking, explorations.

Can you tell I'm reading about ballads?

Chronicles of Sloth: Episode 9

  • Email inbox back up to 335 messages (down from from 380 when I started tracking this, but up from my 231 low in late November)
  • New novel stands at 30,685 words
  • One more medical appointment for me to arrange (I arranged 2 this week! Go, Neile! One of them was, um, three years late)
  • Starting to pick at the 2 large stacks of CDs to ready for review
  • CD pileup prodded at, a couple fewer (keep/toss/add to ectoguide)
  • 1 red cloth bag of tapes (+ a bookcase) diminished by about 10 the last few weeks
  • 2.5 friend's novels still waiting to be read & critiqued + one story half critiqued
  • I will henceforth forget about the abstract things and the lurking, unexplored more, and concentrate on that which is clear and in front of me to do
last week's thinking and doing § next week's thinking and doing


Hanne Hukkelberg is like a mix between Stein Nordenstam, Billie Holiday, and Anja Garbarek. Funky, jazzy, lively, gorgeous-voiced music. She can be torchy and playful, both. Too bad the disc won't play on most of our players.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Cameron Dokey's Beauty Sleep and The Storyteller's Daughter are young adult fairy tale retellings (of Sleeping Beauty and the Arabian Nights, respectively). Both have strong voices, are cleverly and sprightly told, and were quick, enjoyable reads. I liked them both, and I did her Sunlight and Shadow, which I commented on last week.

last week's reading § next week's reading


Stuck! Though this week I broke 30,000 words on the novel and figure I am roughly a third the way through. But I'm still at a point where I don't know how to pull my feet out of the complications and move forward. I'll work it out, I hope.

Meanwhile, I started tinkering with my very, very first novel, a young adult fantasy, which has been on the back burner forever. Going to poke it with a stick and see if it still lives.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

Wednesday, August 21, 1991

Began the day at the Royal Museum of Scotland, which was disappointing in that the Pictish Stones I really wanted to see weren't available, but were instead under wraps in a closed gallery. But the building itself was lovely--a charming frieze of Caledonian historic figures, including Thomas the Rhymer, Robert the Bruce, Robert Burns, the Maid of Norway... Went upstairs to see the Iron Age and Stone Age things. Wonderful pieces of stone from so many places. Balls from Skara Brae. Pottery beds, arrowheads. Things from Dunadd. A wonderful cloak found in a bog in Orkney, and a carved box found elsewhere there. Wandered till our feet hurt.

Then to the bank, and to Princes Street again, to Littlewoods for salad, and we ate it sitting at a status with a brass band behind us, bagpipes and jazz before us. To the man who sells the silver chiming balls. Then up to the other book sale. Found a couple of interesting things. If not the Carmina Gaedelica, then Deirdre translated by Carmichael. Called Jim before he went to work to warn him about the £s spent.

Then wandered around High Street. Went to the People's Story Museum, which was actually quite interesting (the woman in the attic, in the kitchen, maids, in the dress shop).

Then ate the rest of our salads in a wonderful garden. Then a quick tea with an amazing chocolate cake. Then we made our way to Princes Street again, buying matching sweaters at British Home Stores.

Then to a painfully stylized Macbeth, full of sound & fury, etc.

In pain, laughter, we walked home. Decided to go up Calton Hill. Found an alley at the end of which was a little boneyard. There we agonized over Macbeth a while, particularly the moment where Lady Macbeth agonized over Christina's British Home Stores bag.

Then farther up the hill, hissing at the lions at the end of the railings. Up to a weird collisseum place--too many people there, though, so we walked around and down, got chips and went home, G'night. All this and about 2:00 when I called Jim the coup in the USSR was over.

last week's old journal § next week's old journal

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