Les Semaines

March 19, 2006

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

 §

Not Depressed

No, indeed, I was not getting depressed, it was just the impact of a virus where the rest of the symptoms showed up the next day, to my relief. Better sick than depressed, eh?

Still no date for my Mom's surgery, and she's getting a little bit of cabin fever living in my sister's mobile room while blizzards rage around them. She has some other health issues that are complicating life a little for her, but all would fade, I'm sure, if she could be out of the pain and limitation of movement caused by the bad knee, so please cross your fingers that she gets her date soon, and that it's soon, for everyone's sanity.

Feeling under the weather meant that I had a fairly quiet week. There were all kinds of little bad things--things that could have been worse, but luckily weren't, but still should have been better. It made for a frustrating week, that everyone seems to have been going through, at least all my friends.

One fun thing, on Friday afternoon, Jim and I and Karen drove up to Maltby, had a lovely lunch in the very busy but good Maltby Cafe, and then they walked around Flower World (a big, BIG nursery) while I sat and worked on my laptop in the car. It was fun to have an excursion.

Chronicles of Sloth: Episode 17

  • Email inbox down to 296 messages (from 299 last week, from 380 when I started tracking this, and still way up from my 231 low in late November)
  • New novel stands at 51,883 (up from 49,965 a week ago) words
  • One more medical appointment to arrange
  • Clarion West applications up to date -- still easy because we're just starting to show signs of breaking out of the lull after the March 1st $100 tuition break deadline
  • Jim is currently listening to the final poems for upcoming possible CD to see if I need to re-record any. Still need to: have a photo taken; finalize the order; provide a final listing of the tracks & times
  • Succubus booklet to design & lay out for the Feminist Caucus of the League of Canadian Poets
  • Canadian taxes rough draft done! (due April 30 but have to do before U.S.) and U.S. Taxes rough draft done! (due April 15) Yay, me!
  • Arranged the 2 large stacks of CDs to ready for review
  • CD pileup ignored this week (keep/toss/add to ectoguide)
  • Tape collection diminished by 2 since last week (35 remaining in the red bag)
  • Get framed picture of me & Jim & send to Jim's Dad
last week's thinking and doing § next week's thinking and doing

Listening

It's not like the world has been silent, but I haven't been listening to anything in particular.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

Kim Stanley Robinson's Fifty Degrees Below is the second in a series of novels about the possible future given the realities of global warming. After a ind of rough start (for some reason I found the clipped syntax a little annoying at the beginning of the book) I fell into the story again, and ending up liking it, and ready for the next volume. Maybe not at this point as knocked out as I've been with his previous book, but still very interested.

Kevin Brockmeier's A Brief History of the Dead has been getting a lot of buzz. It's the story of the afterlife where people end up living in a city in much the same way as they did before they died, but only as long as someone alive remembers them, then they disappear. Suddenly, lots of people disappear, and there are rumours of a devastating epidemic. And there's a woman isolated in Antarctica on an expedition when suddenly the world outside goes silent. What happens then? I loved this book but felt some disappointment with the ending. Probably just me.

Liza Cody's Monkey Wrench and Musclebound are the further adventures of Eva Wylie, of Bucket Nut. These are called crime novels, but they're really about Eva Wyle, The London Lassassin, a wrestler going for th big time but it keep evading her. In fact, life keeps messing her up, big time. She's big and angry about it, and has quite the mouth. A great voice, and terrific character study.

Venetia Murray's An Elegant Madness: High Society in Regency England paints a protrait of the life of the upper classes of the period, all the fashions, excesses, parties, gossip, and wildness. It was a strange and turbulent time and high society reflected that. A fascinating look at the world touched on in Austen's and other novels about the time period.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

Feeling a little ill, so didn't finish my poem or go to my poetry workshop on Monday.

Did finally get our copies ("our" because Jim is in there, too) of the issue of Thin Air literary magazine that our poems appear in.

Illness prevented any useful work on Thursday, but on Friday I sat in the car and did some editing on Gypsy Davey and had a good session working on the new novel at the coffee shop on Saturday.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

1636. U.S. holiday

November 28, 1991

Thanksgiving today. We roasted a turkey and all. Got a lot to be thankful for, too. But part of that is four days off work to hole up and write. I mostly wasted time cooking and playing around on the compter but added a bit to my story and worked on some revisions.

All those things I should be doing...they weigh on me. The messy closet, the tapes, the box of photos from Scotland, my sewing, mending, Christmas presents, reading, the review, the things for the Archives Crew, Sister Cities, the LCQ [1]. Too much. All those letters I need to answer. Oh shit shit shit. And I want to write. And guit and goofoffness gets in the way. And Jim hovers over my shoulder. Anfgers me. He gets restless and so have to visit me.

Cats had some turkey, too.

1637. Fourth day

December 1, 1991

This is the fourth day of more or less intently working. Up and down. More revision than vision. A few words to deaden the story and to enliven old poems. 3:30 on the last day. Tomorrow work all over again, the job I mean. And I have to get back to the tasts. Zach is scratching at the study door desperately. He was on my lap till I got up to pee, and now he won't come back and leave Jim alone.

1638. Reconstructing a Life

In what way will the soul
reenter the body (the story
come alive)? It would be
first with the naming
the sound of the voice
one instrument saying
he name, called her
home. Incantation.
Inspiration. Child,
woman, crone, I call
you back, name you Mairie
call you back to put flesh
on these bones, to make
something a story
out of nothing at all.
I wish you back, my
longing a rush of wings
around your long sleep.
wind through the feathers
reassembling you, drawing
the bits of you
out of the dust. And now
that I have your attention
I saw now come home,
put a roof over the stones
of this crumbling cottage
carry the nettles like sheaves
in your arms away
from the fireplace, work
how your body still remembers
it done. Place your furniture
back where it stood
(your sisters, your husband,
the babies that lived), place
them where you'll only trip
over them when you should
It's a little crowded this house
you'll sing and I'll see it
the stones rising to the roof
peat in the fireplace
the kettle singing, you
happily slapping the child's
hand away from the cakes.
The shape of your life in days
you want to remember. But
now I place you emplty, a bit
of wind of dust yourself
alone in this shell of a home
the cold wind rising, stirring
the nettles like memories
a low moan scattering
crumbling mortor, the stones
that won't stand where they should
the history of the house
fallen down, your children
fleshless themselves
and have been for years.
It is this I've called
you back for. This tale
of your full life in the
emptiness now. Of your human history
a ghost in the house,
fences fallen, land abandoned
all that you here
the life that you lived
here undone.

Notes:
1. Background info: "the review" = at the time I was writing occasional book reviews for Calyx or this one might have been for Poet Lore; I was designing books for the Living Archives project of the Feminist Caucus of The League of Canadian Poets (still am); I worked on a project collecting poems and publishgin anthologies of poems from Seattle and her sister cities; the LCQ was a literary magazine that Jim and I both worked on.

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