Les Semaines

April 9, 2006

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



The weather, the weather is shrieking "spring!" all around me. I look up and see budding branches silhouetted by the sun on the blinds. Lawns are being moved. People are digging out their winter gardens. Even I feel like I'm waking up. Sometimes, at least.

I've been very busy with Clarion West stuff, and our friend John Barton came to visit for the weekend. We had a lovely time, talking a little, going for coffee, watching movies, writing. Sunday Tamar made a key lime cheesecake and came over to help me make pastitsio. Devin and a visiting friend came over with salad and I had bought some retsina, and we had a feast.

It was also random present for Neile night. Tamar brought over a new Lanterna CD. I love Lanterna's soundscapes. Then Zac brought over a copy of the sheela-na-gig that is on Kilpeck Church, the one I wrote a poem about. I wonder if I'll be brazen enough to put her in my living room. Or will I keep her in my study to be a private muse? Really, she should be outside, just under the roof line, but I worry someone might swipe her there. Still, it would be tempting to put her outside somewhere unobtrusive.

I am grateful for wonderful friends. Chosen family. Music. Wild spirits.

And spring. I am grateful for spring.

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


A new Lanterna album!

last week's listening § next week's listening


Steve Augarde's The Various is an odd little fairy story. It's your typical fairy in the bottom of the garden story--except it isn't, quite. And the children who run across it aren't quite your typical children, except they are. I found this intriguing, mostly because I couldn't quite put my finger on it. It was part children's tale, part young adult. Usual and yet oddball, and overall entertaining because of it.

Marisa de los Santos' Love Walked In is a delightful let-yourself-ride-the-emotional-wave novel. In it a smart, movie-loving woman who manages a cafe (underachieving, people think) finds her life changing when a gorgeous Cary Grant look-a-like walk in, exchanges banter with her, and walks out with her phone number. A few weeks later her walks in with his estranged 11-year-old daughter, her mother having reached a point of mental crisis that the daughter had been carefully covering up and abandoned her. How this all sorts out is a charming read. However, everyone is so beautiful? And rich? And basically good-hearted? It makes for a fine read, but in a book where the voices seemed so real and honest the dishonesty and simplicity of that feels like a bit of a betrayal, but really, you know, I should have known.

John Green's realistic YA novel, looking for alaska is the story of a young southern boy who collects famous people's last words decides to go to a private boarding school for his last two years of high school because he has no friends. There he meet Chip, the Colonel, his brilliant, rebellious roommate and Alaska, a lovely but troubled and complex girl. The three of them and several other friends get caught up in a feud with the day students and in a series of pranks. A lovely, realistic novel of intelligent teen life.

Cecil Castellucci's The Queen of Cool is another realistic YA novel. This is about one of the cool kids, who realizes she's a little bored hanging out with the cool crowd and even though she's not sure why she does it, she decides to do an internship at the zoo -- one that puts her in contact with uncool people and she has to deal with uncool things like cleaning cages. A fun book with a great, believable voice. Short and sweet.

last week's reading § next week's reading


Didn't write with Karen this week because of her commitments and my own, but John, Jim, and I wrote at Java Bean and I got a draft of a new three-page poem. It's about Haida Gwaii, The Queen Charlotte Islands. I've been promising my mom this poem for 14 years. Also did a little work on the novel.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

1642. About nothing

January 19, 1992

The need to write, write, write--all the poems, the stories, the letters due. This afternoon I sat and read Daughters, wasting the light and now I'm full of energy an desire. Sarah's Choice is here at last, and is as good as I had hoped from the snippets I caught in Hamill's review in American Poetry Review. And The Sacraments of Desire is better than I had thought at first glance.

My cupboards are tidy (most of them) and I want to do do do it all. Sew. I've got such beautiful fabric and so many projects to do, do the scrapbooks starting with Scotland. I keep dreaming of Scotland. And there are so many ways to fritter away my time. Putting the roast in the oven. Heating (reheating) my cup of tea.

"The passion of Medea
who loves and forgives
Now Zach meditating on nothing on the blue blanket on my lap. I'm cold, and the heat's not thawing me.

Though there are other folk like me I won't hear of it. This is a poet. Ink is blood. A tie a name. Pelikan

Zach a cat.

Meandering. 1992. Wandering off the page.

1643. As if a body is what we deserve

That's how our spirit
is born,
locked down. battened down
onto the deck of a ship
just launched and leaking
in rough water
waves washing over
the singular deck
and spirit trying
to break through for air
while the heart sings
a shanty about work
and continuance and the wind
tears at the sails and the masts
It's a rough sea for spirit
lying heavy on the hull
its weight for ballast
and there is a yellow star
falling. [1]

1644. Sunday in Feb.

February 9, 1992

Zach on my lap on the blue blanket again. Maddy on the love seat across, sleeping, Jim typing in the other room. A bag full of letters to answer beside me. (Rats.) Spent last week working on Airs & Graces [2] and it's done and out again. I hope they want it. It's good to have it gone and in the world again. I finally wrote to ask about Bryony's Needle [3]. To see what's happening.

1645. Pen to paper

Three words to open
Three wishes to spare
my darling husband
I hope you are well
warm and happy.

"You have to close the eyes, Stephen said. That's required. You have to stop people from seeing their memories." Janette Turner Hospital, The Tiger in the Tiger Pit. Note:
1. This eventually became drastically reshaped to become the right hand section of "Death is an Ampersand", a poem in Blood Memory.
2Airs & Graces was the working title for Spells for Clear Vision.
3. My first fantasy novel that I only sent to one publisher and one agent ever.

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