Les Semaines

April 23, 2006

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


Lost a Week or Maybe Two

So busy. So so so busy. Too busy to write here (apologies). Meetings and decisions and all that. And now that things are calming down I've wrenched my back and am coping with muscle relaxants and ibuprofen and a heating pad.

The Clarion West class of 2006 is now settled. So that's done. I have a ton more work to do, but now everything is at a halt because the drugs make me stupid. And sitting at my computer chair here hurts.

Had a farewell dinner tonight for Zac, as he'll shortly be moving to Portland. It was at a restaurant right on Lake Union. Very pretty. We tossed fake gold coins, had Tinkerbell party favors and pirates. Very silly.

We're going to buy Zac a Utilikilt as a farewell gift.

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


New Fiery Furnaces disc. Supposed to be pop. Ha! But it's got some terrific parts. Love those Furnaces.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Maureen Johnson's realist YA novel, 13 Little Blue Envelopes follows Ginny as she starts a treasure hunt. Her wayward, artistic aunt has just died, leaving her a packet of envelopes full of instructions for a kind of treasure hunt. Her adventure begins in London, and leads her to find a starving artist, to Rome, Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Greece...and perhaps her first boyfriend. Quite entertaining.

e. lockhart's the boyfriend list (15 guys, 11 shrink appointments, 4 ceramic frogs and me, Ruby Oliver) is another realistic YA novel. In this Ruby starts having panic attacks and her bohemian parents send her to a shrink to work out why. Her boyfriend recently dumped her, her former best friends aren't talking to her, and she's gotten all confused about other guys. This is her working out her story. Another entertaining book.

Gabrielle Zevin's YA fantasy elsewhere has a fascinating concept: that the dead go "elsewhere" where they start getting younger rather than older every year. When Lizzie is killed in a bike accident and travels to elsewhere, first she is in denial and then she's furious. After all, she never got to get a driver's license or go to a prom. Then she gets rebellious, and starts to do the things the dead shouldn't do, like trying to contact the living. While I found the concept more exciting than the actual execution of it (there's something just a little too pedestrian/generic about the story and characters) this was still well worth reading.

Adam Gopnik's children's fantasy novel, The King in the Window, started with a great, classic concept: that there is another world behind windows and mirrors, but it goes one better, mixing in contemporary and 17th-century Paris, delightfully eccentric characters, magical items and events, wraiths, a dark master, an ordinary boy becoming a king but finding there are alarming associated responsibilities, a little adolescent longing...it's a wonderful mix. I kept thinking it was turning conventional and maybe a little boring and it would always surprise me.

Jane Stevenson's London Bridges is an unusual and delightful mystery novel. Early on we know whodunnit, but the interesting lies in just how circumstances conspire to catch him out. Here there is a seemingly inconsequential series of people meting and interacting, some of them getting to know each other. Very entertaining.

Elizabeth Knox's adult novel Billie's Kiss is set on an island in early 20th-century Scotland. Just as the ship that is taking her and her sister and brother-in-law to the island reaches the dock, Billie runs off the ship -- and it blows up. Many of the passengers and crew, including Billie's pregnant sister, die. Another passenger, Murdo Hesketh, is determined to figure out why the ship exploded. Of course, he starts off suspicious of Billie. She gets drawn into the odd family -- related to Murdo -- who run the island. An intriguing, somewhat uncontrolled story.

R.A. Nelson's YA novel Teach Me is about a high school senior who has an affair with her teacher. She has all the passion of youth focused on this teacher, and he's in love with her, too. Until he cuts it off. A powerful novel about the obsessive nature of young love.

last week's reading § next week's reading


Some writing. We had a day-long retreat in here. I worked on my new novel, then I worked on an old story,, tightening it up in hopes of sending it out again.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

May 1992 Trip to Haida Gwaii (The Queen Charlotte Islands)

Saturday, May 9th, 1992
Seattle → Quesnel, B.C.

The three of us (Dad, Jim, me) got on the road at 9:00. I began driving, then we kept changing. Mostly a gray day, a fair amount of rain. The country kept changing. Mostly a gray day, a fair amount of rain. The country around Hope—just part it on Hwy 1—particularly green, lovely. Then after that some lovely shades of gray rock faces, scree and rust.

Then driving through the Cariboo—all Ponderosas and dry hills, seemingly a very different country. Stopped in Quesnel at 7:30. Had a nice dinner—chicken ceaser salad. I think it will be an early night.

Sunday, May 10th, 1992
Quesnel → New Hazelton

Got on the road at 9:40 after getting up at 8:00. Shared driving again, Dad starting. Country not as attractive as earlier until we approached New Hazelton. Checked in, then drove over a one-land bridge over a gorge, Hagwilget Bridge. Then went to look at Ksan. Only the gift shop was open—some marvelous things. We wandered around admiring the pole, then went back to the bridge and parked so that we could walk across the bridge and take picture of the gorge—really lovely.



Then back to the hotel for dinner and then a shower.

Nice to sit in bed and look at a snowy mountain.

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