Les Semaines

May 28, 2006

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


Holiday Weekend

A perfect weekend: a day for writing, a day for friends, a day for homework.

Saturday was our writing retreat. i worked on the old novel, making a scene list for it and doing some editing along the way. I didn't want to do a scene list because I hate doing tedious stuff, but it was amazin how the instant I did it I began to see where some scenes just went on way too long for way they were doing. Oh, and I also have very short scenes in those first couple of chapters. Anyway, a satisfying day of work, and it was also Barry's birthday, which we celebrated with cakes, ice cream, and presents. I'm always amazed at how quickly the day disappears during those writing days. Whoosh, and the hours are gone.

Sunday started with brunch at our place with Tamar and Devin. Devin made terrific French toast from bread Barry had brought over the day before and left for us. Tamar brought chicken sausages, and Jim made smoothies.

Then we went to help Tamar pick up her new cat at the pound. She had chosen him and done all the paperwork on Saturday, then went and bought all the things she would need for him, so all we had to do was to get him. He's a big, beautiful, black cat with a few stray white hairs and a soulful look. He's also terribly sweet and loves attention. They figure he's about four years old. While he was getting used to his new surroundings, we played Scrabble and I of course lost. Jim went home and we made him bring us dinner from Ballard Brothers when he came back to pick us up. When we left Tamar and her new pal were doing just fine. He knows where the food is, where the litter box is, and who feeds him. The important things.

Monday Jim got a bee in his bonnet about how foul our laundry room is. I didn't say that I'd been asking for a couple of years to work on it with him. No, I wisely said nothing and just went down there and vacuumed up a zillion happy years of spider homemaking. Jim moved stuff around, we threw together a pile of stuff to take to Goodwill and another to go to the dump, and lo and behold it's not such a terrible room after all, even if it does have bare concrete walls and floor and no ceiling but insulation stuff up in there. It's a laundry room for goodness sake. We also did a little vacuuming elsewhere in the basement. It's amazing how it just feels better when things are clean and organized. Now to tackle the furnace room and the catbox room....

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


Not listening to aything much in particular at home. In the car I've been obsessively listening to Regina Spektor.

last week's listening § next week's listening


David Mitchell's Black Swan Green is the story of a year in the life of a 13-year-old boy growing up in a small town in the middle of England. He is obsessed with his place in the bullying order of the boys in his town and hiding his stammering from them. He also write poetry under a pseudonym, which is published regularly in the church bulletin. Needless to say, he struggles, but the book is written in a lovely style and it totally held my interest. Mitchell is a fascinating novelist.

I forgot to say that while visiting Mom I also read Carrie Vaughn's first fantasy novel, Kitty and The Midnight Hour. Kitty is a werewolf, who has a midnight radio show. One night she suddenly stars talking about supernatural events, and the show is a hit--and then someone calls Kitty to stay that he is coming to kill her, and shortly after that finally Kitty admits on-air that she is a werewolf. This is a fun, light read.

Lisa Tuttle's The Silver Bough is the kind of fantasy novel I love, mixing the contemporary world with and edge of magic, and to make this even more my thing, it's set on a small peninsula on Scotland's west coast. It follows three women as they get caught on the peninsula after it's cut off from the mainland, and they run (or simply see) into a mysterious man. The relationships felt a little thin, but I enjoyed the magic of these.

Sarah Water's The Night Watch is the story of several interconnected lives, and begins shortly after World War Two. The characters then are adrift. The second part takes place near the end of the war when the characters' lives are intensely driven by daily events, and the third, a brief section only, at the beginning of the war when the character's lives are shaken up by the start of the war. It's a fascinating look at stages of the development of relationships and events in people's lives, and of course at daily life during that time and afterwards. It was intriguing to go deeper into the roots of what had brought characters to where they were at the end, and made for a deeply felt reading experience.

last week's reading § next week's reading


Saturday was our writing retreat. I am again working on Gypsy Davey revisions. This time I started writing out a scene list, looking at how long each scene is. It's helping me locate where things just get too long. So I'm trimming. Trimming I am.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

Friday, May 15, 1992

Queen Charlotte City

Today we drove back to Tlell River and took the hike out on the eastern shore. It went through wonderful, magical forest, then along the river shore--where we saw an eagle settle right above us and he let us take pictures from right below--then along the beach.

EagleThe eagle above us.


Jim on the pathwayJim on the pathway.


Picked up more shells but not as nice as yesterday. We didn't intend to, but managed to get to the wreck of the Pesuta, where we had lunch and drifted and I sat in the logs and read for a while since I'd hauled my heavy book along and wrote a postcard to Christina. Got a sunburn to add to yesterday's too. A long walk back, but it was fun. The light in the woods was really different.

The PesutoThe wreck of The Pesuto


Saturday, May 16, 1992

Queen Charlotte City → Tlell River

We packed up, and just as we were about to leave, got a message that the Maple Leaf (the sailboat Mom was travelling in) was going to be in at 10:00. Got down to the area, and there she was. She'd had a wonderful time. We took a while to pack the car with her things and some things she said she'd take back for other people on the sailboat. Then we went shopping--brought prizes for friends, a cotton pullover shirt for Jim, then to the grocery store (and post office) then lunch while we were having the car worked on--we'd broken the exhaust manifold free somewhere on the Rennell Sound road. Had lunch at John's Cafe.

Then collected the car and did more shopping, meeting some of the people from the Maple Leaf. We each--Mom, Jim and I--bought dyed shirts there. Mom's and Jim's had hand-painted designs. Also bought big earrings with black ravens on them. Then we stopped off at the tourist agents and I got 2 Russian trade beads (tiny) and a stone for Christina. Dad bought Jim a t-shirt, and later at a funky art gallery bought me two umbrella earrings. Then we went to Tlell River House. We settled in there and had an early dinner, rested, had another walk on the dunes, then bed.

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