Les Semaines

October 10, 2006

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

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The Price of Words

Back when I was much younger and wiser than now, I wrote in a poem:
                ...words
do not smuggle cheaply,
but exact their own price.
They leave little of me here.
This is how I feel now. Each word is hard work. In speech and writing. They're like stones I'm hoarding. I have trouble letting any of them go. At least it's work to speak, to type, to string words together in a meaningful way. I find it in emails and in conversation where there's a lull and I should have spoken and it never occurred to me that I had words to put in that silence.

I guess that's a little of what's happened here. Maybe it's a mood. Maybe it's autumn. The strangely unseasonably warm Indian summer days or the rainy ones in between.

Maybe it's having got safely through all the orientations and too much talking at work. And enough stress because of deadlines there to make me mildly sick.

Maybe I need a medicine for melancholy. Which music can be. In both senses of "for" in that sentence.

I'm really looking forward to next weekend. Not only is it my birthday, but we're going off to the beach for writing retreat. It will be good for me, I'm sure.

                I tell you now
these are the first words I've spent;
they carry more than their weight
to you.

(from "In Reply to Your Letter" in Seven Robins)

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

Listening

Psapp crack me up. White Magic makes me sad. at least they serve as antidotes for each other.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

I've read nearly all of Jeanette Winterson's adult novels, so I was intrigued to see that she had written a young adult fantasy novel, Tanglewreck. Silver's parents and sister disappeared on a train to take a special clock, the Timekeeper, to a strange man in London. Her aunt arrives with her nasty spying rabbit, Bigamist, to take over the house and give Silver a Cinderella life. But then the man in London comes to visit and it's clear he doesn't have but stll wants the Timekeep. Not only that, there it's clear that time is becoming unruly. There are time tornadoes snatching people from the streets of London. Something is clerly awry, and Silver doesn't feel adequate to do anything about it, but she's going to protect the Timekeeper--but she doesn't know where it is...A fun, complicated story with a lot of terrific time things and magical ideas.

I realized that one of the novels I forgot that I read when I was off in no-journal land was Stephenie Meyer's New Moon, the sequel to Twilight. In this the vampire boyfriend decides that for her own safety he must leave. Devastated by his departure, she mus try to put erself together, but she can't forget him, ever, though one friend does begin to help her. This is another intense novel, powerfully good at showing teenage intensity. And a cracking good story, too.

Daniel Abraham's A Shadow in Summer is a tale of intrigue and betrayal in city that lives by its trade--it's the first of a quartet of fantasy novels. Here poets harness elemental elements with long, elaborate spells, and these elementals ensure the prosperity of the city and keep the warlike Galt people at bay--until the Galts begin to conspire with the elementental himself, who desperately desires freedom. Set against these are an old woman wise in the ways of trade, the younger son of a nobleman who has turned down the opportunity to become a poet and who lives in disguise so his brothers don't murder him to get him out of their way, a young, barely trained poet apprenticed to the current one, and his lover, inexperienced and apprenticed to the trader. It took me a bit to get into this story, but by the end of it I was ready to read the next, which of course I have to wait for.

I didn't kow this novel was even coming out, so it was a delightful surprised to see Lian Hearn's The Harsh Cry of the Heron: The Last Tale of the Otori in the brand-new-in used section at the University Bookstore. I snapped it up, and now have read it. I can't say much about it that would be spoilers for the trilogy that precedes it, so let me just say it's a powerful tale of politics, revenge, and those who want to keep the peace. Visceral and upsetting.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

Canada Council grant time. I was reminded last weekend, when Harold was visiting. So I spent the week in a panic, rewriting, revising, recompiling and managed to get the application out in Friday's mail.

Because I was working on the grant, the only novel work I did was this weekend, in my session with Karen. I'm still tweaking, wondering how long it can go on that I feel I am improving sections I've worked on dozens of times before. How can it keep getting better? Am I fooling myself? Is this a way to keep playing so I never have to send it out?

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

Still on hiatus. Soon.

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

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