Les Semaines

October 22, 2006

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

 §

The Stressed Life

The last few weeks have been crazy busy--probably not what some of you would count as busy, but too busy for me. I'm someone who needs a lot of downtime and home time.

I was helping put together an event for work and so many things big and small that could go wrong did go wrong. It just couldn't go smoothly not matter how much I worried over it (of course being so stressed about things made me miss details).

I was so crazy by all of this that I didn't cancel our trip to the beach for our writing retreat/my birthday weekend but I was so anxious travelling down that I made Jim let me drive. There was no way I would have been able to just sit in the car and do nothing. A couple of things to do with the event were just stuck, and I have no idea if we would be able to go forward with them, both of which would have messed up the event.

Happily, though, we stopped for espresso and a late lunch at the Morning Star in Seaside, which has wireless, and I checked my email and lo and behold, both roadblocks were gone and things were good to go, so I could relax and enjoy the rest of the weekend, and I did.

Being on the beach is so restorative, as is writing and good friends. And birthday cake, yes, birthday cake is good, too, especially when it's the Bailey's Irish Creme cake from Simply Desserts. It is to die for. I had a lovely birthday--Jim surprised me with an iPod, so now on my walk to work and when the conference room is noisy and I have to just my office door I have music to save me from claustrophobia.

It was a lovely weekend.

Then back to, well, the event, and the other annoying hassles it had up its sleeve.

Got through that week in one piece, though always feeling at the edge of the abyss. Saturday was a day long retreat for the Clarion West Board, which as staff I am on ex officio. They're all terrific people, but it was a long day. Collapsed at home that evening. Wrote the next day with Karen because I wasn't available Saturday, then had a couple of hours before going to a terrific Sufjan Stevens concert. It was delightful.

Got home at midnight, when I suddenly realized that I had forgotten to get the liquor permit for the banquet, and it needed to be done three days ahead. I'd forgotten because I was dealing with a student paperwork mess-up. I panicked, thinking that the reception for this ill-starred event was going to be ruined because of me. I hardly slept that night, fretting away, and when I finally got to work the next morning and saw the "three days preferred" on the paperwork it was too late for me to relax, but I took care of it.

Wednesday night was the event, and it was a rousing success despite everything. Lots of people and enthusiasm. Thank gods.

And now a busy but slightly more normal weekend, and a chance to get caught up here.

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

Listening

We're at 273 lala trades, so yes it has definitely been slowing down. No CDs incoming between October 8th (my birthday--and it was one for Jim) and yesterday. Now two are coming. Several still trickling out. Right now I'm listening to The Golden Palominos Pure, which we got from lala a few weeks ago and someone requested, but I think I'm going to keep it, at least for a while. Dreamy stuff.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

Lori Lansen's The Girls is about conjoined twins (at the head) telling their life story about growing up in rural southern Ontario. Curiosities, of course but they also are curious themselves. Well worth reading.

Jo Walton's Farthing is an alternative history speculating on what might have happened had those who were trying to arrange a truce with Hitler managed to do so. Here a young woman, child of the set who managed the truce, had broken away and married a Jew. They're pressured to come to a weekend at the family home where all the set are, when the leader is murdered. The husband is of course, immediately, a suspect. A fascinating look at what barely missed happening--and what has in other versions in other places. A mix of the country house murder mystery with deep politics and a shiver of contemporary resonance. Impressive.

Alison Bechdel's graphic nonfiction story Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic is about a young woman who later discovers that she is lesbian growing up with a closeted father. Interesting to look at and to read, though it somehow feels a little loose.

Sherwood Smith's fantasy novel Inda was a delight. The the story of a young boy swept off to his country's military school, where he has to prove himself in all kinds of ways. The novel has a huge canvas--Sherwood Smith has built this land since she was a child, and the richness and thought is apparent in this, the first of a series (thought curse the publishers, it's not acknowledged anywhere obviously on the book). The politics and human emotional world is rich and tangle. I highly recommend this to anyone who reads fantasy. I was fascinated despite military school being a thing that interests me not at all. The characters and the world and their story are terrific.

Lee Smith's historical novel, On Agate Hill, tells the story of a rebellious young woman, scion of a family that was wealthy before the American Civil War, who is being raised on the ruins of a plantation. The society she was born to is long gone, her parents both dead, her guardians caught up in the ruin of their own lives while they struggle to build new ones. I loved this. It was refreshing and real.

Eileen Kernaghan's children's fantasy novel, The Alchemist's Daughter follows Sidonie, the daughter of an alchemist who has promised the Queen Elizabeth that he will be able to provide gold for her to build a fleet to defeat the Spanish Armada. Sidonie must deal with her father's folly--and her ability to scry the future. This didn't work for me quite as well as I thought it might.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

Still trimming, knitting, tightening, fastening down the novel. Hours away from finishing with Part I.

Wrote a new poem and took it to my poetry workshop on Monday. It's a poems I've had about five lines written of for months and it has been rattling around in the back of my brain ever since.

My two poems have appeared in the anthology Long Journey: Contemporary Northwest Poets. Nice to appear in this kind of anthology!

Also sent out my long poem, "Auchindrain" to a contest. Cross your fingers for me, please.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

Still not caught up here, sorry.

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

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2012 people have wandered through this week with me