Les Semaines

November 19, 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 Glamourous Life

I don't know why I don't have much to say about my life right now. It's not that anything's wrong or I'm depressed or anything at all like that. I just have nothing to say about it. Or at least I feel that I've said it all. This definitely makes for a boring journal. I'm not having a dramatic romantic, work or family life. My life doesn't feel boring as I live, just when I try to write it down.

This week I had a lot of phone calls. Long talks with my mother, who finally sounds like herself again after her long, hard year and knee replacement. My sister, who is recently back from her first trip to the U.K. and who is planning to go back in the spring. Then friends who having complications in their romantic and family and financial lives. Nothing I can do but listen.

If I'm anything, I'm a listener.

What would my advice be to anyone? Mostly as I put once in a poem to realize that this is really your life, glamorous or not, and you're busy making it, day by day, intentional or not. So better to be intentional, make do the best that you can to make your life what you want it. It's not that you really have control, but damn it's easy to make a mess of it unintentionally, isn't it, so surely trying intentionally to make it what you want it must have some effect, right? I'd like to think so.

And so, I make my life. First learned what I wanted to start with. Found Jim and we decided to keep each other. Invited cats in. Found the place we wanted to live, whether or not it would be the best for us as far as our careers go. Chose jobs that we've chosen to keep, a house that we've decided to live in. None of this is perfect. Our masters degrees don't count for much. We argue. The cats puke and whine and wake us up several times in the middle of the night which makes us cranky (Sophia just pukes, while Zach pukes and does all the rest, too). It bloody rains where we chosen to live, even if a sunset like tonight is gorgeous I really shouldn't complain because I don't mind the rain much--it rains at home: Veda Hille would say, You love the rain or move away). Our jobs are jobs and have good times and bad--they've both been a little stressful this fall for us. The house has its lovely points but there are lots of things we'd like to change about it, paint, update, fix up. At least there are no more surprises like the first time we had torrential rains after we moved in when there was a stream coming in the furnace room about four feet from our bed.

And so, here I am on a Sunday night. In the middle of my life. We've been casting glamours, that is charms, that is working on poems, messing with words. That's what we do. That's our glamourous life.

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

Listening

Having my iPod on random is a delight. Each song is something that I want to hear. I see people walking around with the white strings from their iPods, isolated from the world. It's not a good thing, but I'm one of them. A pure, exclusive music in my mind.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

Ellen Kushner's novel The Privilege of the Sword begins with a young woman being taken under her mad duke uncle's wing as part of a deal to stop a lawsuit her is pursuing against her family. She agrees to live with him for six months and to learn swordmanship, though it's scandalous for a woman of her class. At first she can't believe he seriously means her to, but slowly realizes he does, and that she enjoys her lessons. It's when politics and marriage alliances get involved that things get more complicated. A highly enjoyable read, set in the fantasy world of Swordspoint and with overlapping characters.

Ellen Klages' realistic children's novel, The Green Glass Sea is set in Los Alamos, New Mexico, at the height of the research on the Manhattan Project during World War Two. A smart but isolated young girl, Dewey, whose father is caught up in the research, must go to live with him in the secretive town. When he has to go away, she is forced to live with a nearby family. This is a charming, interesting read with truly engaging characters.

Delia Sherman's Changeling is the story of a mortal girl who offends the Genius of Central Park, where she has grown up and which she loves, but she is sentenced with exile for breaking a geas. To win her way back she must accomplish three impossible tasks. This is the fun tale of how she meets the fairy child who was put in the real world in her place, and how they earn their ways back home.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

Despite my poetry workshop being cancelled, I finished a first then second then third draft of a new poem, one that will probably be my poem on our annual Christmas letter. It felt good to work by ear again, and this is a form, a glosa, which works off lines of someone else's poem (here a poem by George Mackay Brown, a poet from Orkney) and has a set rhyme scheme, though not a set meter.

After I finished it, I realized that it is my second poem for the book after the one I'm trying to get finished. These habits of mine partially explain why I have trouble finishing things.

Also spent several hours continuing the revisions of the novel. It's amazing how many hours can go by when I feel like I've done significant work but the end of it all isn't really in sight.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

Still no joy. Hiatus.

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

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