Les Semaines

January 14, 2007

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


January Has Already Been Going on Forever

What I had started to write for last week:
Rain, wind. More rain, more wind. Snow. We are very blessed with weather. The last few days we've been hitting more below-freezing temps and collected some of that white stuff that Seattlites deal with so well.

I can't help thinking of my friends whose roof was greatly torn off in our big windstorm a few weeks ago. When we stopped by their house the other day, a neighbour had kindly returned on of their roof tarps, which the wind had torn off. It was, of course, raining again...BUT! at least their power was on, which it wasn't for the first five days after the storm.

It seems like Christmas was forever ago. I'm not exactly used to the idea that it's 2007 so much as I'm so used to January.

The good news is that I can already see hints of sunrise on my walk to work. That puts cheer in my heart.

Clarion West is gearing up. We have more than the usual number of applications that we have at this point. We've also had our first workshop committee meeting. Meetings. Have I ever mentioned I hate meetings? Especially meetings that make me go out in the evening? Really, I'm such an old fart I hardly want to go out at all anywhere, ever. (Did I mention I'd rather not have to go out to work?)

Then it stopped. Because this week it's all about:


1986 - 2007

Zach at Xmas 04Zach at Xmas 2004.

Sleepy ZachSleepy Zach.

Sophia & ZachSophia and Zach.


It's hard to believe he's gone--he's been part of our lives for well over 20 years. He outlived his partner, Maddy, by seven years, and learned to accept playful Sophia. He was going along okay until the last couple of weeks, when he withdrew and everything seemed more difficult for him. It was time.

We miss him a lot, especially Jim does, as he was particularly Jim's cat, and a sweet (if loud) beast. He used to stand on the bed and yell at Jim to hurry up and get in so they could cuddle. He charmed all his girlfriends with his gorgeous, soulful, green eyes, and would stand by the door to yell at them to pet him.

When we get his ashes back, we're going to put them in the roses with Maddy's. I like think of them together, Maddy guarding the space from strangers and Zach inviting the people he liked in.

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


Cibelle's The Shine of Dried Electric Leaves is quite interesting and eclectic, with a Brazilian beat.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Nina Kiriki Hoffman's young adult science fiction novel, Catalyst: a novel of alien contact is the fascinating story of a young boy who has just moved to a new planet where the neighbourhood augmented bully is persecuting him. Running away from her, he discovers an underground cavern, where voices tell him to stay things to the powdery substance there. He does and the substances changes, and then he wakes an alien... A story full of marvellous ideas. My only complaint is that it ends abruptly. I loved the imagination here, and would have loved to read more.

Clare Clark's The Great Stink is an historical novel that takes place during the planning of the sewer system in Victorian London. Here a traumatized Crimean War veteran gets caught up in a murder. An interesting read, but I felt it should have been more gripping.

Nina Kiriki Hoffman's young adult fantasy novel, Spirits that walk in shadow follows the story of Jaimie from her first novel (you can read this as a stand alone) when she leaves her magical community for the first time and goes to university where she meets her roommate--whose misery is being fed on my a kind of emotional vampire. As always, Hoffman's inventiveness makes this a fascinating and entertaining read.

I read the recommendation for Sandra Schwab's The Lily Brand in Jennifer Stevenson's report on her best of the year in The Green Man Review, but I have to say while the writing was competent, the plot was ridiculously improbable and the romance didn't work for me--I suppose because I never felt connected to either of the characters or believed the world they were immersed in--upper-class Regency people behaving in highly improbable ways. Avoid.

Dia Calhoun's young adult fantasy novel, Avielle of Rhia is one of her best. While there are some highly improbable moments, I enjoyed the spirit of this. It's set in a fantasy world, but deals with terrorism and its aftermath and prejudice and how to respond to it. Avielle is a princess in a large family, and unlike the rest of her siblings, it's clear she has inherited the bloodline of the competing kingdom from an ancestress considered evil. Now everyone thinks Avielle will be evil, and torment or shun her. Then the neighboring country's magicians demand tribute or they will wreck the kingdom. Her parents will not agree, and their castle and nearly everyone in it are destroyed. Avielle was out in the viallage visiting a weaver who takes her in and hides here. There she has to discover he magic and how to answer the magicians' demands. Not a perfect novel, but with such lovely moments I didn't care.

last week's reading § next week's reading


The first weekend in January was our writing retreat weekend and steady progress continues. Also revising my most recent poem, thanks to comments from a friend.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

Sorry, next week I'll complete the story of our Haida Gwaii odyssey.

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

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2129 people have wandered through this week with me