Les Semaines

August 12, 2007

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

 §

Disappearing Again

After the workshop ended, I let myself do nothing for two days (except go to the dentist for many hours), then got ready to paint the dining room. Took a couple of days to get ready, and Jim did most of the furniture and stuff moving as my back was still delicate. Another day to TCP and wash the TCP off. Then we bought the paint (called "olivine") and covered the walls. I love it. I love it so much that I painted the entryway the same colour, so with all that it took a while. Then I had to do a third coat on the hallway, as my insurance quart was slightly lighter than the gallons and it showed so I had to buy another gallon. We're still putting everything back into the rooms, but I think they look great. Both were off-white and I like colour. It just seems so intentional.

I've been doing lots of lazing around and tinkering with stuff around the house, flea-combing the kittens (Titus whines, Atia mostly enjoys it, Sophia tolerates it), worrying about Sophia's peeing problem and hoping her anti-anxiety drugs are starting to work. So far so good since we increased her dosage. Cross your fingers for us, okay?

As you can tell from the below, I've been reading a lot. Time has been disappearing so damn quickly. I'm almost halfway through my summer and have accomplished so little since the write-a-thon ended! Urgh!

I've been unreasonably tired, too. My back is nearly better, but I'm still sleepy and often crabby,and feel like I don't have much to say here. It's summer. I'm tired. I should go pick blueberries or something.

So it goes.

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

Listening

I've been listening to the new Two Loons for Tea album which I have for Ectophiles' Guide review. It's good--at least as good as their previous two, and some really funky stuff on it.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

Margaret Mahy is one of those authors where she either totally captures me or misses by a long shot. Unfortunately, her young adult fantasy Maddigan's Fantasia, though I love the delightful ideas in it, never really caught me up and not for lack of trying. It's the story of a post-apocalyptic world, where a young girl travels with her family in a travelling show, a mixture of circus and magical performance. Unfortuntely, the world is full of dangers, including Road Rats who kills her father and travellers from a future time, who are trying to escape pursuit and repair the future, and the people who are chasing them and their nemesis from the future. It's a marvellous world, but the characters never focused for me and the story, despite is overall arc, felt picaresque and the troubles they meet along the way, including her father's death, just felt too easily resolved.

Linda Demeulemeester's The Secret of Grim Hill is a children's fantasy about a young girl who has just moved into town and is suffering can't get her feet in her new school. Then there's an opportunity to join a soccer team that if it wins a game all the team members will get a scholarship to the fancy private school nearby. Her younger sister notices that there's something very strange in all of this...fun and fast-moving.

Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer's romantic adventure novel, Don't Look Down is an odd combination of what I like so much about Jennifer Crusie's novels and an action adventure plot. I enjoyed it, but not as much as I like her solo novels.

Susan Palwick's SF novel Shelter is one of the best novels I've read in a long, long time. There's something about her interesting, flawed, but fascinating characters that really captures me. I liked her previous novel this much, too. Shelter is a near future novel where a mega-flu has become an epidemic. It's so contagious that its victims much be totally isolated. Two young women survive it: Meredith, the daughter of one of the richest men in the world--who does not survive but who is translated onto the net, and Roberta, whose immigrant parents die, leaving her orphaned when she finally recovers herself and at the mercy of the foster system. However, Meredith's newly net-born father befriends her. Life continues and they grow up, rebelling and creating their own shelters and their own families. There's an AI house and a homeless man and a horrible storm. It's a rich, enthralling, and thought-provoking read.

Emma Bull's fantasy novel Territory set sent in Tombstone at the time of Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, and all. It focuses on the fictional characters of Jesse Fox and thw widow Mildred Benjamin, and all the entangled story of a small western boomtown with stakes and claims both territorial and fantastical.

Stephanie Meyer's eclipse follows Twilight and New Moon and is just as much a crack book as they are. Nothing to say that won't spoil the earlier one excpet the story stays just as tangled and yet rewarding enough to keep me inhaling these novels. So hard to put down.

The Riddle is the second in Alison Croggan's Pellinor fantasy series. Like the first, I found myself starting slowly but getting more and more interested in it as it went along. A Tolkeinesque fantasy with a smart and very human suffering female protagonist. Very good of its kind.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

Is a struggle right now. I have a case of burn out. We had our writing reatreat this Saturday and I got nothing done as I had to take drugs for pain and they made me too stupid to write. At least that's how I allowed myself to feel.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

1661. Cat Wars
July 12, 1993

It's late. Maddy is running, galloping around the kitchen, the living room, scratching at the catp post. Zach is now stalking her. Just got home from the mailing party for the Urban Design Conference in October. Not it's catfighting time.

I've been writing yesterday here and today on the novel.

I am tired. And happy.

1662. Update
July 18, 1993

Another Sunday, this one sunny, and I've made some progress on Gypsy Davey. Only a little, but I feel a little more positive about it--a little more positive that something will come of it.

Poetry revisions going slowly. Revision is killing--first drafts are simple in comparison. It helped having Harold here to give some fresh ideas. I dream of some kind of super-editor to give the right ideas and confirmations of directions to take things--speaking of which I got my Spells ms back with editorial suggestions, most of which seem totally inessential. I was expecting severe attention to the shape of the book itself more than to the removel of "is." Ah well--I'll look closely again at it all myself. In the end of course the only editor.

1663. Progress
July 21, 1993

The novel is really starting to move now. Yesterday I wrote nine pages and I'm midway through the third chapter. I've been staying up late, 2:30 - 3:30, to work on it. Somehow that's working for me. I like to write at night, and sleeping late has always suited me. This will make it doubly hard to go back to work, though.

1664. Halfway
August 1, 1993

Halfway through my summer, and Gypsy Davey is not half done, though I couldn't have expected that much. Maybe a third. I'm in Chapter 6 now, thought I'm not certain which part of it. Still way too much to do, of course.

1665. Skittering
August 15, 1993

The words are perception, skittering
like water on hoit oil, bouncing
from place ot place, then gone
into steam, dispersed, so spread
in the air as to be invisible.
The Sunday neighbour children
crackle down the street like newspaper
the whine of the other neighbour's drill
silences at last. One cat asleep
limp and warm across my lap, the
other chews at her legs, pink licking
her back. Gray and cold in mid-August
nothing settles in this air: the roses
blowsy and alive and drunk with themselves,
that's all. Words follow the movement
of your eyes, trying to mirror thought
jumpging from sense to sense.

Just ending chapter 10 of Gypsy Davey.

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