Les Semaines

August 19, 2007

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

 §

Getting Myself Back

Slowly, slowly I feel like I'm becoming human again. It's a damn slow process. I've been picking at tasks until they budge for me. Some actually progress and a very few I actually complete.

Two weeks until I have to go back to the day job.

The flea population is thinning, and Sophia has been thinking only inside the box. It's hard to pill her, but she really does seem less anxious, so I think the drugs are working.

In lieu of words, here are some pictures.

Atia & Titus in basketDoubledecker with Sophia on the top and Titus (isn't he huge now?) and Atia on the bottom level.

 

cats on couchAtia & Titus share the catbed. They used to fit in there easily and now if the two of them are in it one usually gets squished out.

 

paintingHere I am painting my dining room ceiling two weeks ago. Yes, I wear that silly dress to paint in. It's torn. It's also cool, which really helped because it was a warm week and there I was, painting the ceiling.

 

 

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

Listening

St. Vincent's Marry Me is quirky and fun, and something new to enjoy. There are strange echoes of other artists (the first song sounds eerily like the obscure and wonderful Meg Lunney though none of the other songs do) but I guess it adds up to her own thing. In any case, it's catchy and individual in a rather musically quiet year.

Two Loons for Tea's new album Nine Lucid Dreams is terrific, too, as I say here on my comments on it in The Ectophiles' Guide.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

I read Robin Hobb's Tawny Man series, Fool's Errand, Golden Fool, and Fool's Fate. They may be in the crowded and generally disparaged field of epic fantasy, but they're well-written, highly readable, hard to put down and damn I was up till 3:00 a.m. last night finishing. I can't describe the plot without spoiling the first trilogy, but they're to do with creating fate, knowing yourself, responsibility, love, and simply being human (or not quite). Great reading. Karen and I have been talking about "crack books": the absorbing books you start and can't put down. These are definitely crack books.

Sarah Beth Durst's young adult novel Into the Wild tell of Julie, whose brother is a cat who wears boots and whose mother runs a hair salon, and by the way her name is Zel, short for Rapunzel. Her grandmother was an evil witch, but now the Wild has been defeated and lives under Julie's bed, annoying grabbing her possessions and transforming them into magical objects. That is, until someone manages to sneak through the defences and make a wish the frees the Wild to lock everyone back into the patterns of their tales. Great idea, right? Though I liked the heroine, thus was a little flatly worked out and the cover copy promised Supercute princes, which we didn't get. Overall just didn't seem to live up to its potential.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

Still a struggle, though I've written a few hundred words into the novel and the first draft of a new poem.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

1666. Story 3
August 17, 1993

A walk by the Lochs with Ruth and we saw a salmon leaping up the last part of the ladder. A little over a foot long. I'm trying now to think of a story to tell, or at least how to tell it.

Story 3

Summer's sun a malt of
of light sun on skin; a flow
a dappled flow of leap and
leaf and light untill my flesh body
my body is a stream itself,

too, a flow of stbones and
and shadow where I lie in a bed
lie in a bed of long grass and weeds,
loss grass and moss, my pillowed by moss. And the
pillowed by moss. And the the dancing warmth on

fallend log, and the
dancing wamrth on my waking flesh is
flesh is a tangled touch of
touch of the sun and the breeze
the breeze and your fingers, love [1]

1667. Goddam
August 26, 1993

Morning is coming, it's after 4:00 and I can't sleep. Of course I was exhausted earlier and had to force myself to get working on the novel, thought it was good once I got going--though I probably didn't get enough done. [2]

I had a frustrating day earlier, which was probably part of the problem--and of course the fact that today marked the day that I have less than a week of freedom to finish up all these stacks of paper. I'm really going to have to stay motivated this fall to get it all done--to do the poems for the book/grant [3], revise Spells for the editors, publish the Preservation working papers [4], do Upstream [5], do the Living Archives [6], do the new book for The Poem and the World [7] and try to finish Gypsy Davey [8]. I'm nervous thinking about it all. I know I've taken on too much but I don't know what else to do.

And so it goes at 4:30 in the morning in August when it should be warm, but isn't.

1668. Story 4

What we do is climb,
love, climb above the
jumble of towns, of
binding roads, to the
places where trust is

all, a bond of steel
between us more taut
than the ropes or our
muscles as we still
move upwards learning

once again how to
trust the forged metal
of our bodies and
all the slopes we've climbed.
The journey is all. [9]

Notes

1. A very, very early version of the poem that, much changed, became "Story 2" in Blood Memory.
2. The more things change the more they become the same.
3. I had a grant for the King County arts commission to work on new poems, and though I did work on them and write new ones, I really concentrated on the novel.
4. The Preservation working papers were a series of papers written in the University of Washington's Preservation of the Vernacular Environment class that my boss (the professor for the class) and I edited then desktop published through the Preservation program that we ran (I still run, she's moved to another university). Very cool stuff.
5. Upstream was a magazine that I was reviews editor for many years, which eventually evolved into the Salmon Bay Review then faded into oblivion.
6. The Living Archives is a series of books for the Feminist Caucus of the League of Canadian Poets, documenting and updating papers for AGM panels done over the years. I desktop published them every year for many years. Fascinating stuff. You can see a bunch of them here and on subsequent pages there.
7. I actually dropped out of The Poem and the World, a project that hoped to put together anthologies of poems from Seattle and Seattle's many sister cities. They did at least three volumes and I participated in the first, helped organized and edit the poems and then desktop publishing the book.
8. I got two-thirds of the first draft written that summer, and then once work started got too busy to finish it. It took me years. Years and years. Of course, I think that was because I wasn't yet ready to write the novel that it eventually became. I grew into being ready to write that novel.
9. This poem, changed very little, is "Story 6" in Blood Memory.

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