Les Semaines

December 16, 2007

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


Sunday in Winter

The week disappeared. Someone stole it, I swear. The evil, infected eye is almost better but still annoying in that I'm aware it's not quite back to normal. The hounding virus had one last hurrah and corralled me at home on Monday, and was like a lead ball I had to drag for the next couple of days after that.

Bravely, however, I fought it all the way and showed up at work almost close to being on sorta time-ish. I made myself walk the few blocks from my free neighbourhood parking spot every day, because my back has been acting up again (la la la what next). And really, by the time I'd done that and gotten myself home and run the errands that seem to be necessary nearly every day, I was worn out and the rest of each day disappeared in a haze. How do they do that?

Anyway, I'm going to be healthy from now on, because not being is too annoying.

Yesterday was our writing retreat day, which always zips past, but is so refreshing. It was my turn to choose the movie, so I brought over our newish copy of Sherman Alexei's wonderful film, The Business of Fancy Dancing. This was, I think, the third time I've seen it including once in the theatre, and I love it every time.

Today, in between deep-cleaning the kitchen, we went to see (and enjoyed) The Golden Compass, though I can see how people have complained that the pace is just too headlong.

Really, we shouldn't have spared the time. We're way behind on all our holiday preparations still, and my parents get here in four days. FOUR DAYS!

This should be interesting. See Neile attempt not to panic. Or is it attempt to make herself care. Really, I'm not sure which.

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


Today while cleaning I played one of our old house-cleaning standbys, The Psychedelic Furs' Talk Talk Talk. Really, it's the best for getting the butt moving and the work done. Especially when played loudly.

At this very moment I'm playing the track "Dimanche en Hiver" from Keren Ann's La biographie de Luka Philipsen. Lovely pop.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Sheri S. Tepper's SF novel The Margarets is the fascinating tale of a band of people and aliens rescuing humanity from itself. Margaret is a child growing up on Phobos, who imagines several different lives for herself--and then at various life events different versions of herself do take on lives (and decisions) of their own, until there are seven very different Margarets, all on different planets in a universe where older races are forcing humanity to control their population and thus the destruction of Earth--though some evil races would rather just destroy humanity and leave the valuable planet to recover. While Tepper is always a didactic writer, I usually find her stories so inventive and well-told that I get carried along with them. This was no exception.

Nancy Werlin's young adult novel, The Rules of Survival is Matthew writing the tale of life with he and his sisters' erratic, narcissistic, and clearly mentally ill mother, for his youngest sister. It follows he and the elder sister's struggle to survive in a toxic environment and to protect the youngest sister from it. How they finally escape feels a little unrealistic to me, given their situation, but yes, a few children do get out of these situations alive. Many more just manage until adulthood. An informative read.

Susan Vaught's young adult/children's fantasy novel Stormwitch covers a fascinating time--the Mississippi coast in 1969 at the time of Hurricane Camille--and a fascinating culture--that brought by a young Haitian girl into that milieu. She has been raised and trained by her Haitian grandmother to be the next (last?) in a long line of magical warrior women, stretching back to the time of the Dahomey King Agaja. Her grandmother died fighting a minion of the great stormwitch Zashar. Now Ruba find her way in the racist culture that surrounds her and prepare to fight the stormwitch herself. A great concept, well-executed.

Judith Lindbergh's historical novel, The Thralls' Tale, takes place amongst the VIkings who went followed Erik the Red to settle in Greenland. It follows the story of Katla, a lovely slave who is the daughter of an enslaved Christian woman, the seer and healer Thorbjorg. When Katla is brutally attacked and raped, Thorbjorg takes her in, and then takes the despised daughter as her apprentice, teaching her the ways of her patron god, Odin, but Bibrau has her own ideas. The story is told through these three very different viewpoints, but always it paints a vivid picture of the society, its beliefs, and the way of life of these ancient settlers--the Vikings, their thralls, their gods, and the coming of Christianity, in a new land. A fascinating, well-written story.

last week's reading § next week's reading


Didn't get much done during abbreviated Thursday session; however, Saturday was our day-long retreat and I was much more focused and re-read, lightly editing, the end of the first section of the novel. Dramatized one big scene and a smaller one that had previously only been narrated. Decided to go directly to third section, since it moves forward from the first, while the second is all flashback.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

June 19, 1994
Orkney: Stromness

Jim's Journal

Used by permission; Neile skipped a day in her journal.

Walked outside of Stromness with John and Jens along path to beach/cemetary. Searched for rocks along slate [ed. note: sandstone, not slate] beach.

Went to Seamus Heaney reading at Stromness Academicy. First poetry reading for Jens. Heaney read one poem from previous time we saw him, from Station Island.

Had dinner in B&B with Shelagh. Neile, John, and Jens ate at Ferry Inn.

Low key day.

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