Les Semaines

November 23, 2008

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

 §

About A Week

I don't know what to say about this week. It was a week.

I went to work. It's calmed down now that the site visit is over. My boss and I did good work on a funding request (one page is *so* much harder to write than several).

Devin came over yesterday and we took photographs of things I want her to ebay (anyone want my great-grandmother's evening coat? My grandmother's 1930s pearl evening purse? How about her enameled silver compact? My mother's 1950s silver-beaded evening purse? A big Turkish silk bedcover made of embroidery squares surrounded by more silk? Stuff! I live with too much stuff. It's good stuff, so I don't want to just give it away, but it's crazy for it not to live in more appreciative homes. So, ebay. Devin gets a cut for doing so much of the work, I get closet space.

Otherwise the week was pretty usual. We are ourselves, the cats are themselves, though they must have overheard me boasting to friends with picky-eater cats that they weren't picky eaters and suddenly they are turning up their little noses at their tinned food. This is annoying as it took a while to find one they liked that didn't make them stinky, gassy little creatures. I suppose the search will have to continue. Even Sophia, who under the pressure of kittens who would be oh-so-delighted to eat her Friskies (they don't get it because of said gas issues, Sophie gets it because it's all she will reliably eat) started turning up *her* nose. Cats!

Jim took a really cute picture of Sophia basking in the sun today and when I took the card from the camera to upload it, instead of slipping it into the card reader in my printer, it fell beside it deep into the innards of the printer from whence it shall only be retrieved sometime in the future by an archeologist or someone taking the thing apart to recycle it.

Next week is going to be a more interesting week. For me at least. Days off, plus holidays. Lots of writing planned. Yay.

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

Listening

I didn't listen to anything specifically this week.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

Sherryl Jordan's young adult fantasy The Juniper Game is a fascinating tale of two teenagers working with forces they don't understanding, involving both ESP and time. While it was a little thin, I found the details fascinating and liked the characters. I think maybe I just wanted more.

R.A. Dick's The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is the novel that inspired the movie and TV series. As charming as they were.

Murphy's Law and Death of Riley are the first two Molly Murphy mysteries, about a young Irish immigrant to New York City at the turn of the 20th century.

Jennifer Crusie's romance novel, Anyone But You is a quick, fun read. While not as memorable as her later work, I still enjoyed this one.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

Annoyingly enough I am yet again revising Gypsy Davey. Will I never leave this novel alone? I swear, this is the last time unless by an agent's or editor's suggestions. I swear.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

November 26, 1994

From Karen Connelly's Touch The Dragon: "This is how I know I'm alone. My own skin surprises me" (p. 25).

November 27, 1994

Skye in August

Hard to know the right madness here
--this place has the feel of foothills
and the plains and open skies--
I remember from Montana
old moutains and cloud above them--
but here another twist of the road forks
will take you to at the faery bridge
where Macleod lost his faery wife one path
or leads to Trumpan Church where the Clan Macdonalds
were was burned by Clan Macleod.
A grassy glen leads to St. Columbia's
But like the Rockies the prairies we found
crofts crumbling like abadoned ranches,
though here the hard weather didn't do you in empty the fields
but landlords and sheep,
the Clearances. Stacks and hills
and emptiness, crumbling churches
and brochs falling bending stone by stone
into nearer the grasses, castles kneeling to the sea. Hidden treasures here--a sudden
waterfall and running pools
hidden behind the turn of trees,
St. Columba's island,castles full
at nettles and hseep, grass growing down
to the sea, and everywhere, on the church
walls, sea rocks, the corners of the castle
windows, a strange light green fern, bright
with brownish stems, everywhere
growing from the cracks in stone.
I dreamt a dog whose hair was these
springing ferns, thick, rich, alive.
Her eyes were warm and wise, she
told me things in a glance, how the stone
love this land, how the rain and wind
and tides love stone, how the grass does,
how the woman who once lived
in the fallen croft shapres scones
from flour and sang while her children
woke, how the piper's grave still
played a reeling tune in the rightwous wind
of teh graveyard. All this, looking at her,
I knew. she taught me. She turned to leave. I put my hand
to her bank to know learn more, and felt
the cool green fronds of the ferns and
beneath them the warmth of flesh
warm as my own skin. [1]

November 28, 1994

Home in our house full of dusty soot [2], back at work and the project [3], my tour [4] seems long ago. Two weeks till we read at Elliott Bay [5].

November 29, 2994

Email from John today about another Ottawa poet who was at the National Library reading and was "blown away" and bought the book. An ego boost. And welcome. I think that was one of the best readings I gave on the tour--that and Winnipeg, and my "ballsy" [6] Idler reading.

Notes:

1. This is the first draft of the poem that became "On Skye". Pretty dramatic changes, but the poem was published in 2005, so I must have done them quickly. This was the first poem for the manuscript that I just completed. Damn, I'm slow.
2. We'd had the furnace replaced and the vents cleaned and turning on the new gas furnace for the first time pushed a lot of the old oil furnace's soot out the vents. *Cough*.
3. The big editing and desktop publishing project that took me much of 2004-2005.
4. The reading tour mentioned last week.
5. That was one of the best readings ever. It was the Seattle launch for Spells for Clear Vision, and Jim shared the reading with me. All our friends showed up, and it felt like a total celebration.
6. I'm not the one that called it ballsy--one of the audience members did. It was one of my first times reading at a pub, and I chose to be somewhat dramatic to get the drinker's attention. It seemed to work.

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