Les Semaines

December 21, 2008

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

 §

Snow and Rumours of Snow

Thundersnow? The hell? Snow hurricane? Where am I living? I mean, there are reasons I live in the Pacific Northwest. I like rain.

Snow is fun, in small doses. A day or two, here and there. Enough to play in and then watch go away. Not more each day. That's just not right.

And what of this thundersnow? Can that be a real word? I heard it on the news and read it in the online paper. Well, and I saw the flash and heard the rumbling. Luckily the snow hurricane didn't quite hit as badly as they predicted and certainly not around here.

This whole thing started with the schools here were closed a whole day (Wednesday) just on the rumour of snow that never came. I raced through a bunch of errands hoping to beat it (boy I'm glad I did as said errands included collecting both cat and human food) and no snow came that day at all.

It did come the next two days, slick stuff, enough to keep me home two days from work. Last night we got about four inches, and it's snowing as I type this. It's beyond beautiful, of course. And I'm not a person who minds--no, actually I really enjoy--being housebound. The only time I've left the house in the last four days was when our neighbours took us out grocery shopping in their four-wheel drive. Jim has been out shoveling and dusting off the cars (why? it's not like we're going to be taking them out anywhere), while I've been baking, doing holiday cards, cleaning the house...

Our snowy houseThe house I am bound in. Don't you love the haws so red on our hawthorn tree? This photo is from the first day of the snow--we have about three times that amount right now, and it's still snowing. This can't be Seattle. We have somehow slipped back to Montana. (Photo courtesy of our across-the-street neighbours.)

 

Though I'm cleaning the house just for us. Our writing retreat yesterday was cancelled due to the slick streets and my parents cancelled their trip down here for Christmas. They were going to come in tomorrow, but no. It's stressful enough Dad to drive here (he hates the freeways here, with good reason) but the snow definitely put the kibosh on their trip. Maybe they'll come down in January. We'll see.

In the meantime, this will be Jim's and my second Christmas ever alone. We've always had my parents or friends and both.

The only good thing is that the snow makes it awfully bright for the dark of the year. Light and bright even at night.

Happy solstice, all.

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

Listening

An ectophile mentioned Emily Jane White's dark Cat Power-like folk. I'm really enjoying it, though there are moments when it's almost too Cat Power-like. THe more I listen to it, though, the more I appreciate it for itself.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

D.M. Cornish's young adult fantasy Lamplighter, second on the Monster Blood Tattoo series, follows the further adventures of the orphan Rossam¨nd as he becomes a lightlighter, whose job it is to light and extinguish the lamps that line the dangerous highways of his world. New friends are met, old friends return, and this fascinating world is a great place to explore. I also like the author's illustrations.

Georgette Heyer's historic romance The Black Moth is a fine and heartbreaking romance.

I liked Ekaterina Sedia's brittle fantasy The Alchemy of Stone quite a lot, better than I enjoyed her Secret History of Moscow, which ended up feeling a little thin to me, especially in characterization. This time she gets me to believe in a mechanical girl who lives in a world of gargoyles, mechanics and alchemists, mines, subjugation, and insurrection, emcompassing issues of all kinds of personal freedoms. Really, a remarkable book.

Maggie Stiefvater's young adult fantasy, Lament is a new take on the old story of a regular young woman getting involved with the fey--falling for a young man bound by dark, amoral fairies. It was quite enjoyable.

But then I read Juliet Marillier's fantasy, Heir to Sevenwaters, which does similar things (a young girl must go and rescue her infant brother from the fey), but so richly. There's no reason this book couldn't have been published as a YA except it's longer than the general run of YA, though around the same length as longer ones. It started a little slowly but for good reason and it became quite enchanting. I've liked most of Marillier's book but a couple have disappointed me--this one did not at all.

Susan Palwick's collection of short stories, The Fate of Mice is powerful and emotional. She's one of my absolutely favourite novelists and I was hesitant to buy this collection as I'm really a novel reader, but these stories felt true and wonderful.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

Tinkering away with story bits in the second novel, the demon lover story, including a day-long writing retreat (done by phone rather than in person because of the weather). I really do need to find a title for it.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

May 16, 1995

Back from Missoula, and grateful. [This was a trip back where I had gotten all nostalgic about Missoula and everything there except my dear friend and hostess there reminded why Missoula was a place to be escaped.]

  • Margaret Wood, and the escaped slave with her back open & bleeding
  • Margaret Wood to inform Marion
  • smallpox and the downfall of a people
[These were clearly notes for something.]

Story 5

All my life I have
fought for breath in the choked on
midst of my father's
disdain / my brothers'

growing / power. I
married / to slip out from my
mother's binding arms
And found myself her
gasping in a house

Too closed for air. I
couldn't speak but now
I watch my husband
die, his chest still fighting
to / pull the in some air in still

[Revised, this appeared in Blood Memory/]

May 22, 1995

At Discovery Park in the sun. Books & working on my paper for the League. [This would be for The League of Canadian Poets' Annual General Meeting, which I used to attend every year. The paper would be my "Urban Designs" piece.]

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