Les Semaines

December 28, 2008

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

 §

The Post-Snowpocalyptic World

So weird to have spent eight days indoors, hardly even sticking my nose out the door. Jim was out shoveling, feeding cats and sugar gliders, walking up the hill to the hardware store, while I kept my ice-nervous feet inside and warm.

Friend kept saying how much cabin fever they were feeling, but I never got to that point. I wonder how long it would take? Mostly, I loved it. Not being indoors so much, as not running errands, not going to work, not having any particular responsibilities, being utterly on my own schedule. This never happens in real life and it truly felt like a vacation from real life.

Maybe I'm weird in that I like that. I knew it was going to end, so I never freaked out. I didn't have to go anywhere and we had plenty of food, and I'd finished what shopping I was planning to do, so I didn't worry.

It was wonderful. The world was white and beautiful outside, and inside I was warm and full of good books and music and chocolate and blackberry-apple pie.

But now the snow has receded, and there are only a few bits of it left where it was piled up and where not quite enough sun has reached, and somehow I really expected some kind of transformation. The world to be different somehow instead of just muddier and dirtier. It's anti-climactic. Was I tricked? Robbed? Something should be different--I just wish I knew what that something is.

In the meantime, Christmas just slipped on by. My parents canceled their trip down as soon as they knew the forecast was bad, so it was just Jim and I, and we had already decided that this was a good year to pare back, as we'd recently given each other big presents, spent quite a bit on things necessary for the house, etc., and we need a new mattress and boxspring very, very soon. And besides, there really wasn't anything either or us wanted or needed. We were going to buy ourselves a breadmaker, but Devin gave us one on long-term loan.

Our towels were starting to fray, so Mom bought us new ones, which we've already been using (so she's been telling all her friends that she gave us used towels for Christmas--I have to say, they're really lovely--we chose sage green--and very soft, so they're very nice used towels).

So that is the state of our world.

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

Listening

I'm trying to put together a list of music that mattered to me this year, and it's amazing how many discs we have that I don't have any record of, like they arrived in our collection by magic. Except I do remember getting them. I just never got them into the database. Oops.

It's hard to say what I've been listening to, as I've mostly been in my study with iTunes on random. Lovely.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

Coe Booth's young adult novel, Kendra tells of a 14-year-old living with her grandmother. She has been waiting for her mother--who had her when she was 14--to reclaim her as her mother finishes her Ph.D. Her aunt is her best friend and lives in another apartment in the projects building, and she sees her father daily as he struggles to make a better life with a canteen truck. Her grandmother has always been strict with her and as Kendra approaches the age her mother was when she had her gets more so, and Kendra starts to rebel. A lovely, real novel.

Kate Story's Blasted is the story of ex-patriot Newfoundlander and current Toronto resident and orphaned alcoholic, Ruby, whose family has tangled, dangerously, with the Folk on the Hill. It's a mix of the contemporary, mundane, difficult urban world with traditional folklore and makes for a fascinating read. Ruby is damaged by her past and has trouble coping with relationships of any kind, including friends, bosses, work, family, but she's also drawn to them. Add a new for escape in alcohol and there's a dangerous mix. This feels very real, as do the wonderful characters here. Different. Powerful. Recommended.

Kenneth Oppel's children's fantasy Starclimber is the third in his steampunk series that began with Airborn and Skybreaker. In this, Matt becomes an astralnaut and finds himself en route to outer space. While this didn't quite have the verve of the previous two, I enjoyed reading this. A fun series.

Jessica Day George's young adult fantasy retelling of the fairy tale East of the Sun and West of the Moon, Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow has a lot to recommend it. The youngest daughter of the family isn't given a name--her mother can't be bothered--until she rescues a white reindeer that the entire village is pursuing. when a white bear comes to take her off to a castle to live for a year and day, she finds herself in need of all her resources, including her new name. Enjoyable.

Pat Barker's historical novel, Life Class follows the fortunes and the synamics of the interrelationships of a group of artists from their pe-war art-school days through the first few years of the World War I. I found this realistic and engaging., and of course the question of how art can matter when there is such great human suffering is an important and unanswerable question well worth exploring in fiction. A fine novel.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

I just got my contributor's copy of the B.C. and the Green Imagination issue of The Malahat Review, in which my poem "Thunderbird Comes From the Sunset" was just published.

Novel tinkering. One mental breakthrough--or at least a different angle to think about a character from which gives me a way into making his journey more real.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

June 25, 1995

We don't know what to give or what to sacrifice.
The childless among us give all away.

June 29, 1995

An idea for another story tonight--couple going into--what--a mine? a Neolithic tomb? Maes Howe? Come out to fine themselves transformed and the world changed for them.

July 14, 1995

How can it be time to move on
when I have planted my child
here beneath the chokecherry
above the bank to the streamcut?

Re-read what I did 2 years ago with Davey [1] and am happy with it, but I have to figure out where to go with it.

Finally over 2+ weeks w/ a horrible virus, but still don't know how to catch up and make up for the work I didn't do.

July 16, 1995

I just finished rereading Tehanu and have begun reading Eavan Boland's Object Lessons. Both are talking baout the same things--about how a woman is different. Can't have a man's power. Is outside the tradition. How our stories aren't told. And yet we tell them and we have our power.

Biology--but how different does that make our minds. Experience so different, how can we ened up equal? Some of us would want the male power and use it as they do--but what good does that doe? And if we use if differently, what good is that and how would change anything?

Quote heard on my trip to Montana:

"What I cherish I've come to slowly, usually blindly, not seeing it for some time" (WIlliam Least-Heat Moon, from PrairieErth).
Note:
1. There! I have outed myself. I wrote the first two-thirds of the first draft of Gypsy Davey in summer 1993. It has taken me this long to finish it and revise it a zillion times (and of course do several other projects in the meantime). Now you may understand why I am so unwilling to let it go and call it just my learning novel. It was, but I hope it is now more than that.

last week's old journal § next week's old journal

Last Week § Les Semaines index § Next Week

Email comments, questions, and complaints to neile@sff.net § Neile's main page

1040 people have wandered through this week with me