Les Semaines

January 4, 2009

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

 §

Hello, January

It's SNOWING AGAIN. This time more like the snow we usually get: big fat wet flakes. We already have about three inches. Sigh. It's gorgeous, but it's supposed to turn to rain at some point. I hope it rains away before we have to go to work tomorrow morning. I hate snowy commutes, and neither of us can miss tomorrow. Me because it's the beginning of a new quarter of classes, and Jim because he's been off since December 16th.

Our taste of January snow.

 

Went to work Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. It wasn't as quiet as I might have thought. Got a lot done, but didn't feel very motivated. I hate how I look forward to a lull like this to catch up and then lose all energy for it. I never get done what I hope I will. But so it goes, right? There were so few people there, though, that it was kind of fun, and Jan and I dared to have coffee out at the Allegro one day. Though we spent the whole time talking about work, we felt wicked.

Had a very quiet New Year's Eve. On Friday we celebrated our family Christmas with Tamar and Devin. We had a lovely dinner, exchanged gifts. It was fun--I coerced them into playing Mah Jong with me. I love my old crazy bamboo and ivory set. I like how the tiles feel, their smoothness and weight, and how they sound, and I like the game, though I don't know how to score, and don't care much really, though I know other people do.

Ever since this incident nearly seven years ago (!!), Sophia has been terrified of the cat toy, da bird. I brought it out about a year ago to see if the kittens would like it, and Sophia took one look at it, and ran downstairs and hid under the bed.

Just on the off-chance, I brought it out again this afternoon, and Sophia jumped up. I thought to run away, but no, to *play with it*. This is the first time she has gotten enthusiastic about an interactive toy (she's played with furry mince and catnip toys on her own) since we got the kittens. I bounced it around and she would leap in front of them to grab it. It wasn't easy to keep it away from from Atia, who would carry it away if I let her. Titus even got into it for a while, but mostly I let Sophia play, because it has been so long for her.

I have photographic evidence, but the card reader on my printer has died and my Dad never gave me the USB cord for the camera so I have no way to get at the pictures. Damn. I see a trip to the camera shop in my future.

Edited to add: here's the evidence:

 
Sophia plays!Sophia plays! (Kittens lounge behind, waiting their turn.)

Not the kittensNot kittens anymore! Titus squashes Atia when he tries to fit in the catbed with her.

 

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Listening

Natural History Mussem has a new song, "The Match Girl" on their MySpace page. Damn, I can hardly wait for this album.

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Reading

I've never read anything quite like Molly Gloss's The Hearts of Horses. It's set in back country Oregon during the first World War and quietly follows a young girl working to establish herself in ranch country as someone capable of readying horses to be useful partners and workers (rather than "breaking" them). It's about how she does that, and becomes a part of the society around her, and the perils and heartbreaks of life in that time and place. Just lovely. Subtle and beautiful.

Jenny Davidson's The Explosionist is set in a world where Napoleon won the battle of Waterloo and England lost World War I and is now part of Europe under a fascist with a toothbrush moustache. Sophie, orphaned very young when her scientist parents were killed in an explosion, is being brought up in Scotland, part of the Hanseatic league with other Northern countries allied against Europe, by her politica and spiritualist great aunt. When a medium who does a séance at their house involving Sophie is murdered, Sophie and her best friend Mikael have to find out what happened. Great fun, an interesting world, and Sophie is a realistic heroine.

Veronica Bennett's Cassandra's Sister: Growing Up Jane Austen is a fictionalized protrayal of Austen's late teens and early twenties, during her and her sister Cassandra's romances and the writing of Austen's first novels. Sadly somehow doesn't get enough drive for the story to take off.

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Writing

Wrote on New Year's Day--figured that was a good way to start the year, though I didn't get a lot done. Tinkering mostly, and trying to avoid writing avoidance. Didn't get much done in my other sessions.

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Retrospective: old journal

August 29, 1995

Another summer when I should have written--instead I've been locked up with anothr editing/desktop publishing project. The reason is always money. This year I'm going to try very hard to get some money for travel or a residency somewhere or simply to work. Because I desperately need time.

It's been wonderful, though, to work at home and sleep until I need to get up. I seem to need a lot of sleep.

Last night I had another post-apocalyptic dream. Groups of people lived in villages with distrust but commerce between them. I had just become the darling of the rich man in charge of our village though I was far more daring than the rest of his group of darlings, and acted as a scout and a worker. There was an open market and a huge building like a university building. Anyway, the man I wanted to notice me was a young medical worker. Foolish and dangerous.

-----

Down here even sunlight    scuttles into the corner
with the tangles of dirt        and shreds of paper
a torn shoe, useless           even to the drifters
who pile rag after rag     on their shrinking bones
Clouds of waster pile           over use, shaped by
weather and sheets of             rain. On one side
the walls missing bricks         and garnished with
scraps of signs and             paint, no the other
rows of doors, handle-less,  splinters spiking from
around the locks                         Exit only.
And otherwise the street  and strangers with houses
lit by                    bulbs and glass, and jobs
with hours and bosses     and deadlines. While here
the only deadline              is food and the need
of it and anesthesia           and where to find it
how to pay                     with flesh or spirit
and then sometimes        the dream of the headless
the usually kindly rats        and the sun, the sun
no longer filtered       through the dirt and waste
but shards of glass              passing through me
sharp as the world of                my fever dream
like knives, like cigarette        ends against me.

This, fairly lightly revised, became "The Basement Exit" in Blood Memory.

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