Les Semaines

January 11, 2009

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


Begin Again

A hectic work week, with the beginning of the new academic quarter and the feeling that the holidays were months ago and January has been going on a long time. The snow disappeared quickly, though, and the week was full of wind and rain. And flooding all around the Pacific Northwest, but not here, for which I am grateful.

I love my short walk from my neighbourhood parking spot to work (and back) along the Burke Gilman Trail in this kind of weather. It rained, but never enough that I had to use my umbrella (though I did carry it with me one day). It was warmish, for January, and the wind felt glorious. I felt awake and alive. I love walking in wind.

Work was busy in the way I mostly like. I enjoy it when students need my time and help. I much prefer that to email and paperwork.

Speaking of paperwork, it's application season both at work and for Clarion West, and I've already handled way too much paper and the deluge hasn't even begun. It's wonderful, though, to handle material that is about people attempting to realize their dreams. Of course, some of them aren't ready, and for some of them a PhD or an intense writing workshop may not be the right dream for them, but it's cool nonetheless. It sounds over-dramatic to say I feel privileged, but I do.

And fascinated.

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


One of the editors sent me an update for The Ectophiles' Guide that somehow flew under my radar for a long time--Inga Liljestrom had a new release and a DVD! Well, I finally started paying attention and went looking. I discovered that her label not only has these available (via PayPal), but also has her first album that Australian friends have been search for on my behalf with no luck.

They also have Elk available, but you all already have that, right? If you don't, what are you waiting for? It's a stunner.

So a package arrived full of riches:

  • Urchin, the debut album, isn't as good as Elk, but what is? Maybe Portishead's new album, but not much else. Anyway, it's still quite good and well worth ordering and listening to.
  • The new limited edition CD, Sprawling Fawns, is really lovely. It's a collection of remixes, collaborations, and new tracks. The remixes are quite different from the original to the point where they almost seem like entirely new songs.  With the exception of the two covers, which really don't work for me, I LOVED this almost as much as I love Elk.
  • I also love the Radjur DVD. You can see samples of the gorgeous videos on her MySpace page. The DVD is really nicely done, and both it and Sprawling Fawns have gorgeous packaging.
Great stuff. Bless the internet and all its links to obscure and wonderful music.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Helen Oyeyemi's novel The Icarus Girl is a literary novel that flirts with fantasy and horror. Jessamy is the precociously smart, high-strung, friendless eight-year-old daughter of a Nigerian mother and a British father. She lives in England and on her first visit to Nigeria she encounters another girl--a strange girl, who takes her on adventures and follows her back to England. Only gradually goes Jess realize that no one else can see her friend, and that her friend is more and more disturbing. An interesting tale. The author was 19 when she wrote this--I'm looking forward to finding out where she goes next. This is an impressive beginning.

Anne Ursu's children's fantasy, The Siren Song is the second in The Cronus Chronicles. Like the first, this is a fun fantasy romp, with a very realistic-feeling heroine, even if she does keep having to fight the gods.

Two good, readable YA books about the perils of sex, both well worth reading.

In Laura Ruby's Good Girls smart, academically gifted, good girl Audrey has to live through the conjunction of a not-quite relationship and a photograph being sent from phone to phone of her giving a blow job.

In C.K. Kelly Martin's I Know it's Over Nick's recently-ex-girlfriend tells him she's pregnant. Oddly enough, he moral of both of these stories is that despite everything we're told to the contrary about boys and sex, it's emotional for them, too, not just for girls. I would say "well, duh" but I know this is news to a lot of people.

last week's reading § next week's reading


I was delighted to receive a very complimentary and uplifting acceptance of four poems by Goblin Fruit. This means a lot to me, as it has been a dry season for acceptances, plus I discovered this week that the spoken word CD from The Alsop Review Press isn't purchasable anymore--it looks like the press part of The Alsop Review is no more. That really depressed me, since it's my first collection since Blood Memory in 2000.

In the fiction world, had to write another synopsis and revise, revise, revise.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

October 5, 1995


The girl is leaving her house, famished
for the sun and blue sky
for the cars red cars driven by boys
with their hair too long or too short
with their feverish hands against
her feverish mouth--it hungers me

that great and empty ache
of the woman alone in the park
watching the children as he learns
to feed duck, watching the girl / somersaulting
herself into down the rise, the child
ltaking some of his earliest steps
learning to trust the ground beneath his feet--it hungers me

the pang in her belly as his mouth
leaves her breasts and he stretches
above beside above her, this hands wet with her parting moves leaving as he
plants them besides her, putting his weight
there, the hollow moment before
he eases himself into her there--it hungers me


[Ouch! This is a really early and lousy draft of "Ravenous," which appears in Blood Memory, and you can see a final draft at The Alsop Review.]

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