Les Semaines

May 10, 2009

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


Something Like A Journal Entry (Belated)

Happy Birthday, Mom! Happy Mother's Day! It's my mother's birthday. She's 81. This cannot be possible.

I still somewhat disbelieve that I'm 50. I know I am, but it's not quite in the realm of the possible. Except, apparently, I am so old that I need a machine to help me breathe when I sleep.

So I now have this machine. I hate it with a pure and passionate hatred. You see, it's supposed to make me feel better. The morning after I first used this machine I was supposed to wake up skipping and jumping, my life transformed by the first good sleep I'd had in years. Except that didn't happen. Instead I felt oppressed all night and woke up many times, battered by the machine. Thus my nights have continued.

Now I start the machine, read for a while, fall asleep, wake up, DO NOT ALLOW MYSELF TO TEAR OFF THE MASK, fall asleep, wake up, rinse repeat until I can't stand it anymore and tear off the mask so I can sleep.

Maybe, someday, I'll get used to it. (HA!) In the meantime, the machine and I have a running battle, and I'm having more broken nights than I ever did (apparently, before the machine, I used to wake up multiple times a night, but I never noticed and I wasn't tired in the morning and now I am).

Though I did get one piece of helpful advice from my sleep doctor--now I take melatonin two hours before I should do to bed and I actually do! I get sleepy at a reasonable hour. Like magic.

Now if only I could sleep through a night.

Breeeeaaaaaaathing...breathing the fallout in out in out in out in...

Up with melatonin! Down with the sleep machine!

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


St. Vincent has a new album, Actor. I'm not sure yet how much I like it, but it has some wonderful moments, and is quickly growing on me.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Geraldine Brooks's novel, People of the Book begins when a book conservator is called into Sarajevo in 1996, just as the fighting there is finally beginning to end. She's there to mend and evaluate a book that was taken from the National Museum there to protect it. It's extremely rare, an illuminated Hebrew manuscript, and its creation and provenance is a mystery. While working on the book she finds some clues about its history and begins to find out things about herself that will change her life. As well, the story moves in time to follow the clues she has found. A fascinating, rewarding read.

Benjamin Parzybok's fantasy novel, Couch, follows the adventures of three roommates, who when forced out of their apartment try to get rid of the huge orange couch there. It has other ideas, and they find themselves first carrying it through the streets, then westward to the Pacific, then sail it out to sea. Their adventures are improbable and kind of charming as they begin to discover what is going on with them, what the couch wants and evade the others who want the couch. Readable and entertaining.

Jeanne DuPrau's children's novel, The Diamond of Darkhold is the fourth novel in her Book of Ember series. Here we return to the two main characters from the first two novels as they try to sort out another fragmentary mystery left to their people from the past, similar to how they figured out how to escape the confines of their city. A fun read.

Robin Hobb's fantasy novel Rengade's Magic is the final volume of the Soldier Son Trilogy. Spoilers, blah blah. Somewhat flawed, but a pretty good conclusion to the trilogy. It gave good read.

Joan Aiken's retelling of Jane Austen's Emma, focuses instead on Jane Fairfax, and tells the tale from her point of view. This is rather charming, and while Joan Aiken isn't Jane Austen, she does a creditable job of making the story feel right.

Carolyn Turgeon's contemporary fairytale Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story is a variation on the old tale in which we meet the fairy godmother when she's elderly andworking in a used bookshop in New York City, struggling to make ends meet, and hoping event are shaping up into a second chance to get things right this time. She had fallen in love with the prince and messed up her assignment to get the prince and Cinderella together, and hence was ejected from fairyland into the real world. The characterization and the depiction of the city are particularly lovely here.

Allyson Noël's young adult fantasy Evermore is quite popular judging by the library holds on it. It's the story of teenaged Ever (yes, that's her name, no reason given except the aptness of it for the novel's theme) who is in a horrible car accident. Her parents and sister die, but she eventually recovers to live with her incredibly wealthy career-focused aunt who gives her all kinds of freedom. However, Ever not only sees her dead sister all the time (and she still an annoying little sister but much beloved) but can't bear to touch anyone because when she does she immediately knows all about them. And their future. She falls for an exceptionally gorgeous and mysterious guy, whom strangely she can't read. He runs hot and cold (so far so Twilight, eh?) But at least he's not a vampire. I would have liked this more if I hadn't read too many books in my life.

Same with Laurie Faria Stolarz's young adult fantasy, Deadly Little Secret, which while I was reading I kept mistaking for Evermore. This time it is the gorgeous guy who can't bear to touch anyone, but her touches Camelia, who is being stalked by someone. Is it the gorgeous touch-not Ben? After all, everyone thinks he killed his previous girlfriend. Then why is she so attracted to him? Sigh. Would that I were 13 again. Oh, and Camelia's parents are also totally distracted and not paying attention to what she's up to.

last week's reading § next week's reading


Yesterday was our monthly writing retreat. I'm still not in the swing of things but did get some work done.

I spent today fussing with my poetry CD. Back in November I tried to order a bunch of the official version from The Alsop Review Press online because they never responded to my email messages asking them if they offered an author's discount. The PayPal payment bounced. Then I discovered their site was slowly disappearing. Now when you go to their main page it's an announcement of an upcoming new project and the review and press site is entirely gone. My CD is orphaned!

So I'm putting out my own version of it. It has taken me most of the day to design the CD label, the insert, and the tray card, which is crazy since there aren't many elements to them. But so it goes. And I can change them if I decide I don't like them.

And as of Monday, a new poem "Snap of the Sightseeing Self" is up at Blue Skies poetry.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

Out of time once again. Especially as we're in Scotland, so it's time to scan some pictures!

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

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people have wandered through this week with me