Les Semaines

August 9, 2009

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

 §

My Time Is My Own

The workshop is over. It takes me a while to stop remembering to phone Kinko's before I go to bed and stop getting up in time to get to class. Then, suddenly, I sleep. I feel like I sleep for days, but maybe only sleepwalk through them. I start doing long put-off errands, like venturing all the long miles to Ikea with Devin to buy a shelving unit for our kitchen, which turns out to be quite an improvement, but it took me *months* to get there. I book a ticket to visit my parents (leaving Tuesday, leaving Jim behind to take care of the cats).

All these things that have been pressing to do.

And un-pressing things: I bake a peach pie. I pick up thread and buttons for a dress I want to mend. I buy bits and pieces, make CDs to mail to write-a-thon sponsors, mail an encouragingly large stack of them.

I go to lovely brunch with a small group of poets where we ate waffles and fruit and read poems on a balcony overlooking the Sound.

Jim and I walk down to the new neighbourhood deli and pick up dinner.

Then come home and collapse.

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Listening

In 1994 I ran across a video on Much Music of a wonderful song, "Imagination" by an obscure Canadian artist, Anhai. I found a cassette by her, then she seemed to disappear. Well, she has re-surfaced, and has a self-burned ep of three new songs and a live ep from a performance in Bremen. Terrific stuff, powerful and odd. It reminds me a little of Mari Boine, the Sami artist from northern Norway. Also a little of Diamanda Galas and Kathleen Yearwood.

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Reading

Helen Oyeyemi's novel The Opposite House begins with an intermediary house of gods who somehow seem themselves dislocated--one door in the house opens into London, where a young woman, a black Cuban of dissident intellectual parents, who is a student, a singer, and now pregnant, drifts through her life. She wants to visit "her Cuba", she resists telling her live-in boyfriend and her parents about the child, and she tries to deal with "her hysteric". This is a complex novel, full of echoes and suggestions--which tend to make it feel a vague at time, but at others quite pointed. I would say overall I enjoyed it, but at time I felt like I didn't want to continue with it. Then I would and would get caught up in it again.

Gillian Cross's young adult novel, Wolf tells of a young girl living with her grandmother, who suddenly packs her off to track down her mother, who lives in squats and has currently hooked up with a man and his son and they do children's shows together. When the girl finds something strange in the bag of food her grandmother sent her with, she suspects it's something to do with her father, and suddenly someone is hanging around the squat. Who is her father, what is he up to, and what has happened to her grandmother? A taut, well-told and very real-feeling tale.

Lisa Mantchev's young adult fantasy, Eyes Like Stars takes place in the Théâtre Illuminata, where the characters of every play ever written live. Bertie has been raised there, but she's not a character and so when she can't stop causing trouble, theatre management threatens to banish her unless she makes herself indispensable--so she decides to become a director--all while the wicked Ariel tries to manipulate her and her friends, including four mischievous fairies from Midsummer Night's Dream and an attractive and charming young pirate, do what they can to help her realize her dreams. Fun, entertaining, and full of deep love and knowledge about theatre.

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Writing

In which, despite the end of the write-a-thon, I continue to cut the book. I have one section down now to the high end of what I was hoping for, meaning I've cut more like a quarter of it than a third, but still. We had a retreat day, which took me to that end. Two more sections to deplete of any and all excess.

Also have been revising poems.

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Retrospective: old journal

Tuesday, June 17, 1997
Glenluce

[I ran out of time so snapshots will be added in the future.] Went to Whithorn first to see first a very Xtian video about St. Ninian who was the first in Scotland, 1500 years ago. Built a church called "Candida Casa." Succeeded by a Northumbrian Monastery. In the museum we saw the oldest Xtian stone in Scotland, as well as several other early ones, 8th and 10th C. The 5th C one: "Te Dominu(m)..." = "we praise thee Lord Latinus, aged 35 & his daughter, aged 4. The grandson Barroroadus set up the monument here." Took a picture of a 9th C. cross shaft section, stone with 2 figures, thought to represent saints. Then shopping for provisions.

Went to Rispain Camp and had a picnic. A big ditch surrounds it, an Iron Age farming enclosure from 100 BCE – CE 200. Local Celtic farmers. The entrance on the down-slope (very gentle) side. Had a timber gateway, larger timber roundhouses inside an enclosure (4 houses). Kept cattle, sheep, and pigs, an hunted in surround woodland (all farms now) for venison. Grew barley and wheat for food and barely for alcoholic drink Something lovely about the place.

Went looking for standing stones, but couldn't locate any of them. Drove past Borsalloch, an Iron Age fort. Found, by accident, Drumtroddan cup and ring marked stones in a field of cows and steers (nursing!). Interrupted the farmer moving his cattle. The ring marks lovely, though/

Drove on past things to Glenluce where we found a lovely B&B "Belgranl" (most 18th C added to in 1910 by an Argentinian woman--lovely marble floors downstairs and huge room to share).

Then onto Glenluce Abbey. Hardly took any shots--one of flowers growing in an niche, though. Then looked around for Castle of Park (saw it on the hill but couldn't get to it--later found out it's on private land and you can only see the outside, so didn't go closer).

Then drove up to New Luce, tiny town, when I phoned Jim and Mom phoned her sister. Then drove on to look for Glentirron Stone Circle, an 8' c 9' four poster. We think we found them--up by a fence on a bit of a terrance. Drove back, the fish & chips for dinner. Back to B&B.

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