Les Semaines

January 23, 2011

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


A Childhood Razed and Bulldozed

Well, they might not have used a bulldozer. I mean, the land is pretty steep, so a bulldozer would likely have been dangerous. No, I think they did use a bulldozer: the land is pushed around enough in parts.

My sister is visiting my parents, and they went to see (what was left of) the place I grew up, the house that my parents spent most of their married life in. A house they designed themselves and put a huge amount of sweat equity into. We moved in there when I was ten, and my parents moved out after I was married and settled in Seattle.

I dream of that house often.

She posted pictures on facebook. The house is still there. Damaged and neglected, but there.

But it was on the edge of an acre and a half of second-growth forest. Forest I spent much of my childhood playing in. Reading in. Making forts. Writing my first decent poems in. It was suburban, not pristine. And not first growth. There were old car seats in one place and I once found a truly explicit porn magazine in another and there were a lot of bottles from when kids had parties in the woods (one fort was named Fort Whiskey after the bottles there). But there were gorgeous dogwoods that bloomed outside our windows. A view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which probably is "better" now that all the trees have been razed.

The land is being subdivided. Or it would be, if anyone wanted to build on sand at the edge of a ravine in this housing market.

Fort Whiskey is gone. The alder that had a perfect branch to sit on right in front of its trunk so you could lean back on it. All the fallen cedars I used as trails. The moss. Those dogwoods. The zone of ferns. The nearly vertical trail at the edge of the property line. The cemetery area where a couple of my cats were buried. The currant bush that bloomed outside my bedroom window.

My cats' playground. My dream-ground. It's ugly now. And unused. Unnecessary. What a waste. A wasteland.

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


I've been listening to Tunng while creating a EctoGuide page for them. Damn, they're good. I spent a lot of time this week working on the Guide which meant listening to a bunch of stuff.

At the same time Jim is also going through some CDs to see if he's ready to de-accession them. Some yes, some no.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Jo Walton, Among Others (fantasy): is a brilliant novel about a young girl who has to figure out how to live after she and her twin sister (who died in the attempt) have saved the world from her evil and crazy mother. It's a mostly real-world story about belonging nowhere, having to live with family you don't know, attending boarding school when you're the weird one, and growing up when escaping into reading and thinking about what you've read is the best thing in your life. When reading keeps you from drowning in your life. There are fairies in a post-industrial landscape. Magic that can do big and small and unpredictable things. There's young love. Friendship and bullying. But best of all, books. A magical novel.

Catherine Fisher, Sapphique (young adult fantasy, sequel to Incarceron): Not much you can say about this without spoilers for Incarceron, but things are very complex and dangerous. I understand why these have so many fans but I would have liked the characters and world to have a life outside of 100% horror.

J.L. Carr, A month in the Country (mainstream literary): a slim, quirky, lovely account of a summer when a young veteran of the trenches and a broken marriage is hired to uncover a medieval wall painting in a church in a Yorkshire village. A quiet and charged novel about time and art. We saw the movie years ago and recently saw it again--it captures the book very well.

Rose Lerner, In for a Penny (Regency romance): I'm not generally a big romance fan, but I inhaled this like candy. When his father dies leaving the family in crushing debt, a young rake is forced to take responsibility for fixing things--to do this he talks a young heiress he had been attracted to into marrying him. The situation is dire for them both, and the estate is threatened not only by the debt but by years of mishandling both the land and their tenants. The main characters felt remarkably real to me here; surprisingly, not just the female lead but the male, too.

last week's reading § next week's reading


New poem up at Goblin Fruit!

And not only that, the issue immediately garnered two review: one, two. Isn't that amazing? And both reviewers "got" my poem and each got something important I thought might slip past most readers: one the relationship between the poem I stole the glosa lines from and two the blurring at the end. So rewarding! This is what I write for! I am so grateful to the editors of Goblin Fruit for publishing this poem.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

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