Les Semaines

May 1, 2011

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

 §

Hooray, Hooray, The First of May

My mother taught me a rhyme about the first of May that I cannot repeat in polite company,1 but which I always think of all day on the first of May. Which might not be such a good idea when the day is accompanied by a board meeting, but so go the coincidences of timing. I think I managed not to embarrass myself. I waited until we were outside going to our cars to leave to quote the rhyme.

Meanwhile, it has been a week.

We have lost Joanna Russ. I only met her once, when we were helping a friend move into her house and I was tired and cranky and didn't want to explain who I was and I didn't have a clue who she was until well after I had been an idiot about who I was. However, I still wound up in an interesting conversation with her. I had read How To Suppress Women's Writing and A Female Man a few years before, and been bowled over and challenged and all. I wish I remembered more about that encounter, but it was in 1988 or so and I was lifting boxes at the time and I never did meet her again.

A sad loss. Losing her and Diana Wynne Jones so close together. Ouch.

On another topic, but still kind of book-related, when you look at my reading list you may wonder how I read so much. I *am* a fast reader and many of these books are on the shorter end of the book-length scale, but this is kind of crazy, is it not? How do I keep a busy life and still have time to read so much?

The answer is that I have traded sleep for reading. Yes, I have now reached an Advanced Age (52) and like so many other Elders I am plagued by insomnia. It has slowly become a bigger and bigger thing, and grown very bad in the last year, especially. I do occasionally take melatonin and 2 X 4s to the head (just joking on the latter), but mostly--after lying in bed and reading long enough to be absolutely certain I'm not going to nod off--I just go someplace a little more comfortable (I don't like lying down so very much unless I am sleeping) and read until I am so tired that I can confidently crawl back to bed and trust sleep to take me.

This means in my day-to-day life I frequently function on very little sleep. This is not doing my reputation for efficiency much good, but I think the honest truth is that I'd rather read than sleep.

There. I've said it.

Ever since I stopped remembering my dreams and started having to stick a machine on my face I have become less and less enamored of sleep--at least conventional, night-time and in-my-bed sleep. I still have a fondness for naps, but try not to allow them because they do interfere with proper sleep. Or so I'm told.

Yes, I know I should sleep more and better and that there are things I could and should be doing. Like not letting myself get up to read (though I suspect the alternative might be violence) and not letting myself sleep in on weekends, which all the experts say helps set me up for a round of jet lag and such.

But really, I love sitting up in the dark of night, cats asleep around me, Jim asleep downstairs, and reading a great book. Or even just a good one.

I know it is a self-indulgence and very Bad For Me in many ways, but damn I love it.

Now I'm going to be a good girl, take a melatonin because I not only slept late today but took a nap after the board meeting, and try to be good. Wish me luck.

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

Listening

The soundtrack to this week has mostly been the new powerful and magnificent tUnE-yArDs album W H O K I L L. Damn, it's good. Experimental in the good ways, meaning still highly melodic. Politically powerful in a personal way. Just great music.

They were playing here this weekend and I missed, them, though.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

Deb Caletti, Stay (young adult): Deb Caletti is a must-read young-adult author for me. Each of her novels (this is number eight) has unique and distinct personalities and the characters have distinctive--but somewhat universal--problems. She also has a good sense of place, though most of her novels are set in and around this area. Here Clara and her father have escaped to an island nearby their home to get away from Clara's obsessed ex-boyfriend. The portrayal of Clara's emotional arc was extremely well-handled, and the book had smart things to say about love and obsession.

Janni Lee Simner's Faerie Winter (young adult fantasy, sequel to Bones of Faerie): A post-apocalyptic faery tale. I loved Bones of Faerie and liked this as well, though its storyline was perhaps a little more conventional. Sort of. If a post-apocalyptic faery tale could ever be considered conventional. I enjoyed this, but am curious to see what happens next to see if I love it.

Maeve Binchy, Whithorn Woods (mainstream popular): A series of slices of people's lives, loosely connected by connections with a town where there may be a bypass road mapped out to go right through the woods and a shrine at St. Ann's well, which is locally famed for a place to go and successfully pray for help with life problems. Maeve Binchy has a wonderful hand with this sort of thing, and I enjoyed the book.

Kathryn L. Nelson, Pemberley Manor (historical romance): a version of what happens to Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy after their marriage. Interesting premise, but overall a little too full of 20th-century psychology. And really, I can't see Darcy as a frequent crier, though I really liked that he realized he had some emotional growing-up to do.

Sarah MacLean, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (historical romance): I had to read this when a friend recommended it. I mean, who could resist that title? I don't read much mainstream romance, which this very much was. It had its charms, was totally unbelievable and unrealistic, pushed all the emotional buttons, and was a quick read.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

My glosa on a poem by Robin Skelton just appeared in Prairie Fire. I got my copy the other day.

Writing this week is mostly scrambling to put together and send out a bunch of poetry submissions. I'm not caught up yet. The problem is that I can't send out a poetry submission without messing with at least one of the poems I'm sending out. I just can't. I hate this about myself.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

The missing travel journal still has not re-surfaced. I really should mount a thorough search for it, but I keep thinking it will pop up in the usual course of things. Of course, the usual course of things is the accretion of things & paper and not the organizing of things & paper, so my belief in popping up is quite thoroughly unsupported by both reality and past experience.

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

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