Les Semaines


what I'm thinking and doing § what I'm listening to § what I'm reading
what I'm writing § retrospective: The Phonosnout


Quiet Dreams

I haven't been feeling all that well, particularly toward the end of the week. Not really sick, but enough to appreciate again the joys of not doing much, and allowing myself time to not do much.

At first I was really annoyed, but then I was happy to sit and read and stop and think. A little downtime is a good thing as long as it doesn't go on too long and happily I'm feeling better.

I have been reading a lot, sleeping a lot, and thinking a lot. Mostly about the novel, but also about organization that help me get work done. For all the organization I've been doing (or started to do) my study is still a mess, the house needs cleaning at least superficially, and most of the progress in my novel is in my head.

Which isn't so bad, actually, but there it is.

Winter is a time for quiet. I remember earlier this week waiting for the bus home and feeling just the edge of the chill and the slanty-thin winter sun and thinking how soon it would be spring, and I even began to feel it. Here in Seattle there often isn't much difference between winter and early spring and the crocuses sprout early. The snowdrops only rarely arrive in snow. It was supposed to be a hard winter, but it hasn't been, so far, for us. Elsewhere has been a different story.

Got a book recently about poetry and dreams. The book itself is of surprisingly little interest, but the idea of it is not. Many images in my work have come from dreams. In "On Skye" the image of the dog with the fern hair (and who she was) came from a dream in half-sleep. And much of "Midfire" came directly from a dream: the apocalypse with fire engines raising their ladders to the sky and the ladders immediately incinerating into showers of sparks. My first (incompletely revised) novel was sparked from a dream though it doesn't follow the dream's plot: I was a queen and had just been deposed by my citizenry. I was swimming in water where they had thrown me, rescuing my children, realizing how I had made my mistakes and feeling guilt and remorse. The final image was me with my children gathered around a campfire, vowing to earn back my people's trust.

I think I should go and dream some more.

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


More Kristeen Young, and better tastes of Mandalay and Smoke City and the Mari Boine band, all of which I like quite a lot. New in the house are Susan McKeown and Lindsey Horner's Mighty Rain and Ani Difranco's Up Up Up Up Up Up which thus far seem promising.

Kristeen is still deeply in my head.

Also spent much time yesterday listening to Amy Denio, while make a sample tape for a friend who had gotten interested in her after the recent NPR profile. She truly is extravagantly wonderful.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Finished a children's fantasy that was fun and almost magic but not quite. I'm not sure why. If I could pinpoint the quality that's missing I would do so and make sure that very quality was in all my books. And I'd never tell a soul what it is.

Contrast that with another book I read this week, Diana Wynne Jones' The Dark Lord of Derkholm which was delightful. I love her sense of fun and playfulness with magical concepts and her warmth for her characters. This novel is set in a magic world that is forced to put on epic fantasy experiences for tourists from a place one suspects is earth. She is always witty and has some startling magical moments. While most of her work is found in the children's section adults will enjoy them at least as much as children. There has been a lot of talk about the Harry Potter book(s) in the writing world recently, and while I enjoyed that it seemed so clear to me that Diana Wynne Jones does the same things, but far far better with more wit and creativity and somewhat more of an edge. Highly recommended. I did like the Harry Potter book, too, though.

Also finally read Snow Falling on Cedars. Living in the Pacific Northwest I had heard a lot about this book--almost enough to make me not want to read it but I jumped at a friend's offer to loan it to us. It is very deliberately written, and at first that quality seemed too apparent to me, but gradually the description of the setting, which is my own landscape--the place I grew up in even though Vancouver Island is a lot bigger than the island the book is set on and the place I live in now, though Seattle feels more like a city than a place on the coastal rainforest--hooked me. I had no idea the book was about a murder trial, so that came as a surprise. Overall I'd recommend it. It kept me up way past my bedtime on more than one night.

last week's reading § next week's reading


Monday was supposed to be a great day for creative projects for me according to my horrorscope--and I even had the day off from work--but it turned out to be a day full of irritations and frustrations. However, I did a paper edit of the first 25 pages of Gypsy Davey so it wasn't a dead loss. It's starting in that's hard. I've started in.

And I keep refining my thinking about the world and the plot. I'm getting excited about it.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

Winter 1995

33. Back in School

This comes from a variety of locations--room 164, 105A, 106, and whatever corner i curl up in at home. Well, how's your life? Mine's awful. Well, actually it's just the same, but that's bad enough. Homework tests just little old me agin the world. Whirlled? (ever seen Jogree of Canda1? Yuck!)

34. Snow!

In case you never noticed, it snowed yesterday (snow, beautiful snow!!) That funny fluffy white stuff crunching underfoot. My cat (kitten2) think it's too cold). I love snow except after a while it turns to slush and gets all brown and dirty from cars and kids.

35. (Circles)

Today my mind works in circles. I start out going just as fast as i can but i always end up where i began. It's boring. I keep on covering the same territory. The circle is getting deeper and deeper, and i'm getting lost in it. I try climbing the walls, but i can't get out. Guess what, i'm cracking up.

36. Steve say something3

Alright. the seagulls are flying today. At least they don't have to go to double-math like I do. Maybe I will skip out because I know I am flunking it. And I wonder when I will get my car back. And I said let there be light but some fool turned off the switch and spoiled the whole trick. Bye. Keep Your Sanity. --Walter Smitty

37. Steve said something

Steve said something, i mean that was Steve. Or was it Walter Smitty? It must have been Walter, he writes differently. They are alter egos. I have one somewhere, but where? Here! What? I mean me®, I'm here. I guess i just found him/her/it. The only problem is what do you do with one once you've found it. Learn, stupid. I guess i'll just have to learn.

38. Jerry say something4

I hope this isn't an analysis of peoples' reactions because you will find that I am extremely paranoid, and I don't like to be analysed because someone might find out that I am the reincarnation of William Rufus III, the king of England in 1390 AD, who was generally acknowledged to be a generally shady type lacking in moral fortitude. I am also a touch insane, maybe? I also think that anybody who asks me to say something deserve what they get. Yrs sincerely, Jerry.

39. Jerry said something

Jerry said something, the only problem is i'm not too sure what. However, it was interesting. Anything's interesting to someone who reads stupid books about phonosnouts.

40. Shaun say something.5

What, anything, Okay! Hello. Hi. Something else. aller, venir. Shaun's in my French class. Go on Shaun. Comment ça va. I think he has a one-track mind. And not the usual either.

41. Today

Today is double block of French day. Très boring. Je ne sais pas pourquoi. Je me flunk. Tu te flunks. Il se flunk, nous nous flunkons, vous vous flunkez, ils se flunkent (silent). Thank you, Shaun. I always forget when verbs are reflexive. It's funny things that do stick in your mind.

42. Things that stick in my mind

Poetic lines like "have you seen the sky as it sits in pain in the memory of a morning rain?" Beautiful. It should be, I wrote it.6 But a different me, a year-ago me. I was strange then. I don't understand me then now. What?

43. I don't know

I don't know what i'm talking about. Then again what else could i be talking? Nonsense. That's what i'm talking. As i said before, today i'm thinking in circles, but this is a different one. Come to think about it, i don't understand this now me after all. Do you? Who, me? I just don't know.


1. Jogfree of Canda was a book playing with phonetic spellings, supposedly catching the Canadian accent and supposedly funny. I don't remember it being so.

2. Achilles. So named because he was black with white chest and socks but had a black heel. He was a sweetie and loved to lie stretched out along your legs and drool. He lived mostly in the woods behind our house, and made it to age 13. I had to leave him behind at my parents' house when I went away to Montana to grad school.

3. Written by Steve, who I was fond of for years. When I was in university he kept me sane at my horrible job at Woolco in the hardware department (he ran the paint department). In high school he used to call himself the Brentwood Fairy because he lived right by the ferry dock. As far as I know he only dated girls, though. I remember once he got very drunk and dressed up as the Easter Bunny and hopped through a bunch of classes before getting caught.

4. Written by Jerry, who I last saw at UVic when we were in a Philosophy 100 class together. He was a year ahead of me, and I thought he was very cute, though I don't recall having a serious crush on him.

5. I did have a crush on Shaun. I think because he was so dorky he seemed within my reach. He wasn't.

6. Once again I beg your indulgence and remind you that I was 16.

last week's Phonosnout § next week's Phonosnout

Last Week § Les Semaines index § Next Week

Email comments, questions, and complaints to neile@sff.net § Neile's main page

3740 people have wandered through this week with me