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Les Semaines

99.04.04

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

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Time Ticking...

Omigod, April already, and so I am in high anxiety mode about finishing first a grant (due tomorrow), then the poetry manuscript (must be mailed in the next couple of weeks), and then our taxes (with the U.S. April 15th deadline). This means I can't think of much else.

The grant and the taxes are just a matter of getting them done. But the manuscript, well, whenever I look at the poems they roll over and declare themselves dead. And it's quite odd to be looking ahead at the next project (through the grant) while still trying to make sense of the old. The big mess that is my block toward doing my taxes is that I have a huge wad of writing receipts that never got onto my accounting spreadsheet last year. Luckily, so far this year I've been keeping up, but last year, well, yuck. And my taxes are a headache, since I have Canadian and American writing income and have to prepare returns for both countries. At least this year's is much easier than the one I had to do last year to account for two writing grants.

So anyway, I'm aware of each minute ticking by and what I have and have not yet done, even when the clock switched ahead from 2:00 am to 3:00 am last night and I managed to talk myself into printing out what I was working on and going to sleep. Maddy (cat) had been ricocheting off my leg for a while, trying to talk me into going to bed where I could cuddle her. When I finally got into bed she danced around my head for about 20 minutes before finally settling and letting me sleep. Jim and Zach (other cat) were already adrift beside me, though Jim woke enough to kiss me good night.

I don't like how tired I am afterwards, but I do find writing at night after Jim has gone to bed my favourite and most productive time. Something about the quiet and the way my mind opens up late at night when the only reason I'm still conscious is to write.

The pear tree blossoms haven't popped yet. The plum tree out front is threatening to beat it if it doesn't hurry up. The camelia bush/tree is at its height. Autumn used to be my favourite season, but now I think spring is--I love to watch how everything changes each day. Things grow so quickly here!

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

Listening

Thea Gilmore's Burning Dorothy really came into focus for me this week--I listened to it quite a bit.

Also had another intense but relatively brief (two-day) obsession/fling with David Usher's Little Songs again, I guess in celebration of its recent U.S. release.

In the process of finishing the entry for Steeleye Span in The Ectophiles' Guide to Good Music, I listened to the new album of theirs, Horkstow Grange and was amazed at how damn good it is. Sure there are a couple of songs I could live without, but much of it is wonderful. If you like rocked-out traditional ballads I highly recommend this. It's their first album without Maddy Prior and the new line up (with Gay Woods) seems to have really clicked.

Still loving Sleator-Kinney's The Hot Rocks a lot, but don't want to listen to it intensively.

Got a new electronic-fusion-sampling next-step-from-Cocteau-Twins album from an Atlanta group called Underwater. Like it quite a bit, including their use of a sample from Sixteen Horsepower.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

I spent most of this week slowly reading a medieval fantasy novel from 1929--yes, even previous to Tolkien people did write fantasy novels. Trilogies even. Leslie Barringer's Joris of the Rock, the middle book of a trilogy composed of Gerfalcon and Shy Leopardess. This is an odd duck, about a fantasy medieval country (seeming mostly French) with all the realistic blood and death and rape and pillage and outlaws and witchcraft and politics. It was readable, but I'm not sure what it left me feeling. Uneasy, intrigued.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

I should have been working on a grant application and the new poetry manuscript, so of course I worked on my bio for the journal.

And then after that I worked on the grant (nearly done, will finish today) and shuffled towards finalizing the last poems (I hope) for the manuscript. These are poems that make the book's skeleton. I'm anxious to start putting it together and am terrified that the right title won't leap out at my at the right moment. Hey, if you think of one let me know--I'll put you in the acknowledgments, I swear. The book is mostly about glimpses of people's lives. Chapbooks I've formed out of sections of the material (which will be all mixed up in the final complete manuscript) are: Sheela-na-Gig, Lucidity, and The Green Man's Book of Enchantments.

No, The Sheela-na-Gig's Book of Lucidity won't work--it's a little too like Spells for Clear Vision.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

February-March, then April 1975

126. Another basketball game

Another basketball game and another loss. Now that means no more boys' basketball games at all. Only girls and junior high. How boring.1 This weekend there's a junior high tournament i should scorekeep at, the drama practice for the festival, and a creative writing workshop.

127. Mix-up

Feeling sick and not seeing him is combining to make me feel terrible. I am so busy and so tired--basketball games, drama, tonight i go to see a play at my old junior high. It's called Rock 'n' Roll. I hope it's worth the money. Our plays were a great deal cheaper. We had a lot of fun putting them on. I was the "star" of one. The play was about angels demanding equal rights. Stupid play, but fun. I really enjoyed it. Walking up stairs through the band to "Stairway to Heaven". What a gas. It wasn't serious, but not comedy either. A very strange thing. [Led Zepplin lyrics deleted.]

128. Thursday afternoon

Leave me alone, teacher! Stop asking me questions. I'm only half listening and i really don't know what this is all about, and that pen just ran out of ink.

129. Writing seminar

Today there is a writing seminar at UVic. I'm there (in case you hadn't noticed.) we had about an hour. Guess what? (How often have i said that in the past 100 chapters?) Anyways (I've said that a lot, too.) There were two sections in this, and you could either take the same thing twice or take two different things (the sections were poetry, fiction, drama), and i wanted to take fiction then poetry. But again--but! Alas, there were only two people who wanted to take poetry in the second section time. So back we were in fiction again.2

130. O.R.

My favourite job! (Bah? Humbug?) Sittin' doing' nutin', waitin' fer a job. A--no, i won't say "anyway" again. We get taken out of classes for a day so we can help out at the school office. Exciting? I wish it was; but it is interesting. Maybe.3

131. Poem-block

S'bin a while, like it's been a whole week since i've written. Cry-cry. And you know what i've got now? I've got a poem block. I've been trying to write poems and i can't. I've tried, but i can't. I feel really inspired and everything, but nothing. Nothing. And i'm trying, i really am. I'm disappointed in myself. My first block, and it's only for poetry. It's probably for fiction, too. I haven't tried yet. I guess i'd better start.

--we need a bit of open space--

133. Believe it.

I can't believe it, but i'm back! (I'm glad--I think. --L4) Back from a far-off land (sanity? straighten-out-head land?) who knows where or how long i've been gone, but i'm home, back where i belong (maybe). I don't think i can stand it anyway. I mean i didn't really want to write, if i'd tried i probably couldn't have, but i sure missed having something to do when i was nervous.

134. This chapter's got no title (just words & a tune)5

This most beautiful thing has happened to me... inexpressible!6

--more open space and 2.5 months--


NOTES

1. Geez, aren't I a charmer? You'd think I'd care about the girls' games, but not me at 16. Hell, I didn't even really like basketball, though I thought I did. I think I just liked to watch sweating boys run around. Now I consider the shortness of life and wouldn't go to a game or watch it on tv if you paid me.

2. Well, damn. That means I just missed meeting Robin Skelton (I remember that he was there), who when I later went to UVic was my mentor and who been very important in my life and in my writing career. I did finally meet him properly in 1977 when I was in his 300-level poetry workshop at UVic.

3. This is a little weird isn't it? Free labour. Someone should have protested.

4. L = Laura.

5. Bernie Taupin/Elton John lurking. It's a paraphrase/variation, so I think I can get away with leaving it here.

6. A cliffhanger a cliffhanger! More about this next week. I'll have to explain about this next week as best I can.

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