§

Les Semaines

99.05.16

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

 §

Itching

I don't know what's wrong with me--I just feel as though the world is under my skin and it ITCHES, itches to be free.

Does that describe it?

No, but I'm getting there. It's that feeling that just wells up not when anything particularly bad is happening but just I'm so damn itchy for life. I've got that tonight. I'm playing David Usher loud because Little Songs can provoke that mood in me so I hope that by playing it and thus pushing it hard I can get to the next place past this. But what could be past this?

It's a feeling I got a lot when I was a teenager. I seem to be getting it recently, sometimes prompted by this album. I can't remember if I still got this often before that.

It's a feeling you get when you're alone, but it's not loneliness. It's bursting with some unnamed, anticipatory emotion.

I have strong memories of getting this in my apartment in Missoula when I was a grad student--something to do with how I knew my life was somehow beginning then. I'd turn out the lights and lie on my bed looking out the window at the maple trees, first with the streetlight filtered through green leaves, then later through the orange/red/brown leaves, then later pouring through the stripped branches.

I think it might now be partly cause by an extended period of sloth and the end of it, and finally feeling healthy and not so tired, at last. But it's driving me crazy. I've taken some of it out in cleaning the house a bit, some of it exercising, some of it walking around the house reading poetry aloud, some of it jumping around the house while music is playing.

I suspect this is why exercise is so good for adolescents, and, I suppose, why getting back to work is good for me.

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

Listening

Wow, Anja Garbarek's Balloon Mood is strange, inventive, and wonderful. She's a Norwegian singer a couple of people from Europe have included on samplers for me, and I finally got her album by ordering it on a German site and having it sent to a friend in England who sent it on to me (for some reason the German site only sends discs within Europe). Even farther out on the inventive experimental track is Iva Bittová and the album of hers I got the same way, Classic.

Bliss. And Jim and I are both still obsessing over the lamb "b line" singles. Strange jazzy electronica and Louise Rhodes' voice sounding more childlike than on their first album. I wonder what the rest of the album sounds like?

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

Bookreading interruptis! I was happily making my way through the extravagance of language that is Salman Rushdie's The Ground Beneath Her Feet when Jim announced that it was due back at the library. Well, damn. So it went back, and I ordered a copy to fulfill my commitment to a bookclub so I can quit it. It means I'll have to wait a couple of weeks for it, though.

We've been Rushdie fans since the paperback publication of Midnight's Children, which probably remains my favourite of his novels, though I've enjoyed reading them all. We even bought The Satanic Verses before it was made infamous by the Ayatollah's proclamation of the fatwah against Rushdie. We even discovered that our cat, Zach, is an agent of the Ayatollah--one of us left The Satanic Verses sitting on the floor of our living room, and Zach, approaching it, knew it was a dangerous book. He slunk up it--body tense, whiskers ablaze--and gave it a good whack. He even put a little tear in the dust jacket.

So now I'm working on Sheri S. Tepper's Singer from the Sea instead. It's good so far. Her recent novels are wonderful--I like them as much as I liked her early novels, like the True Game series and The Gate To Women's Country, and Grass. That's saying a lot.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

Not yet in a very productive mode, but I am working again. Trying to make progress on a poem about searching for a lady well in Scotland, and working on drastically revising my first Clarion West story (and thus my first real short story) which also includes a lady well.

Lady wells are all over Britain--some are well known and others aren't. Most of them have been later named for Christian saints, but visitors will notice that in trees or bushes above the well or spring there are old rags tied. I don't know if anyone knows how old the tradition is--I suspect it is far pre-christian--of going to the well and praying to the lady for a wish, and tying a bit of cloth in remembrance of the wish. These are also known as rags trees, but I haven't been able to find out much about them.

Lady Well, Wales Here is the first lady well I ever heard of. Christina and I came across it in the Wye Valley in Wales. Unfortunately, this picture shows the well quite clearly but especially at this size and resolution it takes imagination to make out the rags in the tree above. The well has been made a formal site by its enclosure but it still seems beyond the human construct around it.

Lady Well, roadside, Scotland The second one I saw years later in Scotland, right along the roadway to the Black Isle. There are thousands of rags tied on rags here, nylons, socks, underwear, you name it. The water comes out from a small pipe in the middle. This one seemed way too public to me, but it's obviously still very important to the residents of the area.

Hidden Spring, Scotland This is a close up of the one that took me a long time to find, and so I almost despaired of it. It's within a few miles of the previous one but far more isolated and difficult to find. There were only a few rags here tied to a branch. The water ran quietly, hidden in the undergrowth. An almost secret place.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

January 1976

185. Days of Sonnet

God is alive. Alive is afoot. Magic is afoot1...days of sonnet are quickly passing, days of music, of a single tune. Music is alive, alive is a melody, melody leads to symphony, symphony leads to intellectual depth, that leads to suicide; we dance on van Gogh [quote from Don MacLean's "Vincent" omitted].

186. Friday morning

Friday morning in class, library work--Botticelli beauty, Sandro in action--allegory on glossified paper--art work of the Renaissance--the Venus madonna in shades of summer blue.

187. Half-poeting

I've been getting off on a track lately, as if you haven't noticed. I've been half-poeting my way through questions--messing around with language. Carefully of course--language bites if not handled well, you can mistreat it at a distance as i have been doing (but only if you can run fast enough).

188. Phonosnout chapter 188--Totally Uninspired

For being totally uninspired, i think strange thoughts and all the time, like always, i dream. Lost in clouds (a f'rout part of dreaming). In came truth creating dream-layers, clouding rain. If incoherence is. (Not what, just if it is.)

189. From Busy, Busy, to Right Road

Busy, busy, write essays, neaters! Whatever! W.W.II (rat-a-tat-a-ta)--(bang, bang)--(Boooom!) Neaters! Fight, propaganda! (immediately) Turn off your TV set every ad (please?). Ads are trying to take over the world, and (worse, worse worse!) we're letting them! Us snakes, us vipers, fools, we cannot escape being the devil's tools. Only one escape route (One Way!) and i hope i'm heading down the Right Road, uh huh, heading down the Right Road, oh yeah, the Right Road, uh huh, Right Road...

190. Nervously Tossing/broke through the window

Nervously tossing her long dark hair she/he broke through the window with the gun-butt/she laughed at her own display of courage/he felt it warm running down his hand and dripping to the floor/she hoped he would not ask if/he could barely feel the pain of the cut, it was only the blood/but he did and she didn't know how to answer/only time would heal his other wound/she thought of love/he knew only hate/she thought/he knew/she knew/he thought/i know them both/shadows!

191. Nineteen six-three

Nineteen sixty-three, one less Kennedy2...Talking about how history doesn't really touch me, but it does. I don't remember much of it--not facts. Hard to believe that soon the things we read about in the paper every day will soon be history, i wonder where we'll go now? When i read a history book about the seventies what will be happening? What will the book say? Deep thoughts!!!3

192. Sort of f'rout day

This is the sort of f'rout day--i hate-type enjoy. I'm enjoying not listening but i hate what i hear. I love contradictions but hate the complaints i get when i used them. (and they can be used). Another grey day, but it doesn't feel too grey, feels sort of sunny. Yet it's cold. No matter.

193. By Janine

I must be the most confused person on this earth. Oh well, makes life interesting. I think I'll find the highest mountain and climb it all by myself! Anyway, life's fun, but I don't think I'll pass my History Exam. Here we go again. HE's gone again so I guess I'll keep on. Why does everyone always misunderstand things and make the worst out of it? I think I'll turn off the world and just live my own life without them.

194. By Mark4

when you are out of sorts, so not keep it to yourself; give it out, tell someone who you can trust and through them you can find peace and contentment. I know, I am one with the world and I seek to be at peace with my surroundings. Marcus '76


NOTES

1. Since this has been popularized on a bumper sticker, hardly anyone knows that it originated in a novel by Leonard Cohen, Beautiful Losers. I guess I must have read it right about the time I was writing this. Well, Cohen might have stolen it from somewhere, but the novel is from the '60s.

2. This is probably a song. I can kind of hear it in my head.

3. Ha! But it does look funny reading this 23 years later. This is the year of Dazed and Confused, but I'd already been through my rebellious phase, at least the first one, and now was in a behaving myself phase.

4. Oh Mark, who was nearly my boyfriend. He used to dance with me at junior high dances, and then I had a party and invited him, and we ended up necking. I was quite surprised, but had decided it was worth a shot at a relationship. But within a few days he was seeing another friend I'd invited to the party. Darn.

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

3013 people have wandered through this week with me