§

Les Semaines

99.06.27

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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Travelling Time

It's both travelling time (I've got a pile of stuff on the day bed behind me to remember to pack) and I've been having a nostalgic time as this week I sat in on the Clarion West classroom one day, went to one of the Clarion West parties on Friday, and went to this year's class's orientation session with Octavia Butler.

We're not ready to leave yet for Turkey, but we basically only have tomorrow to get everything ready and we both have to work. So it goes--I always seem to be pressed for time before trips. And we'll only be gone two weeks, but two such exotic weeks. I've never been anywhere that far removed from my culture--I've been to the U.K. several times, and of course here and there in Canada and the U.S., but never anywhere as utterly different as Turkey. I can't imagine going there. I keep telling people I'm going so that I can believe it myself. It doesn't seem real, even though we have various inoculations and the doctor gave us lots of Traveller's Revenge medication and we're taking capsules of live typhoid cultures (just call me Typhoid Neile), and Christina's been sending me letters describing where she wants to go and all.

Anyway, I expect to take lots of photographs, and hope to put up some kind of travel journal when I return.

And going to the Clarion West sessions has been alternately sad and exciting. I'm remembering the intensity of my time there so vividly and it makes me miss those weeks. I can't believe it was three years ago already. When I started Clarion West in 1996 I had no idea it would have such a huge emotional impact on me and change my writing so dramatically. (I started writing short fiction there when I meant to work on my novel, and the novel has pretty much languished ever since, despite my best intentions; I've written more short stories, though.)

Watching how intense the students this year are reminds me of it, and especially of the people I was with. Walking into the classroom for the first time was the worst when a whole batch of strangers were there instead of the people in my class. How odd, as though I'd expected them to somehow haunt the room while I moved on.

Now I'll have two intense weeks in Turkey with my very intense friend, Christina and her husband Matt, and Jim, of course, then come back to be off my job till September first (yay!) and to try to accomplish something in my writing before then. And I'll have three more Thursday mornings in the Clarion West classroom. It will be interesting to see how they've changed by then.

If you're curious about what Clarion is like, I recommend checking out the online journals written by attendees. I only wrote some email that I thought I'd turn into a journal but never did. Anyway, there are lots of Clarion and Clarion West journals listed here. No less than three of the journallers from the Not-A-Webring that this journal belongs to are current students in the Clarion [East] class (there are two Clarions, the original one which is now held in East Lansing, Michigan, and Clarion West, held here in Seattle). Sadly, I don't get to sit in on the classes of my comrade journallers, but I do get to read their journals.

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

Listening

Still very charmed by the dark Pygmalion by Kym Brown. Also listening to Willow a lot. And the Baxter promo ep. And Tamar Williamson. All in all very much a repeat of last week's listening. This stuff must have legs.

I did go to a Persephone's Circle concert on Tuesday night, and heard three of the circle that I'd never heard before (I have discs by four of them). All of them are talented singers and songwriters, though I was lucky in my choice of discs that I bought before I heard the whole group, as I think that the ones I bought music from: Mary Lydia Ryan first (a few years before I heard of the group, actually), Willow, jr, and Aiko Shimada are the ones most to my taste. The three new people I hadn't heard before all seem more mainstream folk than my tastes run.

Aiko Shimada wasn't there, but I got to hear Mary Lydia Ryan and Willow again, and hear jr live for the first time. All three are a Wow.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

Finished Cecelia Holland's Pillars of the Sky shortly after I completed my entry last Sunday. It was quite fascinating, and I think she did an amazing job of creating a believable prehistoric world and characters, which is no small task. (SPOILER WARNING: I found the book sad, though, especially that the main character ended up by becoming just like the ruler he usurped--but that's the real world.)

Also read Lydia Minatoya's novel The Strangeness of Beauty, set in Seattle and Japan between the wars and during the beginning of the second World War. This is one of those books that's a hard call for me--I thought ultimately the novel was fairly successful, but there were times when I wasn't sure I was going to bother to finish it. There were times when it seemed so limp and frequently so (deliberately, it's part of what she was trying to do) self-conscious that I wasn't sure I could pick it up again instead of other novels pressing for my attention. Ultimately I thought it worked, but I prefer her memoir, Talking to High Monks in the Snow.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

Unfortunately between errands and the little exciting bits of getting ready for our trip, I haven't been able to focus on writing. I even missed my poetry workshop group because I'd already committed to going to the Persephone's Circle concert when we had to reschedule the workshop.

Sitting in on the Clarion West events has been more than a little nudge to remind me to GET BACK TO WORK.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

February 1976

243. Havalah1 near my feet

Seed-sitting, card-playing again, Havalah near my feet. Lots of people, Sam2 asleep on the couch. Sort of a heavy day, but i feel like i'm not here. Maybe i'm not. Oh dear. Laura & Pete are out for a walk. I wish i was. Let me out; let me in... just let me. So there. So much only me. Need more, want more, there's more somewhere, i'll find it someday, even if it kills me; please let it. Dear me, sad thoughts on Friday night. After a decision night.

244. On being fifteen minutes on

It's fifteen minutes on Saturday night, ruff and tumble exciting night hooray. Going to be something happening soon, s'going to be f'router than truth, f'router than anything. Can hardly wait, restless, going to be hyper tonight, i guess, i wonder. Maybe possibly, what a joke. Probably be a quiet night, a sitting night. Rest night--don't want it.

245. Who will walk

[Lyrics from Elton John's song, "Sixty Years On", deleted.] Wonder!

246. Story

Well, once i got lonely & i was looking for a friend, and i took on my first offer and got sucked in, got in a mess of emotions and otherwise, got into sorrow. At some point i grew up and escaped, good. But i've still got a scar and the scar likes to hurt. I like to ignore it. (Yet it's part of me now and i can't.)3

247. Managing

Then i managed to embroil myself in two more hassles. Got good at it, quite an expert. Should run away, tried so hard to get into the trouble, then had to try hard to get out. Sad stories, sadder me. I'd like to tell the details, but they're not the sort of things you want (i want) written down for prosperity (posterity). I'm so dumb at times, or rather trusting, but i don't think things like that will happen again. Better not.

248. It's another rainy

Scratch that, it's a new day and it's sunny. Sort of. I'm getting in another homework bind. A drag. I've got an essay due tomorrow and i haven't even started. Oh pain. Oh agony. Oh sadness. More like what a drag. It's been a year (or a day or two) since i had such a dead day, a let's push along but get nowhere dead day. A kind of a wish i was day, let's fill the minutes day.

249. Pretty soon

Pretty soon i'm going to get something done. Get something accomplished. I wish. I've got to get going and not just sit here. Gee i hate this library. It bugs me more than anything. It's so oppressive. I don't want to yell or anything, but it's awfully hard to think when i can't talk.

250. Aardwolf in the jungle

One day, i'm going to be something f'rout. Like an aardwolf. I'll live deep in the heart of the jungle and think Deep Thoughts and i'll have lots of jungle-friends to keep me company. I'll be the jungle poet (and there was the chimpanzee / sitting on our jungle tree). An aardwolf in the jungle, well that's all right by me.4 A poet aardwolf. The best kind.

251. On being the best kind of aardwolf, an aardwolf poet

Well, it's pretty f'rout you know. In fact, it's very f'rout. Exciting. (Isn't that wild.) Well. What to say now? Oh well, a poet aardwolf can fight off the most fierce rasampus in the jungle. Just by words. And a poet aardwolf writes the best kind of beautiful poetry. Meaningful poetry. Poetic poetry. Aardwolf poetry.

252. Procrastinating

That's what i'm doing, procrastinating. Don't wanna work. Too lazy, too sleepy. Too bored with the subject of the essay i have to write. Why so boring? Why can't essays be interesting explorations? Why, why, why? (Oh dear, i think i'm getting upset.)


NOTES

1. Havalah was Marijke's dog, which she frequently brought to The Mustard Seed.

2. Sam was one of the kids who came into The Seed a lot. She was smart, tough, articulate.

3. I must be referring to the incidents the previous spring. See my April 11th entry for an explanation.

4. Riffing off of Jethro Tull's "Bungle in the Jungle".

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