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Les Semaines

99.07.25

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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Coming Back from Coming Back from Turkey

Coming back was harder than I thought. Not just the physical return--though 18 hours crammed in an airline seat and a 10-hour time change isn't my idea of fun--but the emotional return. I think I wasn't ready to leave Turkey yet, or to say goodbye to Christina, who is my dearest friend in the world and someone who is truly magic for me. It took me a long time to really feel home and functional again, and I'm not sure that I do quite yet. Maybe it would have helped if I'd come back and had to go back to my job for a few days just to get grounded. But I came back home to my summer job hiatus, left to my own devices, mostly, though I've had lots to keep my busy between unpacking, getting re-settled, going to the Clarion classroom, dental appointments, lunch appointments, etc.

I always find switching gears difficult, and settling back into daily life, particularly getting myself back into the physical act of sitting at my computer again and writing (and dealing with email--by the way, all my messages from June 30 through July 6 were lost in the ether while I was away, so if you emailed me during that time I never received it) hasn't been easy. I can't really sort out why other than the obvious, well, dammit I was having a good time and I wasn't ready to stop having a good time thing.

Not that having several weeks at home to work on my own stuff is anything to complain about. I know most of my friends would kill for this. I didn't kill to get this, but it has involved various sacrifices, many of which were on Jim's part so I truly can feel guilty about this, especially as I haven't managed to find a way to pull in any money at all this summer so far.

This is all beside the point. I am pulling myself together at last, and am trying to push aside the guilt of having wasted a week getting to this point! Ready to work, so dammit, here I go.

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

Listening

Came back to a couple of new disc arrivals. One was the debut cd, Brokeheart Audio, by a Canadian group named Strawberry. It's wonderful. Sort of a cross between Perfume Tree and Portishead and Lois' indierock. At least that's as good as a description as I can come up with right now. We got stuck on having it after seeing a video on Much Music's The Wedge show, lo this many months ago before our cable station gave up Much Music in favour of The Box stations, curse them forever. (We got them; we returned our digital cable box, so they're getting about $145 or so less from us each year. Hah!)

This week has been my chance to finally obsess with the new lamb, fear of fours and I do love it. There are great songs here. It's probably as good as (but different from) their first self-titled disc, though that one will always have my heart. I also don't like how the singer, Louise Rhodes, uses a slightly higher voice on this disc quite as much as I liked how she used her voice on the first one. Still, fear of fours is pretty damn brilliant. Lamb is clearly my favourite group doing this kind of music.

In the same vein, though, I finally got the full-length self-titled Baxter disc, and I like it a lot.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

John M. Ford's Growing Up Weightless was recommended to me several times, so I finally picked up a used copy and read it this last week. I liked it fine, but it didn't really reach down and touch me as it has other people--I think because I've read so many mainstream coming-of-age novels than this didn't strike me as saying anything particularly new or different, even though it was set on the moon. I found it definitely interesting and worth reading, just not something I would recommend as highly as it was recommended to me.

More satisfying for my current mood was Lynn Flewelling's Traitor's Moon, part of her Nightrunner series. What I like so very much about this book is that I really got a sense of living in her character's world and what it was like for them. It helps that the characters were already established in her two previous novels, but they do mature and change, and it has been fascinating to watch those changes. Maybe I was just in the mood for something a little slow-paced, but I got happily lost in this.

And try to help jump-start me thinking seriously about my own writing again, I re-read Charles de Lint's Memory and Dream, my favourite of his novels because it talks so much about the act of creation and its effects on both the creator and audience. I love the way de Lint brings magic into the contemporary world--it's something I can sympathize with because I know how magical things seem to lurk in the corners of both the city and the wilderness, as though it could reveal itself to us at any moment. And de Lint does wonderful, very human characters as well. This is a book wonderful and deeply drawn enough that I would recommend it to mainstream readers, as well as those who read fantasy.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

Came home to the news that Blood Memory, my poetry manuscript, had been rejected by the first place I sent it, which of course I found depressing, and of course it utterly overshadowed everything and may have a lot to do with how long it has taken me to get myself back into action after the trip. It also overshadowed coming home to two of the poems in the book being accepted. But anyway, the manuscript is out the door again to an editor who has expressed interest in seeing it and who liked Spells For Clear Vision, which should mean that at least it will get a sympathetic, open-minded eye. Not that the first press didn't give it that--I'm sure they did. They just couldn't see how wonderful a book it is, right?

I do think that I'm at a disadvantage in that I don't write like most people do, or at least like what seems to get published most often. While my poems are pretty understandable on the surface, they still deal with allusion and construction of thought/sound/image patterns both within each poem and between poems in a section and in the collection more than I can discern in most other poetry collections I come across. So mine obviously isn't the most popular way to write; most collections tend to be more straightforward both in construction and in intent. Often the most popular/best received collections are the kinds which seem like diary excerpts chopped into lines--which I find uninteresting and obvious, and frankly, well, not poetic.

So I wait for my genius to be discovered--or failing that, for Blood Memory to find a press interested in publishing it.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

February 1976

260. Chapters about Seed people

a) Phil
Neat and strange and strong. Has a real ministry with street kids. Can be a lot of fun and can be mean. We fight, but he's so strong i'm usually in pain in less than a minute.1 [Identifying material involving his last name deleted.] He belongs to the street; there is more street than Phil in Phil. The street owns him and i don't think it will ever give him back. Maybe when his curly hair is grey and he can't speak the language.

b) Paul
Fun and strong and kind. Gets picked on a lot, though i doubt if he notices. His ministry is an extension of Phil's and he follows Phil in a lot of ways, but is still a real individual. Can be fun; i can fight with him for longer than i can with Phil because Paul's a bit afraid to hurt me. He doesn't get as rough and i can pick on him without being afraid. Belongs to the street perhaps less an perhaps more than Phil. He's been through what the street kids go through, but not on the street, seems more caring than Phil, more likely to leave the street than Phil, but he won't for quite a while.2

c) Marijke
Caring and serious and friendly. Most often known as "Mike". She has to be one of the emotionally strongest of us all, bt she lets things bug her more because she cares so much. Young but old at the same time. Sees a lot that no one else ever does. Mike's superficially very friendly and kind, but underneath she's fairly hard to get to know well. Very conscious of other people's feelings (not that the other people aren't but Mike doesn't forget like the rest of us do). I think i trust her a lot.

d) Karen
Changing and fun and somehow lost. I think she needs someone or something on top of her faith. She lets little things get her down more than any of us and can get very depressed. She's often cynical on the surface, but underneath very caring and great to talk to if you've got a problem. (She's helping me straighten out my mind a bit.) She needs to know she's cared for, needs support.

d) Laura and Pete
Together and in love and strange. Always Laura and Pete, rarely ever Pete, rarely ever Laura (except to me). Together since July (seven months) and now tow halves of one whole that operate both separately and together. Both f'rout and fun, but one half is overly sensitive, and therefore clodhoppers like me have to tread carefully. Both are kind of lost and kind of found. F'rout. I'm closer to the two of them than anyone else, so it's kind of like not being able to see the forest for the trees. One half like to dramatize things a lot, but that's okay, i'm getting used to it, and if they can take me despite my faults, who am i to talk? We share a lot of things like f'rout and fricket. Sometimes we're the Terrible Trio, and usually it's just the Gruesome Twosome of them.

e) Gipp and Dawna
Older and smarter and both kind of f'rout. Have led interesting lives, of which we get snatches. I know Gipper better than Dawna. Gipp drifted for many years, has been a bartender, and many other jobs, now runs a small store. He is a fantastic writer of short stories and poetry. He has recorded two records of sort of poetry--very talented. A gift (only way to put it). A beautiful person, but pushes himself 'til he gets fantastically tired and depressed.

f) Jon
Busy and fun and nice. Is engaged to a very nice girl called Sandy, who frequently suffers from tonsillitis. Jon works very hard at Glendale3 and so isn't often around The Seed. Has been lately 'cause Sandy is sick again.


NOTES

1. I was talking about physical fights here, but the truth is that it was emotional, too.

2. Wow. Not too much to indicate the huge crush I had on him.

3. An institution for the mental retarded.

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