what I'm thinking and doing § what I'm listening to § what I'm reading
what I'm writing § retrospective: The Phonosnout
I always feel a little sad and a little excited both at this time of year. It used to be my favourite, until in recent years I've found spring such a joyous time I can't resist it--watching everything bloom and grow day by day. But I still love autumn--the winds, the leaves, the feeling of drawing in, drawing closer, and the old remembered excitement of starting a new school year. Now a new school year just means lots of work and new students to talk to.
It seems everyone is going through changes, small and large. My parents in Victoria have two new puppies they're enjoying and being worn out by. They're half bichon frise, half Shui Tzu, which means they're going to be small--I trust not the epitome of yappy little dogs. Actually, according to all reports they're not barky little things--perhaps because there's the two of them to entertain each other.
Friends are finding new loves, having rough times with ongoing loves, going through separations. This weekend I found out that an old online friend that I spent one long and wonderful day with died a couple of years ago of cancer. That was sad--I thought we'd lost touch because she was going to live in the U.K. and wouldn't have email access anymore, but she never went. It began with breast cancer--so this is my fourth friend who has had to fight that. So far the rest of them are healthy now, which I'm so very grateful for.
Another friend is having another baby. Others are moving. The house next door sold and is being renovated--soon we won't be looking at a the peeling white paint, but the two birches I watch go through the seasons will have to be taken out--they're too close to the foundations. The new owner has already torn out all the weeds and messy over/undergrowth, and removed tons of garbage from the house inside and out.
We've started readying the garden for winter, but we're still getting beans and peas and now pears and Italian plums and apples--yum.
In the past, autumn has been a good writing time for me. I hope it really is this year. I'm ready to actually accomplish something. There's a change.
Still listening to Kym Brown's Pygmalion several times a week and recently put up an entry for her in The Ectophiles' Guide to Good Music.
I read Christopher Priest's The Glamour on the advice of Gwyneth Jones whom I met while she was teaching this year's Clarion West class, and I did find it fascinating. It's about the invisible people, truly invisible, and it's also about the alterations of memory. It's a novel that was both enjoyable as a mystery and left me thinking about its implications. It's a book that should be far better known that it is. I found his characterization interesting and the differing points of view reminded me a little of The Magus. A good and clever book.
Amy Thomson's newest novel Through Alien Eyes was an entertaining read, about aliens from a harmonic jungle world who come to a future earth, where human nature hasn't changed much. The novel was mostly about the effects humans had on the aliens. It was an interesting angle to look at human nature, which was still very much dominated with western and consumer culture. I was a little surprised, though, that she made her entire alien planet all the same. How could an entire planet be jungle, and would there be no strong cultural variations in the alien's world?
I really enjoyed Robert Charles Wilson's Darwinia, which I finished this morning. (Warning: there are possible SPOILERS in this, though I don't think I'm specific enough to ruin the reading experience for anyone.) When I started it I was intrigued by its premise on the purely superficial level: in 1912 all of Europe suddenly disappears and is replaced by a strange new alien wilderness. The main character is a photographer that we follow there. I was annoyed by other characters we followed because I couldn't quite understand why we were with them. And then there was a big pull back from the main plot, an interlude, which bugged me, but gradually it all came together and I appreciated the more universal level of the story. It ends up by rather wonderfully balancing the personal and universal.
In other news, I got a call from a friend this morning who invited me to possibly come and read in Calgary probably a year from now. That was an ego boost that I'm very happy about.
In more upsetting news, the press I recently sent my poetry manuscript for just got bought out by a bigger press and will be trimming their poetry line and not adding new writers. People with signed contracts have had manuscripts returned. This is so depressing, as I knew the editor liked my work. Sigh. Well, it has already gone out again elsewhere to someone I know is at least slightly familiar with my writing. Cross your fingers for me, ok?
2. Ah, Everett. My new boyfriend. There are times when I wish this were more of a journal and less of a transcript of my thoughts and experiences. I don't even remember when Everett and I got together. I remember talking in the woods with him, cooking with him, him meeting my grandmother, intimate moments with him (ahem) but not anything about the structure of our relationship. He was sweet, and a writer.
3. That's madrona to you Yankees.
4. Here I began a new notebook. The first was a orange-y sunset scene of a motorcycle on a beach, the new one a slimmer book, a mostly blue forest/cloud/mountain scene.
5. And preachy. Jeez, I wish I'd just get over it, but unfortunately it's going to take me a few years.
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