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Les Semaines

99.09.19

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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Lull Before the Storm

Indian summer. Perfect weather: sun and breeze. Picked the last of the plums off the tree in the front yard this afternoon. Pears continue to fall off their tree in the backyard--every morning there are more to pick up. I'm taking a bagful to work in the morning hoping people there will want them. I'm don't like pears and Jim can't keep up with them.

Sometimes I wonder what's wrong with being happy. Sometimes, when I suddenly realize I'm content it shocks me, as though I need to be pushing myself all the time, pushing toward some kind of edgy perfection. Or that I need to be angry to protect myself from the world. Or that I don't dare be happy because of the all the horrible things the society I live in causes.

But dammit, I look out the window from my study and I've added a few words to my novel and I'm happy. What a fool.

But tomorrow I've got a meeting--somehow I have managed to land on the committee to hire the new dean for our college as the staff representative. I couldn't figure out how to say no when I was asked. It might have to do with the fact that I was jetlagged from Turkey when the university president's secretary phoned to ask me. I'm sure she must have wondered why on earth they wanted me as I was pretty inarticulate. I don't think I could quite remember how to speak English at the time.

Anyway, first there's a meeting and then the new student orientation sessions start, and all the new student advising. These next two weeks are the busiest of the year in my job, and October is an event-filled month, so I'm trying to enjoy having just had a weekend with not much to do, and the week before that with time to actually prepare things for this week.

I'm going to go to bed very soon, and when I wake up, we'll be off and running.

Hope I can manage dropping those words into place at the end of my novel. Just a few, but often.

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

Listening

As expected, I have been totally obsessing on Veda Hille's new album, you do not live in this world alone. Like her last two albums, I was lukewarm about it at first but immediately it began to grow and grow and grow on me until I can see its utter brilliance. She truly is an amazing artist and performer, and this album only serves to confirm that she's my favourite. She's held that position for quite a while now. There is something so warmly human about her hesitancies and passions that I cannot resist it.

In between Veda's disc, I've also listened to a few discs while putting together Ectophiles' Guide entries, most particularly Tribe whereupon I again mourned that they have long broken up and rediscovered their cd Abort, and Holly McNarland, who is also mostly pretty damn good.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

Read Amy Thomson's The Color of Distance this week. I realized once I'd started it that I should have read this before Through Alien Eyes, which I read about two weeks ago. They work all right as standalones, but Through Alien Eyes is a sequel. The Color of Distance is about a biologist who is marooned on a rainforested planet, and is rescued by its inhabitants. The story is about how the experience changes her, and the alien culture. Pretty interesting, but it had less impact than I think it would if I'd read it first.

Another book I read this week was Karen Joy Fowler's The Sweetheart Season. So many people rave about her work that I'm always a little surprised to find that while I like it, it just doesn't seem particularly special to me. This was a novel about a woman (told by her daughter) growing up in a small town just after WWII where the dominant industry was a food company that produced a popular breakfast cereal. There are some interesting characters and relationships here--in particular I liked the relationship between the woman and her alcoholic father--but there was an important revelation at the end of the story which I simply did not believe, and worse found less interesting than the other endings I had imagined. Damn.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

Slowed down again. Moving forward at a snail's pace. But at least that means there's some kind of pace, right? Some kind of forward motion?

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

March 1976

331. Story

Once there was (don't worry, i haven't lied yet, there was) a/an/what? (try an aardwolf) aardwolf and he was tough; the toughest aardwolf in the jungle, tougher than a rasampus. Everyone was scared of him, and he played it up and tried to frighten them away, 'til no one came near, ever. Suddenly he noticed he was lonely. (There's a moral in here....) Anyway, the aardwolf couldn't get close enough to anyone to make a friend, and he lived in pain until he saw the Light. The end, everybody inside.

332. Laura

This is a 'cause Nancy wants me to writ [sic]. Do you remember me Phono? Do you? Remember me Phono! That was a sorta quote.1 I'm feeling sort of like something's been answered. You won't believe it kid. It's time to share it. Kept it a secret for a long time. HEY WORLD!!! I KEPT A SECRET!!! It's all about (believe it or not)2 an English symposium. I may not like the subject but it was useful last year. It answered a prayer. T.N.W.M.B.3 Eph 1:15-164

333. Hi.

this is paul5 speaking, I'm writing in this book because you asked me to. You would think that seeings I am going to school I could think of something constructive talk about But I can't, so I won't. [signed] Paul.

334. Thanks Paul

Sorry i had to subject you to that torture (writing in Phono). I hope to get everyone to, except Phil; i don't think it's even worth hoping Phil will write. But i can probably con Mike, Pete, and Karen into it, who knows? Here's for hoping...

335. Sitting here

I'm sitting here contemplating writing my essay and doing some homework. I'm also waiting for Everett6 to come over, whereupon i will get no homework done. It's a sort of a gray, depressed day, but the trees are budding (Yay, Spring!)

336. Ten Degrees

It's ten degrees and getting colder,7 i thought you should know, 'cause no one else (no one could see, no one could know). You may well ask where it is ten degrees (and getting colder). Well, that is a well-kept secret.... (in other words, i don't know, i'm just babbling). Bye now!

337. Waiting and going insane

Oh, Phono, i'm going insane! I'm waiting again, and i hate it! (Oh Lord give me patience, i need it so badly....) Waiting is turning my mind in circles, driving me insane, so restless. I wish he8 wouldn't say when he's going to turn up because he never does and i guess that's really what's driving me mad. I wish i had it in me to tell him off, but i don't and so i just sit here an suffer. (Poor me! Oh sorrow, oh woe!)

338. What's this all about?

Meaning actually, what's the game i'm playing? I don't even know myself, too many games, i guess, all going on at once, and soon my circuits will overload, there'll be a flash, and that's it, the end, everybody inside. (I can hardly wait.)

339. Leave them a note

(I'll just leave them a note, yours faithfully just moving on...") I wish i was ready to move on, but i'm stuck here with roots, they're stronger than i. Maybe one day i'll slip out of their steadfast grip; maybe everything will turn out all right; maybe with a little prayer and sorrow.. i'm beginning to think that maybe i should make a break for it before it's too late, but maybe it's too late now.

340. Ordinary Day

[Quote omitted from some Christian rock album whose name I can't quite bring to the front of my consciousness.] It's a beautifully ordinary day, Phono, a new day and Phono i'm lonely but happy, 'cause everything's all right--it's all going bad, but inside good (you know what i mean?) [Another quote from same song omitted] ...that's right! It's a sunny and blue sky day (hello!) Love. That's f'rout.


NOTES

1. An adaption from Jethro Tull's Thick as a Brick.

2. Not, actually. Laura was notorious for telling things the way she wanted them to have happened. She didn't exhibit strong born-again-type Christian beliefs until after my conversion, though she's attended Anglican (Episcopalian) church since childhood.

3. T.N.W.M.B. = to Nancy with my blessings

4. Eph. 1:15-16 reads: "[15]Where I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, [16]Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers."

5. I had a huge crush on Paul, and quite likely bothered him several times about writing in Phonosnout. I think I was still seeing Everett at this time, though.

6. This was heavily crossed out, but his name was still readable underneath. I wonder why I did that? Maybe because later Paul was reading this? Hmm.

7. Snippet from Gordon Lightfoot's "Ten degrees" (at least I think that was the title).

8. Everett, I assume.

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