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Les Semaines

99.10.03

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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And After The Storm...

And after the storm, there's grief and tidying up.

Something I forgot to mention that happened last week: our new neighbour cut down the birch trees that I loved to watch from my favourite seat in our living room. They were one of my guides to the season--I marked the changes of the year by those trees. There's a big blank space outside my window now, and I do wish he'd remove the corpses.

The place next to ours had been neglected for years and was recently sold, and the man who bought it is working on it, most likely to sell it. He's a nice guy--at least I thought so until he removed every bit of live greenery from the front of the house and then butchered the trees. I don't know what he's thinking--the trees were probably the most attractive thing about the house. I mean, I understand why he took the birches I loved so much--they were very close to the house's foundations--but I see no need to remove the others. Maybe he hates trees. Maybe he thinks stark is beautiful.

Today he cut down a huge fir tree. I wonder what's next.

We've planted three trees since we moved in, two hawthorns on the parking strip and the plum in front of our house. We also added two espaliered apple trees along the back fence, but they don't count as they'll never exactly be grown-up trees that offer shade, though they do work to make oxygen and beauty, and of course the wonderful apples that Jim and I have been enjoying recently.

Our neighbourhood is actually one that doesn't have very many trees--not hardly enough. For a neighbourhood this old (houses around here are from the 1910s and 1930s mostly) there are surprisingly few trees. Especially when you consider this was once all forested. But we were part of a mill town that was absorbed into Seattle.

Each time I think about the trees next door I'm sad and furious and a little sick to my stomach.

This week was better than last, though, especially at work, where it was the first week of classes. Now things will calm down enough that I can actually get to the stacks of papers on my desk and update my files and not end up staying late nearly every day, which will help my frame of mind a lot--especially if I'm able to get back to writing, though the next weeks are going to be very busy, so I hope I don't let that be an excuse.

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

Listening

There's been so much to listen to this past week it's hard to say what I've listened to most. I guess I've listened to everything once or twice that we got recently: still learning the new Veda Hille, you do not live in this world alone, which continues to unfold for me and grow deeper and richer in my esteem; Tori Amos' to venus and back while not gripping me is interesting me; Rebecca Timmons' The Turing Event, is also getting clearer and more intriguing to me; Kaitlyn ni Donovan's songs for 'three days' is delightful--quieter than most things I listen to and than her tape ep, and requiring careful listening; Diane Izzo's One has kind of fallen by the wayside. I also got Emm Gryner's new one, Science Fair--this is kind of odd because I skipped her previous disc to this one and found the disc before that a mixed event. This one is mixed for me, too. I like it, but a little of her plaintive almost strident voice goes a long way for me, as does the boppiness of some of her songs. Still, I find her interesting enough to play more than once.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

Started the week by inhaling Peter S. Beagle's new novel Tamsin. This one reminded me of one of his early novels, A Fine and Private Place somewhat in feel, and also because it's a ghost story. The main character is a teenage girl, who is exceptionally well-drawn, which was one of the greatest joys of the novel. The sad part for me was that the magic parts took so long to show up and were so strongly foreshadowed that they didn't seem so very magic to me--there was none of the surprise of discovery that helps it jump into another dimension for me. Still, I liked it, especially the main character.

Also read the third (and currently the final) novel in Sherwood Smith's Wren series, Wren's War. I found this one as good as the two previous, though perhaps a little stronger, a little more magical. The characters were growing up and learning more about themselves, but it seems to require more books in this series--and there aren't any scheduled for publication, though I know the author has written more set in this world. That's sad because they're good.

Quickly read through Jeffrey Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides--this is a book about a group of boys who watch a local family whose five daughters commit suicide. In many ways it's an odd book--you don't quite believe it's real though in other ways it's all too real. There's a touch of the fantastic about it, probably because the girls seem so other-worldly, but that's also a function of how the boys see them rather than how they really are. Psychologically interesting but in the end not particularly haunting.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

Not a good writing week. Not at all.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

March 1976

351. The only living girl in VictoriaNeile at The Mustard Seed, 1976

Kind of a parody of "The Only Living Boy in New York." That's the way i feel. I hate it when i'm all alone (except Fred).1 I'm not very good company this way. I wonder if everyone conspired not to come down at all tonight? That's what it feels like. Someone get here soon, it's Friday night and i want to open The Mustard Seed. (Please?)

352. Something poetic

I wish i could write something poetic but i'm not in that kind of mood. I'm not feeling poetic at all and i hurt. Oh boredom pains! (Deep down inside.) Somewhere there's a place where i should be, seeing as i obviously shouldn't be here. Where, where, where? Deep and soul-searching. Deep? Soul-searching?

353. Instant Thoughts

I must have grown up in the right side of town. There's so much that goes on that i would never have thought of, that would never have occurred to me. I've learned a lot lately... what exactly i've learned i don't know, but give me time. Lots of it.2

354. Nobody's talking to me

The same old words, only different. People are here but I'm not. It's sort of a paraphrase of what came before. Variations on a theme. People are here (Laura and Pete) but sometimes talking to them is like talking to a brick wall. (Like now.) (I feel lonely, am i allowed? I don't know, i never do.)

355. On being too well-adjusted

True, i am. I never have terrible things happen to me. I'm not over-sensitive or over-anything. I take traumatic things easily--they don't bug me (much). Anything that's happened in my life so far i have been able to handle (sort of). Nothing too traumatic has happened to me, so i haven't really tested myself yet, but i think i'm too well-adjusted to have anything traumatic happen to me.3

356. Too much i

Right now there's way too much "i" left in my life. I'm very i and very me. I wonder if i'll ever leave myself behind, i hope so. I, i, i... me. Lots and lots of me (that's true). I like to put myself down, but that's mostly so i can talk about myself. I have a colossal ego. (Maybe i can can it and sell it to someone who needs a little more.)

357. Just a short chapter

Just a short chapter to fill in the rest of the page, no other reason, now i'm filling in the last line f'rout.

358. Scribbling away

Scribbling away here, thinking of nothing, just letting the words flow from my pen ("the poet sighs as he taps his pen, the words just will not flow again, the singer banging at the door, please let him in, he wants for more4). Subtle difference in meaning between wanting more and wanting for more, do you get it? Huh?

359. Well, Phono

Well, Phono, what have you to say for yourself? Not much, eh? What else is new. I'm bored, and i don't have much to say either (so there). I wish i was feeling talkative tonight, but i'm not. Paul commented that i wasn't saying anything when we were walking.5 I don't know why i'm not talking or why i'm so bored. There's got to be more, somewhere. (Somehow and someway.)

360. Don't wanna

[Quote from The Guess Who's "Sour Suite" about not wanting to talk omitted.] That's the way it goes. I've been learning a lot this week, and now i'm tired. [Quote from Jesus Christ Superstar about being tired omitted.] Another way it goes. ("I am the victim of a series of accidents"). As are we all...6


NOTES

1. Fred is the sock puppet I mentioned first last week.

2. Working at The Seed certainly was an eye-opener for a girl from a truly loving family in the 'burbs like myself.

3. Well, that was bs. Hmm...

4. Lines from a poem I wrote in high school that was basically a rip off of Thick as a Brick.

5. A lot of time at The Seed was spent walking around the streets.

6. Swiped from Vonnegut via Al Stewart.

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